JetBlue is being sued by 10 passengers, claiming the airline was grossly negligent in allowing pilot Clayton Osbon, who had to be restrained after he burst through the cockpit screaming about religion and terrorism on a March 27 flight from New York to Las Vegas, to man the plane that day.
The lawsuit, filed in state Supreme Court in Queens, New York, was first reported by the Associated Press.
Osbon is preparing an insanity defense as he faces charges of interference with a flight crew. A mental competency hearing for Osbon is scheduled for Friday in a Texas federal court, the Amarillo Globe-News reported. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the charge.
Amarillo is where the plane made an emergency landing.
No passengers were hurt when Osbon stormed out of the cockpit and went on a wild rant and they tried to subdue the pilot, according to the lawsuit obtained by the AP. But a flight attendant suffered bruised ribs.
After storming out of the cockpit, JetBlue Flight 191's first officer locked Osbon out of the area as Osbon went on an incoherent tirade about September 11, Iraq, Iran, Afghanista, al-Qaida and terrorists, the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit against JetBlue paints a picture of how Osbon allegedly scared fliers by saying things such as, we're all going down, you better start praying right now, I'm going to show you Iraq and Iran right now, there's a bomb on board and ''the plane will never make it to Vegas, according to the AP.
The JetBlue lawsuit does not list a specific dollar amount for damages should the airline lose the case. The plaintiffs are arguing that JetBlue should have known that Osbon was unfit to pilot Flight 191, although it's unclear why the lawsuit was filed on those grounds.
JetBlue CEO Dave Barger said he knew Osbon personally and said there were no indications he would behave the way he did on the March 27 flight, calling the pilot a consummate professional on the Today show.