• American Airlines replaced its lawyers after backlash over a bathroom recording case.
  • The airline is facing lawsuits tied to a former flight attendant accused of filming underage girls.
  • Previous lawyers argued a 9-year-old “should have known” she was being filmed.

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American Airlines has new attorneys after previous lawyers said a 9-year-old should have realized she was being recorded in the bathroom by a flight attendant.

The airline is facing several lawsuits stemming from criminal charges against Estes Carter Thompson, a former flight attendant accused of filming underage girls by taping his phone to the bathroom toilet seat.

Police arrested Thompson after a 14-year-old girl noticed a phone with its camera flashlight turned on in the bathroom on a flight from North Carolina to New York in September 2023, police say. He is facing federal charges of attempted sexual exploitation of children and possession of images of child sexual abuse.

The girl’s mother previously told Business Insider that Thompson used “psychological tricks” to make her think the interaction wasn’t strange.

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Paul Llewellyn, an attorney representing the 14-year-old girl’s family in a civil suit, is also representing the family of a 9-year-old who says Thompson also filmed her on a flight in January 2023.

Attorneys representing American Airlines in that lawsuit claimed in court records this week that the 9-year-old “knew or should have known” that the bathroom “contained a visible and illuminated recording device,” absolving the airline of negligence.

Llewellyn called the claims “not credible” and said the airline should have never “taken this position in the first place.”

The airlines later walked back the claims in court, amended the complaint, and issued a statement to Business Insider that said the defense was “not representative of our airline.”

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Now, American Airlines confirmed to Business Insider that the airline is no longer retaining the attorneys who wrote the complaint, offering no further comment on the change.

Llewellyn told BI in a statement that American Airlines switched attorneys “as a result of the intense media and public backlash surrounding the outrageous allegation.”

“With the benefit of this new legal representation, we hope that American Airlines will now take a fresh look at the case and finally take some measure of responsibility for what happened to our client,” Llewellyn said. “Otherwise, we are very confident that a Texas jury will do the right thing and hold American Airlines responsible.”