We’ve all heard stories about the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)’s terrible, rude, and inexcusable behavior. They’re more likely to touch you in inappropriate places or make your disabled children cry from fear than prevent anything dangerous from getting on the plane. Now, the U.S. Court of Appeals is granting TSAs an alarming amount of power by making them “immune” to your claims of abuse. If you fall victim to a power-hungry TSA, you can’t sue!
• The ruling hinges on older precedent that states investigative or law enforcement officers can be held responsible for abuse liability claims if evidence proves they were negligent. TSAs, on the other hand, do not qualify for the same classification; thus, there’s nothing forcing anyone to make them liable if they do something wrong.
• Instead, they qualify as everyday employees. If they do something wrong, most lawyers will hold the business responsible (e.g., the airport or the hiring body) rather than the worker.
• The change also stems from an older case dating back to 2006, where Nadine Pellegrino and Harry Waldman stated that TSA screeners caused them to be victims of false arrest, malicious prosecution and false imprisonment. TSA agents accused the woman of “hitting them with her suitcase” as she walked by and had her and her husband arrested and prosecuted as a result.
• Pellegrino was eventually found not guilty two years later, as there was no proof she ever even committed a crime. Court documents also stated she was “randomly selected,” meaning she hadn’t done anything suspicious to warrant a private inspection.
• Judge Cheryl Ann Krause, who works for the Appeals court, dismissed their complaints while also giving TSAs immunity late last week. “Pellegrino’s claims are therefore barred by the Government’s sovereign immunity,” she wrote, “and we will affirm the District Court’s judgment dismissing this action.”
• Judge Thomas Ambro, however, did not agree. He told Pellegrino that she should take her case to trial. It seems like at least one court judge sees exactly why allowing TSAs free reign to terrorize travelers is such a serious concern.