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Alaska Airlines Loses Wrongful Death Suit After Accident at PDX

SPOKANE, Wash. –  After a 3 year legal battle, a Spokane family with Hawaiian roots finally has some closure.

75-year-old Bernice Kekona was at PDX for a layover on her way from Maui to Spokane.  She was flying Alaska Airlines and they were supposed to provide an escort for her to get her to her next gate.  But, the contractor did not show up, so Bernice took her motorized wheelchair out on her own.

Unfortunately, she got confused and lost in the Portland Airport and mistook an escalator for an elevator.  She drove down – falling 21 stairs.  After the accident, she got a number of infections and had to have her right foot amputated.  She ultimately died.

The Kekona family lawyer successfully argued that providing gate to gate escorts for people like Bernice is a federally protected right.  The King County jury ruled unanimously that the family was not at fault and that Alaska should have made sure their contractor fulfilled his duties.


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