The legal counsel representing Dr. David Dao, the passenger forced off a United Airlines flight on Sunday, is reportedly known as “the everyman’s lawyer.” Thomas Demetrio, also known as “Tom,” made a name in the courts by getting involved in major lawsuits and winning millions of dollars in personal injury cases. He is the same attorney who represented former NFL and NHL players and their families in a concussion class action against the leagues, The Chicago Tribune wrote.
That case, partly filed by the family of late Chicago Bears player Dave Duerson, led to a $1 billion settlement.
Demetrio, who graduated from the University of Notre Dame and the Chicago-Kent College of Law, is listed as one of the top 100 plaintiff trial attorneys in the United States. His track record includes a 2002 scaffolding accident that compensated victims $75 million.
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Now, the Chicago-based Personal Injury Lawyer is spearheading the legal team on Dr. Dao’s behalf. He asked in a Thursday conference, “Are we going to continue to just be treated like cattle? Bullied? Rude treatment?”
“We all have had enough … angst for flying as it is. Don’t treat the people who helped make you be the corporate entity you are like Dr. Dao was treated.”
However, there is no official lawsuit yet. Demetrio addressed concerns, “When we file our lawsuit, it’s going to be because every word, every preposition, is in that lawsuit for a reason. If unreasonable force and violence is used, under a set of circumstances, the airline, in this case United Airlines, is responsible.”
Demetrio has been taking on airlines for some time. According to NBC News, he represented the widow of a plane crash fatality in 1973, which also killed musician Jim Croce. In 1990, he represented the family of musician Stevie Ray Vaughan, who died in a helicopter crash.
Nine years later, he represented victims of two American Eagle plane crashes, winning $30 million in settlements. He also represented families who lost their kin in the 9/11 attacks for free.
In 2009, Cook County Circuit Judge Thomas Hogan told Super Lawyers that Demetrio is “the everyman’s lawyer” who holds the burden of persuading judges to look into people’s suffering:
“He has an ability to connect. He doesn’t condescend to a jury. They understand that he’s an advocate and that he has fulfilled the promise he made to them at the opening statement.”