A man from Marrero, Louisiana has filed a federal lawsuit against Southwest Airlines over the holiday debacle that caused hundreds of flights to be canceled and left thousands of travelers stranded.

The lawsuit was filed by Eric Capdeville, who with his daughter, was supposed to fly from New Orleans to Portland on December 27. Their flight, along with more than 15,000 others, was canceled.

Southwest initially blamed the meltdown on the winter storm that swept the nation that week. Then once things got rolling again and they didn't recover like the other airlines, they claimed they were struggling to get crews and equipment to the needed airports.

There was also much discussion about the airline's antiquated IT and outdated processes that prevented customers from getting answers during the aftermath.

Southwest Airlines' Mass Cancellations Continue To Strand Travellers Nationwide
Michael Ciaglo, Getty Images

Capdeville's attorney, Matthew Moreland, says that his client tried to contact Southwest for hours and wasn't able to "get a clear answer about whether they would refund him."

The lawsuit alleges that Capdeville was "not given a refund, but was only offered a credit for use on a future flight." It also claims that if Capdeville does not receive a refund, then it will be "in violation not only of [Southwest's] own Contract of Carriage, but federal law."

Capdeville is not only seeking compensation for his plane tickets but also for the cost of his hotel reservation in Portland and other related expenses.

What does Southwest Airlines have to say about this lawsuit?

A spokesperson for the airline responded with the following statement:

There are several high-priority efforts underway to do right by our Customers, including processing refunds from canceled flights and reimbursing Customers for expenses incurred as a result of the irregular operations.

We have a long and proud 51-year history of delivering on our Customers’ expectations, and we are committed to the all-important imperative of taking care of them during operational disruptions.

In fact, on December 28, we launched a website to assist Customers with requesting refunds and reimbursements, and those requests are being processed and issued.

That website is here: www.southwest.com/traveldisruption.

Moreland says that his client has not submitted a request for reimbursement yet through the site. But he went on to say that his office intends to make that request on Capdeville's behalf.

Moreland also says that they are seeking class-action status for the lawsuit. He says he's already been in contact with other Southwest customers who want to join in. One of those individuals is a woman who missed her mother's funeral because her flight was canceled.

Does this lawsuit have a chance?

Many legal experts believe that there are significant challenges in suing a company as large as Southwest Airlines as they anticipate these kinds of scenarios and have enough legal protection to defend themselves against the lawsuit.

In the meantime, Southwest is continuing to work with its unhappy customers to appease them. On Tuesday, they sent out a letter to those whose flights were canceled, offering 25,000 reward points.

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