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University president sues Delta for gun-related arrest

7:45 AM, Jun 11, 2012   |    comments
Delta Air Lines MD-88 jet (file photo)
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ATLANTA -- Delta Air Lines is being sued by the president of the University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota, who claims he was wrongfully arrested after a Delta ticket agent notified police he had declared a firearm at New York's LaGuardia Airport.

University president Mark Benedetto, who spent a night in a New York jail, says Delta breached its duty by failing to inform him of the city's restrictive gun laws, according to Sioux Falls newspaper The Argus Leader.

Attempts by the paper to reach Delta for comment were not successful.

An Associated Press report on the story says a Delta spokesman said Sunday the airline does not comment on pending litigation.

Benedetto and his wife, Gail, flew to New York Sept. 28 to pick up a piece of Sept. 11 memorabilia for a display at the school, the paper reports.

Benedetto's lawsuit says that when he declared that he had an unloaded handgun in a locked case inside his checked luggage, as required by the Transportation Security Administration and Delta Air Lines policy, a Delta ticket agent called the New York-New Jersey Port Authority Police and he was arrested.

Benedetto, who has a concealed carry permit for South Dakota, said he did not know it is illegal to carry a firearm in New York unless the gun owner is a New York resident with a state and local concealed carry permit.

The lawsuit accuses the Atlanta-based airline of "negligence, breach of contract, breach of good faith and fair dealing" and asks for compensatory and punitive damages. An amount is not specified.

Benedetto claims he was subjected to "horrendous conditions" while in jail and subjected to physical, emotional and verbal abuse.

(Atlanta Business Chronicle)

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