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Thread: TSA screeners win immunity from flier abuse claims: U.S. appeals court

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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    TSA screeners win immunity from flier abuse claims: U.S. appeals court

    TSA screeners win immunity from flier abuse claims: U.S. appeals court

    Oh, YAY... they can be rude with impunity!

    TSA screeners win immunity from flier abuse claims: U.S. appeals court




    Source: Yahoo.com

    By Jonathan Stempel

    (Reuters) - Fliers may have a tough time recovering damages for invasive screenings at U.S. airport security checkpoints, after a federal appeals court on Wednesday said screeners are immune from claims under a federal law governing assaults, false arrests and other abuses.

    In a 2-1 vote, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners are shielded by government sovereign immunity from liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act because they do not function as "investigative or law enforcement officers."

    The majority said it was "sympathetic" to concerns that its decision would leave fliers with "very limited legal redress" for alleged mistreatment by aggressive or overzealous screeners, which add to the ordinary stresses of air travel.

    "For most people, TSA screenings are an unavoidable feature of flying," but it is "squarely in the realm" of Congress to expand liability for abuses, Circuit Judge Cheryl Ann Krause wrote.

    The decision, the first on the issue by a federal appeals court, was a defeat for Nadine Pellegrino, a business consultant from Boca Raton, Florida.

    She and her husband had sued for false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution over a July 2006 altercation at Philadelphia International Airport.

    Pellegrino on Wednesday said she was reviewing the decision. A lawyer who helped with her appeal did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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    tWebber Teallaura's Avatar
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    How are they not law enforcement?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Teallaura View Post
    How are they not law enforcement?
    Basically because they're not trained or authorized to carry firearms. There's more to it than that, but that seems to be the dividing point.

    1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

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    It was bad enough as it was, now it will just be worse.

  5. Amen Cow Poke amen'd this post.
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    tWebber Teallaura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    Basically because they're not trained or authorized to carry firearms. There's more to it than that, but that seems to be the dividing point.
    So Britain has very few policemen then, huh?



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    tWebber Teallaura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerebrum123 View Post

    It was bad enough as it was, now it will just be worse.
    The Supreme Court might hear it - you don't know at this stage.


    Still processing the 'not law enforcement' idea... They are there to enforce the law but are not law enforcement because they can't shoot you if you bring a nail file?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Teallaura View Post
    The Supreme Court might hear it - you don't know at this stage.
    I'm rather pessimistic about it at this point, especially given my own experience in airports.

    Still processing the 'not law enforcement' idea... They are there to enforce the law but are not law enforcement because they can't shoot you if you bring a nail file?
    Yeah, that part is rather strange.

  9. Amen Teallaura amen'd this post.
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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teallaura View Post
    So Britain has very few policemen then, huh?


    TSA is not British. I didn't think I had to specify I was talking about the US of A.

    1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Teallaura View Post
    The Supreme Court might hear it - you don't know at this stage.


    Still processing the 'not law enforcement' idea... They are there to enforce the law but are not law enforcement because they can't shoot you if you bring a nail file?
    Kinda like the difference between security guards and police - one is to "observe and report", the other is to enforce the law.

    TSA has always blurred the line.

    1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

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    IN THE USA....

    A law enforcement officer (LEO)[1] or peace officer, in North American English, is a public-sector employee whose duties primarily involve the enforcement of laws. The phrase can include police officers, municipal law enforcement officers, special police officers, customs officers, state troopers, special agents, secret agents, special investigators, border patrol officers, immigration officers, court officers, probation officers, parole officers, arson investigators, auxiliary officers, game wardens, sheriffs, constables, corrections, marshals, deputies, detention officers, prison guards, and Public Safety Officers (at public institutions). Security guards are civilians and therefore not law enforcement officers, unless they have been granted powers to enforce particular laws, such as those accredited under a Community Safety Accreditation Scheme. Although typically the term "law enforcement officer" refers to those government agents with police powers, prosecutors are also law enforcement officers.


    The reason this whole thing is a problem is because TSA personnel are NOT "law enforcement"

    From TSA's own website...

    From time to time, we see headlines, blogs, and comments from people who believe that TSA officers have the authority to arrest passengers. Well, they do not, so let us set the record straight.

    • TSA officers at airport checkpoints do not have the authority to arrest any passenger, regardless of the situation.
    • TSA officers do not carry firearms, billy clubs, mace, stun guns or any other type of weapon. Nor do TSA officers carry handcuffs. They are not authorized to use force in the performance of their duties.


    TSA does call for law enforcement assistance when deemed necessary. So under what circumstance would a TSA officer need to call law enforcement? Here are just a few (not all) of the more common situations:

    • When a traveler attempts to evade/avoid screening.
    • When a traveler interferes with the screening process and will not cease the interference.
    • When certain prohibited items, such as firearms and larger knives are discovered.
    • When potential explosive devices are discovered.
    • When illegal narcotics or any other illegal items are discovered.
    • When an officer recognizes a person from a “Be on the Lookout” (BOLO) notification.
    • When an officer believes a child or any other traveler might be traveling against his or her will or if the individual is believed to be in danger.
    • If there is a dispute or conflict between travelers that results in a physical altercation that can’t be resolved.


    The goal of a TSA officer is to ensure that no explosive or harmful device passes through the security checkpoint. In doing that, TSA officers are expected to treat all travelers with dignity and respect.

    1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

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