NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit filed against Southwest Airlines Co. by a New Orleans woman who claims a gate agent told her she was "too fat to fly" and couldn't board a flight last year without buying two tickets.
In her order, U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan said she dismissed Kenlie Tiggeman's suit because she missed a deadline for responding to Southwest's request for the case to be tossed.
Morgan said the airline's request "appears to have merit," but she dismissed the suit without prejudice, which means Tiggeman can ask for the case to be reopened.
Tiggeman filed the lawsuit herself in a state court before it was transferred to the federal court in New Orleans. She declined to comment on Morgan's ruling, referring questions about the case to a publicist.
Tiggeman was interviewed about her claims on NBC's "Today Show" after she sued the airline earlier this year, claiming its employees discriminated against her because of her obesity.
She says she weighed up to 300 pounds at the time she tried to board an April 2011 flight but was told she had to purchase a second ticket. Her suit claims Southwest employees laughed at her at the gate and asked for proof of her weight, humiliating and embarrassing her in front of other passengers.
Southwest attorneys said in a court filing that the airline denies Tiggeman's allegations. They also argued that all of the claims she asserted "are preempted or otherwise without merit."