Lawyer Sues Delta, Says Rude Employees, Misplaced Luggage Made Trip a 'Horror'

A lawyer has sued Delta Air Lines Inc. for nearly $1 million, claiming the company's incompetent and rude employees made his 80-year-old mother's birthday trip to South America a stressful, costly horror.

Richard Roth said he and his family arrived in Argentina almost three days late, forcing him to spend thousands of dollars on food, hotels and transportation, plus buy tickets for another airline.

Roth also claims Delta misplaced his luggage, which meant he had to buy new clothes for himself and family members after arriving in Buenos Aires.

During the ordeal, Roth's court papers say, several Delta employees were "nasty," "rude," "obnoxious" and "totally disrespectful." Those who were courteous were generally ineffectual in assisting him, he claims.

A Delta spokeswoman, Betsy Talton, said Tuesday that she could not comment on pending litigation.

Roth said Tuesday he wants $21,000 for out-of-pocket expenses and another $275,000 in compensatory damages for emotional distress. He said he also wants punitive damages which would be at least three times the compensatory amount.

Roth, 49, of Scarsdale, N.Y., said he arranged for his mother to fly to her native Argentina during the 2007 Christmas holidays. He said he and his family were scheduled to fly from the Westchester County Airport the evening of Dec. 20.

Roth said he was with his mother, his wife and his teenage son and daughter. They were to fly to Atlanta and take a connecting flight to Buenos Aires where they would celebrate his mother's 80th birthday.

In Atlanta, say court papers filed last week, a gate agent refused to let Roth and his family onto the jet for the connecting flight, although the plane was sitting at the gate with the door open.

Roth's court papers say that after he and his family spent two nights in Atlanta, a ticket agent told him Delta could not get him to Argentina before Jan. 8. So they flew to Florida, spent a night there and took an Aerolineas Argentina flight to Buenos Aires after buying one-way tickets, court papers say.