Lawsuit Lawsuit follows after TSA forced woman to check ashes & U.S. Airways lost them

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Mike, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    This was one of the original articles from almost two years ago. It was noted in Bill Fisher's master list but never posted here, probably because the fingers were mostly pointing at U.S. Airways. However, the root cause was TSA's refusal to allow the ashes as carry-on baggage "its contents were not a solid substance" -- just another example of TSA screeners making up rules on the fly, with very sad consequences for the family affected.

    And the odds are overwhelming that it was also TSA that later removed the ashes from her checked baggage.

    NBC 10 Philadelphia: Woman Says Airline Lost Her Husband’s Ashes (Jan 20 2012)

    On Nov. 1 she was on her way to England to scatter Brian's ashes in his hometown of Hull when the airline lost her husband’s remains, she says. O'Grady says Transportation Security Administration officials who told her that she could not take her husband’s ashes, which were in a box, through airport security. Directed to go back to the US Airways counter, O’Grady put the ashes into her checked luggage and had a "Fragile" sticker put on the suitcase, she told NBC Philadelphia.
    She got off the plane and drove to her sister-in-law's home in her husband's hometown. "When I opened the baggage and everything the ashes weren't there," O'Grady said.
  2. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Philadelphia Daily News: Suit: US Airways lost my husband's ashes (Sept 19 2013)

    ANGELINE O'GRADY doesn't know where her husband is. She knows his soul is no longer on this earth - it left in 2011 when he lost his battle with cancer. His earthly remains, however, were lost by US Airways in Philadelphia two years ago and have yet to be found, O'Grady claims in a lawsuit filed yesterday in Common Pleas Court.

    O'Grady, of Trumbauersville, Bucks County, was on her way to bury her husband's cremated remains in their hometown in England in 2011 when TSA agents made her take the ashes out of her carry-on luggage and place them in her checked bag, the suit said. But she said the remains were missing when she retrieved her luggage in England.
  3. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    UK Daily Mail: Woman sues US Airways for losing her husband's ashes after TSA agents forced her to put them in her checked baggage (Sept 19 2013)
    • Brian James O'Grady died in October 2011 after suffering from cancer
    • His wife, Angeline O'Grady, wanted to take his ashes back to their hometown of Hull, England as a final resting place
    • Mrs O'Grady put the ashes in her checked baggage on a US Airways flight back to England
    • But when she opened her luggage in the UK, the box containing the ashes was gone
    • Since reporting the missing urn, Mrs O'Grady says that the airline has been less than helpful in trying to find her husband's remains
    • Mrs O'Grady filed a lawsuit against the company yesterday, and the airline plans to defend itself in the case
    Initially, Mrs O'Grady planned to take the urn on board with her, but was stopped by TSA agents who told her she wasn't allowed to bring the cardboard box containing his urn through security because 'it's contents were not a solid substance'.
  4. DeafBlonde

    DeafBlonde Original Member

    Just a wild guess, but I suspect the TSA baggage screeners tried to snort Mr. O'Grady's remains. When they didn't get a sufficient buzz, they probably "disposed" of him in a very disrespectfull manner (i.e. down a toilet drain).:rolleyes: She should name TSA in the suit for contributory negligence.
  5. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Problems are lack of agency & proof. Her contractual agreement for transportation was with U.S. Airways, not TSA. US Airways had a contractual obligation to deliver her baggage, so she can sue them regardless of who did what. To sue TSA she would need actual proof that one of their employees or contractors was in some way responsible.

    I hope she prevails at her lawsuit. Airlines have been getting away with "TSA done it" for way too long. They need a nice, hefty judgment to underscore the fact that the airline is responsible for what happens to a checked back from the time it is checked until it is claimed.
  6. Fisher1949

    Fisher1949 Original Member Coach

    It will be interesting to see how US Airways defends this. To my knowledge, the airlines never open baggage intentionally and would have no reason to do so since TSA has been handling n=baggage inspections for over a decade.

    Their only options appear to be to wage a weak defense and take the monetary hit as a cost having getting free screening or publicly blaming TSA and going on record as identifying TSA as the culprit. The latter would be a basis for a separate suit against and any evidence submitted in this case used to prosecute a case against TSA.

    In any event, I hope the plaintiff prevails and sets a precedent for this sort of abusive behavior.
  7. DeafBlonde

    DeafBlonde Original Member

    Bolding mine: Yes, this is true. However, the TSA interferes with that contract between the passenger, their baggage, and the transport of both in so many ways, they must share liability in this case. At least, if I were the judge, I would see it this way.
  8. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    But it's the airlines that have to hold TSA accountable. TSA has no relationship with the passenger as far as checked baggage is concerned.

    TSA doesn't interfere with their contract (actually the airlines LOVE having TSA do this this because it relieves them of an enormous cost center); TSA is acting in effect as a subcontractor. Your recourse is with the airline; the airlines recourse, if they choose to pursue it, is with TSA. Unless you have actual, specific evidence that TSA stole or damaged something, you are not likely to prevail.

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