September 18, 2020

TSA agents ‘opened urn full of mother’s ashes in airport security and spilled them’


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1412549857473_wps_10_image001_pngBy Kieran Corcoran From Daily Mail

agents spilled contents of urn inside grieving son’s baggage on trip to spread her remains in the

Shannon Thomas, from Cleveland, Ohio, lost his in 2012

Flew to to scatter her ashes in the sea – her final wish

But when he landed he found remains spilled and a TSA search notice

Lawsuit alleges negligence from TSA and demands $750,000 damages

Agents from the Transportation Security Administration allegedly ruined a son’s plan to fulfill his mother’s last wishes by spilling her ashes inside his luggage during an airport luggage screening.

Shannon Thomas , from Cleveland, Ohio, had flown from his home to Puerto Rico to spread his late mother’s ashes in the Caribbean Sea.

But when he opened his suitcase he found the urn carrying the remains had opened and spilled – and he also found a TSA notice saying they had searched the bag.

Mr Thomas, who is suing the TSA for negligence, causing emotional stress and the ‘outrageous’ treatment of human remains, alleges that the agency broke its own rules by opening the urn, then didn’t put the lid back on properly.

Court documents filed in Cleveland, and seen by the Cleveland Scene magazine, tell how Mr Thomas had bought a sturdy urn especially to withstand the journey.

They say he tested it extensively then padded it with clothing to ensure that it would stay safe during the journey.

But his preparations were ruined at some point during his two-part journey, which took him from Cleveland Hopkins Airport to San Juan, Puerto Rico, via Washington D.C.

Lawyers for Mr Thomas, who is seeking $750,000 from the government and the TSA, accuse agents of acting ‘negligently, carelessly and recklessly’ when they handled the urn, which made it to spill later in the flight.

They also say the TSA never made any effort to apologize to Mr Thomas.

They told how he suffered: ‘severe and persistent emotional distress and mental anguish when he saw that the urn had been opened and the remains of his mother spilled on his clothing and interior of his suitcase.’

Attorney Adeladi Williams writes in the papers that the TSA’s actions ‘constitute intentional and/or negligent infliction of emotional distress.’

He adds that: ‘The negligent, careless, and/or reckless acts and omissions of [the TSA] violated [Mr Thomas’s] right to inter the remains of his mother and constitute outrageous disturbance of human remains.

‘The laws of these United States do not tolerate such outrageous disturbance.’

TSA rules state that agents must never open urns with remains inside them, and that if they are suspicious about their contents they should bar them from the flight rather than try to open them themselves.

The TSA said it cannot comment on active court cases.


Spilled: This urn contained the ashes of Shannon Thomas’s mother – until it was spilled, allegedly after TSA agents handled it recklessly

Note: Mr Thomas claims this note is all the recognition the TSA ever gave him of their actions

Anguish: Mr Thomas was devastated to find the ashes, above, spilled all over his suitcase and clothes, despite his strenuous efforts to make sure the urn would survive the trip unscathed

Last wishes: Mr Thomas’s mother had requested that her ashes be scattered in the Caribbean

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