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Whistleblower Prompts FAA Investigation and Fine for Southwest Airlines

Contact: Allison Marble (254)-485-4865
Provost Umphrey Law Firm


BEAUMONT, TX, August 4, 2014Provost*Umphrey attorney Jane Swearingen Leger is representing Jeffrey Bondurant, a former Southwest Airlines cargo manager, who was allegedly fired for bringing to light the unsafe transportation of hazardous materials on Southwest Airlines' passenger planes. Bondurant also began to question whether Southwest Airlines was properly reporting "discrepancies" to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and contends he should be protected as a whistleblower.

On July 28, 2014, Southwest Airlines was fined $12 million from the FAA for faulty repairs being made to its Boeing 737 jets since 2006. Southwest Airlines problems are not confined to repairs, as the lawyers at Provost*Umphrey have found that Southwest Airlines has safety issues related to transporting hazardous materials on passenger planes.

In January 2012, Bondurant's work performance was evaluated as "outstanding." On February 22, 2012, Bondurant discovered that Southwest Airlines had improperly shipped a package of lithium ion batteries that was not packaged or labeled correctly. Improperly packaged lithium ion batteries have resulted in fires thathave downed cargo planes and killed flight crewmembers. Bondurant notified a group of five managers that the batteries had, in fact, been shipped on a Southwest Airlines passenger flight. Less than two months after bringing forth his concern, Bondurant's employment with Southwest Airlines was terminated after 23 years.

After his firing, Bondurant filed an AIR21 Complaint. The AIR21 statute protects whistleblowers in the aviation industry from discrimination in respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.

As a result of the whistleblower claims, the FAA launched an investigation into the February 2012 incident. During the FAA investigation, Southwest made statements to the FAA that are contradicted by the evidence brought forth by Bondurant's claims. On November 7, 2012, the FAA sent a Notice of Proposed Civil Penalty to Southwest Airlines, recommending a $16,200 fine.

For fifty years, Provost*Umphrey's mission has remained to seek justice for those most in need – those who have suffered a personal injury or death due to the wrongful conduct of others. Our attorneys fight for our clients nationwide with offices in Beaumont and Houston Texas and Nashville, Tennessee. Led by Walter Umphrey, Provost*Umphrey continues to be one of the most successful trial law firms in the nation by remaining Hard-Working Lawyers for Hard-Working People .

Contact: Allison Marble