Nut rage flight attendant sues Korean Airlines

Kim Do Hee was attacked by daughter of airline chairman after serving nuts in a bag instead of a bowl

Cho Hyun-ah is surrounded by the media as she leaves for a detention facility after a court ordered her to be detained last month, at the Seoul Western District Prosecutor’s office. Photograph: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

A flight attendant who was harassed by a former Korean Air Lines vice president in what became known as the nut rage case has filed a civil lawsuit against the airline and the executive.

Kim Do Hee, the flight attendant, is seeking compensation for damages that were caused to her career, reputation and emotional wellbeing after Ms Kim was verbally and physically attacked by Cho Hyun-ah, who is also the daughter of the airline chairman, according to a statement by two American law firms, the Weinstein Law Firm and Kobre & Kim.

Ms Cho, then a vice president overseeing cabin service, became enraged at the way Ms Kim served macadamia nuts to her - in a bag not in a bowl - as the plane was set to leave New York on a flight to Incheon, South Korea on December 5th.

Ms Cho forced the taxiing plane to return to a gate at John F Kennedy International Airport and removed another crew member from the plane.


It is the first civil lawsuit connected with the nut rage case, which infuriated South Koreans and hogged global headlines.

Last month a South Korean court sentenced Cho to one year in prison for violating aviation security laws, using violence against a flight attendant and other charges. Cho has appealed the ruling.

The summons filed on Monday with the Supreme Court of the State of New York County of Queens said Ms Cho screamed obscenities at Ms Kim and hit and threatened her.

She was also pressured to lie to government regulators to cover up the incident.

Ms Kim is seeking compensatory damages and punitive damages in an amount to be determined at the trial.

Ms Kim was unable to resolve the dispute privately and both Korean Air and Cho did not engage in “any substantive” settlement discussions with Ms Kim’s lawyers, the statement said.

Korean Air Lines did not respond to a request for comment.