TSA Agents Can Now Grope Travelers Without Fear Of Pesky Lawsuits

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners have gained the upper glove when it comes to being sued by travelers subjected to assaults, false arrests or other abuses, thanks to a Wednesday ruling by a federal appeals court.

In a 2-1 decision, the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled that TSA screeners are not "investigative or law enforcement officers," which shields them from liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). 

While the judges said they were "sympathetic" to concerns that their decision would leave victims of TSA gropings with "very limited legal redress," the panel ultimately concluded that screeners and security personnel are not covered by the law.

“For most people, TSA screenings are an unavoidable feature of flying, and they may involve thorough searches of not only the belongings of passengers but also their physical persons — searches that are even more rigorous and intimate for individuals who happen to be selected for physical pat-downs,” wrote Circuit Judge Cheryl Ann Krause in her decision.

The Wednesday ruling came as a major defeat for Nadine Pellegrino - a Boca Raton business consultant who sued the TSA for false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution over a July 2006 incident at the Philadelphia International Airport. 

According to court papers, Pellegrino had been randomly selected for additional screening at the Philadelphia airport before boarding a US Airways flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Pellegrino, then 57, objected to the invasiveness of the screening, but conditions deteriorated and she was eventually jailed for about 18 hours and criminally charged, the papers show. She was acquitted at a March 2008 trial. -Reuters

Circuit Judge Thomas Ambro was the lone dissenter on the panel, who faulted the majority judges for preventing victims of TSA abuses from recoveries "by analogizing TSA searches to routine administrative inspections."

The court did note, however, that the head of the TSA - the Under Secretary of Transportation for Security does have the authority to designate TSA employees as "law enforcement officer[s] under 49 U.S.C. 114(p)(1).

The same court threw out a First Amendment claim against the TSA last August, after Roger Vanderklok said he was arrested in retaliation for a request to file a complaint against a surly TSA supervisor. 

Come fly the friendly skies!

See the ruling here: 

Comments

Dickweed Wang WillyGroper Sat, 07/14/2018 - 20:15 Permalink

My money is on this ruling being overturned by the Supreme Court. If 'TSA screeners are not "investigative or law enforcement officers" . . .' then how can people be arrested and charged for not complying with their demands??  My guess is the Appeals court in question is one of the left leaning courts and their decision will be dealt with appropriately by the SCOTUS.

In reply to by WillyGroper

chumbawamba powow Sun, 07/15/2018 - 00:31 Permalink

Did any of you asshats actually read what the court found?

If the TSA agents are not law enforcement, just what the fuck are they?

Answer: civilian contractors.  You sue the individual TSA agent for violating you personally.  Even if you lose, they lose.  What TSA agent can afford to defend themselves from a prolonged civil suit?

Fucking chimps.

-chumblez.

In reply to by powow

chumbawamba chumbawamba Sun, 07/15/2018 - 01:28 Permalink

Here you go, monkeys:

We identified several such factors: (a) TSA agents are part of the country’s national-security apparatus; (b) Congress is in a  better position than the Court to recognize a new species of liability; and (c) TSA agents are not typically law enforcement officers.

What the Court is saying here is that they have no remedy to give to the Plaintiff.  Congress, in drafting the post-9/11 transportation security laws, left some vagueness as to just what a TSA (Transportation Security Agent) is in the eyes of the law.  As they then go on to say, a TSA agent is not typically a law enforcement officer.  They explain earlier that some TSA's are designated as LEO's by virtue of their position ("An employee so designated may carry a firearm, make arrests, and seek and execute warrants for arrest or seizure of evidence.")  The point here being that the Court determined that the sued parties were not liable under the law; in other words the lady's lawsuit was flawed, according to the court.  This will likely be appealed, but whether the SCOTUS will take it is another question.  I'm guessing they will: what the Court described in this ruling is a fustercluck of a law that needs serious amending.

