Family sues Southwest Airlines after jetway accident they say left a 25-year-old woman paralyzed

A Miami woman and her family are suing Southwest Airlines after an incident in which 25-year-old Gabrielle Assouline suffered "life-changing" injuries while boarding a plane.
On February 25, 2022, Assouline was thrown from her wheelchair while boarding a Southwest flight at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, according to the lawsuit filed in Broward County Circuit Court. She hit a fork in the Jet Bridge and fell, breaking her neck. Assouline is now paralyzed from the neck down and on a ventilator.
In court documents, the airline has denied liability for damages.
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Assouline sued the airline, G2 Secure Staff and a Southwest Airlines supervisor for damages. According to the lawsuit, at the time of the accident, G2 Secure Staff was under contract with Southwest to provide "wheelchair and related passenger assistance services to Southwest passengers" at Fort Lauderdale Airport.
Assouline is in a wheelchair because she suffers from fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, a genetic bone and tissue disease. Her mother said on a fundraising page that her daughter's condition never stopped her from living her life.
"Gaby is a fighter," Sandra Assouline wrote on GoFundMe to raise money for her recovery. "She's smart, passionate, hilarious, creative and so resilient. She makes everyone around her better just by being her witty, brilliant self. She takes online college courses and is committed to making life more accessible for people with disabilities.”
The family filed the first lawsuit in March, less than a month after the accident.
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"The last thing parents would expect is to get a call that their daughter has fallen and is now paralyzed from the neck down," said Robert Solomon of the law firm Saban & Solomon, who represents Assouline.
Solomon said the family did not yet know when their daughter would be able to leave the hospital. Due to Assouline's paralysis, her family learns to read lips to communicate with her.
In an emailed statement, Southwest said it will continue to "investigate and address the facts and circumstances surrounding [Assouline's] travel experience."
Solomon said the airline didn't have to do much evaluation to find out the travel experience was poor.
"It's just insensitive and it's the canned response that we got," Solomon said of Southwest's statement. "Now we will fight. Just like their daughter is fighting, they hired me to do it.”
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