Friday, June 29, 2001
Flight Attendant Sues Dodgers, Released Pitcher Over Treatment on Jet
By KIMBERLY EDDS, Staff Writer
A Delta Air Lines flight attendant sued the Los Angeles Dodgers and former Dodger pitcher Carlos Perez yesterday for injuries she claimed she received from rough treatment by Perez and other players during a flight chartered by the team last year.
Wearing a metal neck brace and using a rolling walker Sandra Komine, 45, arrived at the press conference to announce the suit in which she alleged Perez violently shook her head on several occasions and an unnamed player fell on her after he refused to sit down during landing on the July 2, 2000 chartered flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
Komine claimed her injuries are so severe she can no longer work as a flight attendant.
The Los Angeles Superior Court complaint by Komine and her husband, Max, seeks unspecified damages against the Dodgers, Perez and as-yet unidentified defendants. It claims negligence, assault and battery, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress and loss of consortium because she cannot perform her “necessary spousal” duties.
A veteran flight attendant who served on Dodger charter flights her entire 26 year career, Komine said she was “shocked at the behavior of the Dodgers,” whom she claimed “have always been perfectly well behaved.”
Komine charges Perez repeatedly grabbed her by the hair, shaking her, threatened to cut the hair off of another flight attendant, “beat her ass and throw her off the airplane,” and threatened Komine and other flight attendants with a gun he said he had carried on board.
Players, management, and their families are not subject to security checks like flight attendants and pilots are. Players were allowed to board the Boeing 727directly from the team bus without passing through security, Komine said.
“We were all terrified of this man,” she said. “We decided that if he said anything else to us in-flight that none of us wanted to serve him. But I said I would at least serve him food because I was afraid if we ignored him in-flight he would get really out of hand.”
During the landing, Komine and Perez got into another confrontation when she told him to turn off his cell phone because of the pilots would not be able to hear instructions from the control tower.
She alleged Perez pulled her hair again and that she twisted his finger to get him to pull back knowing that the pitcher would protect his hand. Perez did release his grip, she said.
An unidentified Dodger player who had gotten up to talk to some teammates refused to sit down just seconds before touchdown, she alleged. The player fell into the back of the seat when the pilot applied the breaks, breaking the seat back and forcing Komine’s head into the seat in front of her, she said.
“When the pilot hit the brakes, he was airborne and body slammed me,” she said.
Komine claimed her neck was further injured when the player struggled to get up and pushed her head down even more.
Instead of coming to Komine’s aid, other players laughed and shouted “Get her! Get the stewardess!” Komine said. “It was like I was the post-game entertainment,” she said.
The other player has yet to be identified. Komine said she reviewed reviewing team roster photographs but has been unable to pick him out.
When the plane landed, Komine said she reported the incident to Dodger executives in First Class and to the Delta Charter Coordinator.
A police report was never filed on the incident, but both Delta and FAA officials were notified of what occurred on the flight, Komine’s attorney, Bruce M. Brusavich of Agnew and Brusavich, said.
Brusavich claimed that action was never taken by Delta against the Dodgers “due to the contract and relationship between Delta and the Dodgers.”
When asked why she never contacted the police, Komine said she didn’t know whom to contact.
“I’m a flight attendant,” Komine said. “I didn’t know what to do.”
Komine said she submitted a complete listing of her injuries to Delta about an hour after the plane landed. She sought medical attention the next day.
On June 5, Komine underwent cervical surgery to repair the injuries she sustained from the incident, Brusavich said.
A cervical disc was removed and her spine was fused back together using bone grafted from her hip, Brusavich said. Titanium screws and plates were also implanted in her neck.
“I was in horrible pain for a year,” Komine said. “ I couldn’t support my neck. It was like my head was too big for my neck.”
The Dodgers declined to comment on the pending litigation.
“As is always the case we do not comment on legal matters,” Dodgers Director of Public Relations John Olguin said. “However, we are looking into it.”
Known for his salty language and tendency to criticize his teammates in the media, Perez has also been known to display his anger publicly, most notably using a bat to beat a water cooler and buckets shortly after being taken out in the fourth inning of a miserable outing against the Pirates in 1999.
Perez was also involved in last year’s May 16 melee at Wrigley Field where 16 Dodger players and three Dodger coaches jumped into the stands and fought with fans after a fan allegedly struck backup catcher Chad Kreuter on the head and took his cap. Perez was suspended for five games and made to pay a $5,000 fine following the incident.
In 1995, Perez was arrested in Atlanta and charged with raping a 20-year old woman whom he had met on a blind date at a bar .
Perez was released on $50,000 bond and the charges were later dropped after the accusations were determined to be unfounded, a spokeswoman for the Montreal Expos said.
It is believed that Perez returned to his native Dominican Republic after he was released by the Dodgers in early May, a spokesman for the Dodgers said. Perez was unavailable for comment.
Despite his release, Perez is still receiving a paycheck from the team which was forced to continue to pay the balance of $7.5 million of his $15.6 million contract after being unable to deal him to another club.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company