In discussing point (c), we referred  back to our discussion of the FTCA claim and emphasized the highly circumscribed and administrative nature of the TSO role: TSA employees typically are not law enforcement officers and do not act as such. As  previously discussed, only those TSA employees specifically designated by the Under Secretary with the responsibilities of an officer, in accordance with 49 U.S.C. § 44903(a), operate like police officers. As a result, line TSA employees are not trained on issues of probable cause, reasonable suspicion, and other constitutional doctrines that govern law enforcement officers. Instead, they are instructed to carry out administrative searches and contact local law enforcement if they encounter situations requiring action  beyond their limited though important responsibilities.

In other words, Shaniqua at the porno-scanner with the magic wand is not an officer of any kind, just Shaniqua who be working for the gubmint.

The question is, how do you go about suing her when she chimps out with her authorita or steals your new Adidas?

-chumblez.

In reply to by chumbawamba

Klassenfeind Zero Point Sun, 07/15/2018 - 13:28 Permalink

Trump, the Deep State Narcissistic Police State clown, probably approves because the T S/S A is allowing for 'law and order' and 'fighting terrorists.' So Trumptards, stop complaining, this is what you guys wanted!

Perhaps pretty soon the TSA will have a waterboarding facility at every airport?

Here is Trump on the campaign trail in April 2016 endorcing waterboarding: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yx1DQY5a8So

Here is Dufus Trump in June 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQHhZ_eqWOg

Trump is the Deep State Narcissistic Police State clown you voted for, but now it will bite you in the ass! Hahahaha! Dumb fucks!

p.s. for all the Trumptards, there's a big difference between "law and order" (= a police state) and "justice" (= a fair society), but you guys are probably too fucking dumb and retarded to understand that.

In reply to by Zero Point

Bokkenrijder Klassenfeind Sun, 07/15/2018 - 13:42 Permalink

So what is Trump doing to stop the Deep Police State and the TSA?

I guess not a lot, but the cognitively dissonant Trump fanboys here on ZH will find probably a way to justify this, or at least by attacking the messengers with the usual barrage of downvotes and "you're a Hillary supporter" remarks. 

The truth about Trump is uncomfortable, but I'm sure that 'this time it will be different...'

In reply to by Klassenfeind

nmewn DingleBarryObummer Sat, 07/14/2018 - 21:15 Permalink

Yes!

And he hasn't cured the common cold or acne yet either being moar concerned with Hawaiians dropping their own children into storm drains, giving under 100k workers (like me) a 15% raise in take home pay and exposing the Deep State on it's multiple haphazard levels all the while, golfing, enjoying life, tweaking Jim Acosta's nose every chance he gets and eating two scoops of vanilla ice cream (instead of one scoop) at state dinners with "dignitaries".

But I'm sure he'll get around to your acne and common cold problems at some point, along with, me sneaking in & out of the country in a hajib ;-)

In reply to by DingleBarryObummer

nmewn MoreFreedom Sat, 07/14/2018 - 21:35 Permalink

And just imagine that, a couple KNOWN to have played "fast & loose" with, ahem, "national security" on multiple occasions, on everything from Chi-Com yuan "donations" to emails on a "private server" (lol) to missile guidance technology to uranium to bending Burnie Marx over a backroom table in a smoke filled room at DNC headquarters and pounding that ass like never before with just a wink & a nod that this is how you get your private island to retire on...as his ass bleeds.

Just...lean back...and take it Burnie...LMMFAO!!!

In reply to by MoreFreedom

jin187 Steel Hammerhands Sun, 07/15/2018 - 04:08 Permalink

That's why they have pilot's licenses.  Costs about 5-15k to get a personal license, and another 10-15k to get commercial certified.  Not much harder than a Class A CDL, and then you can just fly yourself out of small airports.  If you go commercial, you can even take paying customers with you.

Barring that, buy a parachute, play a few hundred hours of MS Flight Simulator, run onto the tarmac, and jack a plane like on GTA.  Then you just bail out near your destination, so when they find the plane, they think you died when you crashed it into that school.

In reply to by Steel Hammerhands