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TSA Screeners Win Immunity From Abuse Claims, Court Rules

Mr.Intel writes from a report via 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,” reports Reuters. In a 2-1 vote, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners are shielded from liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) because they do not function as “investigative or law enforcement officers.” 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,” reports Reuters. According to court papers, Pellegrino had been randomly selected for additional screening at the Philadelphia airport before boarding a U.S. Airways flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Pellegrino, then 57, objected to the invasiveness of the search, but conditions deteriorated and she was later jailed for about 18 hours, the papers show. Criminal charges were filed, and Pellegrino was acquitted at a March 2008 trial.


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