Last December, we attended and reported on oral argument before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in a case in which the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) argued that TSA checkpoint staff have absolute immunity from lawsuits for assault, even sexual assault or rape, committed against travelers they are “screening”.
We’re pleased to report that today the 9th Circuit panel of judges rejected the TSA’s claim of impunity. The three judges found unanimously that the Federal Tort Clams Act (FTCA) allows lawsuits against the TSA for damages caused by checkpoint staff who assault travelers. The 9th Circuit thus joins every other Circuit Court of Appeals (the 3rd, 4th, and 8th) to have addressed this issue in a published opinion.
The case decided today by the 9th Circuit will now return to the U.S. District Court in Las Vegas for much-belated consideration of the claim against the TSA and its officers. The precedent set by today’s decision will apply throughout the 9th Circuit, the largest of the Federal judicial circuits, including all of the states on the West Coast.
Kudos to Jonathan Corbett, Esq., who has represented the plaintiffs in each of these cases. Coals for Christmas to the TSA for continuing to argue for impunity for its staff to one Circuit Court after another, despite the growing weight of precedent against the agency and, perhaps more importantly, the moral repugnance of arguing that any agents of the government should be entitled to assault or rape members of the public with impunity.