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Korean Air ordered to pay ‘nut rage’ victim

Dec 20,2018
A Seoul court on Wednesday ordered Korean Air to pay 20 million won ($17,760) to a flight attendant for damages he suffered from the “nut rage” incident involving an heiress to the business conglomerate.

The Seoul Western District Court partially upheld the requests by Park Chang-jin, then chief of the cabin crew, who was forced to disembark from a taxiing Seoul-bound Korean Air flight in New York on Dec. 5, 2014.

The incident occurred after Cho Hyun-ah, then an executive of the national air carrier and the chairman’s daughter, who was a first-class passenger aboard the plane, went ballistic over how her macadamia nuts were served in an unopened bag instead of on a plate.

She ordered Park and the female flight attendant who served her the nuts to apologize on their knees and had them removed from the plane.

Park sued Cho and the company in November 2017 for unfairly demoting him from chief flight attendant when he had returned from leave. He sought 300 million won in compensation for physical and psychological suffering.

The court on Wednesday accepted Park’s argument that Korean Air is responsible for compensating him. But it dismissed his requests for damages paid by Cho and for the annulment of the demotion, largely citing insufficient grounds.

Korean Air has insisted the demotion was adequate, saying that Park underperformed in the English proficiency test.

The nut rage case sparked public uproar in Korea, where the powers of family-run business conglomerates, or chaebol, remain an ongoing issue.

Cho was later charged with violating the aviation law and sentenced to one year in prison. She was released after three months as an appeals court suspended her sentence.

Yonhap