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Nut-rage plaintiff compensation is increased

Nov 06,2019
Korean Air has been ordered by the Seoul High Court to pay a flight attendant 70 million won ($60,352) for damages related to the 2014 “nut rage” incident.

In an earlier trial, a lower court ruled in December that the airline must pay Park Chang-jin, the plaintiff and chief of cabin crew at the time of the incident, 20 million won.

The incident occurred when Cho Hyun-ah, then an executive of the carrier, became angry when she was served macadamia nuts in a bag, rather than on a plate, and ordered a taxiing plane to return to the gate at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

She also ordered flight attendants, including Park, to leave the plane.

Cho owns 6.43 percent of Hanjin Kal, which owns 30 percent of the airline.

Park sued Cho and the company in November 2017, arguing he was unfairly demoted following the incident. He asked for the demotion to be reversed.

Park also said he suffered physical and psychological distress due to the incident.

Korean Air insisted the demotion was because Park underperformed in the company’s English proficiency test.

While ordering the compensation, the Seoul High Court agreed with the lower court and did not accept Park’s request to nullify the demotion, saying it is hard to see it as unfair that the company adopted higher standards for cabin crew.

The high court also reaffirmed a lower court ruling that Cho should pay 30 million won in compensation to Park.

She has already paid a deposit of 100 million won to the court to settle the suit.

BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]