Posts Tagged ‘airlines’

TSA agents mostly can’t be sued

The Third Circuit has ruled that TSA (Transportation Security Administration) screeners are largely immune from being sued for overly intrusive handling of travelers’ persons, false imprisonment, and similar offenses. “The majority said it was ‘sympathetic’ to concerns that its decision would leave fliers with ‘very limited legal redress'” for abuse, but said its hands were tied by the terms of the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA); TSA screeners, it said, were shielded from liability because they were not “investigative or law enforcement officers” but more akin to — and I am not making this up — federal meat inspectors. [Jonathan Stempel, Reuters; Fredrick Kunkle, Washington Post (meat inspector reference; court “acknowledged that as a result, passengers have very limited legal options even in the face of outrageous TSA misconduct.”); Pellegrino v. TSA]

June 13 roundup

  • Put a Plimsoll line on a T-shirt and you might hear from trademark lawyers [Cyrus Farivar, ArsTechnica]
  • “Do Landlords Have a Duty to Evict Drug-Using Tenants (or Face Liability if Guests Die When Using Drugs with Them)?” [Eugene Volokh]
  • Interview with Judge Jeffrey Sutton about his new book on state constitutions, “51 Imperfect Solutions: States and the Making of American Constitutional Law” [Ilya Somin, parts one and two] Federalist Society teleforum with Judge Sutton, Randy Barnett, and Judge William Pryor;
  • “American Airlines bans insects, hedgehogs and goats as emotional support animals” [CNNMoney/WQAD] Peacocks begone: “JetBlue Updates Requirements for Emotional Support Animals” [press release]
  • Gov. Hogan vs. teachers’ unions, pension mandate, a socialist for MoCo County Executive?, and more in my latest Maryland roundup [Free State Notes]
  • “A Devastated Puerto Rico Must Still Contend with the Jones Act” [Cato Podcast with Colin Grabow and Caleb Brown, earlier]

Delta: no more free-for-all on service animals

Following a series of safety incidents that included the mauling of a passenger last year by a 70-pound dog, Delta Air Lines has tightening its onboard policies on emotional support and other service animals, requiring additional documentation of their role and training and excluding some species altogether, including “‘farm poultry,’ hedgehogs and anything with tusks.” [Karin Brulliard, Washington Post/PennLive; earlier here, here, etc.] The carrier said there had been “a 150 percent increase in the number of service and support animals carried onboard since 2015.” [Alana Wise/Reuters] Employers are bracing for a rising number of demands to let employees bring service animals with them into the workplace, with the likes of the EEOC litigating in support [Patrick Dorrian, BNA/Bloomberg, earlier] And New York has joined a number of other states in passing a law against service animal fraud. [Kevin Fritz and John Egan, Seyfarth Shaw]

October 25 roundup

March 29 roundup

  • “SEAT Act: Top Senators Sponsoring Bill to Outlaw Low Cost Carriers, Raise Airfares” [Gary Leff, View from the Wing]
  • “Trump’s Safe and Sane ‘Regulatory Reform’ Idea” [Cass Sunstein/Bloomberg, earlier Sunstein on Trump regulatory initiatives]
  • Changing law and economics shape street protest [Tyler Cowen] Arizona’s bad idea on protestors involves racketeering charges, forfeiture, and more [Coyote]
  • “Rights And Reality: Georgia Cop Jails Ex-Wife For Facebook Gripe” [Ken White, Popehat]
  • “Opponents of same-sex marriage cynically…manufacture[d] a baseless controversy in the Texas Supreme Court” to attack City of Houston’s spousal benefits, but as the Hon. Jerry Smith of the Fifth Circuit had already stated in persuasive guidance, Obergefell “is the law of the land.” [Mark Pulliam, Law and Liberty; a second view from Josh Blackman]
  • Idea making some headway: adapting use of class action and similar aggregate litigation procedures to administrative adjudication [Sergio Campos, Jotwell]

Disabled rights roundup

  • Wall Street Journal covers surge in web accessibility suits [Sara Randazzo, WSJ] State and local governments comment on federal proposals for public sector web accessibility;
  • “Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III lawsuits are up 63 percent over 2015, according to law firm Seyfarth Shaw.” [Insurance Journal]
  • “Drive-by” ADA suits in Austin, Tex.: “Lawyer sanctioned $175,000 for phony email, offensive comments” [Ryan Autullo, Austin American-Statesman] Arizona mass-filing attorney responds to professional conduct complaint [East Valley Tribune, earlier]
  • “Airlines seek to limit types of therapy animals allowed on planes” [L.A. Times]
  • “Fired for being (twice) intoxicated on the job, a mechanic for the D.C.-area transit authority undergoes treatment, applies for his job back. But his bosses refuse, allegedly because of his alcoholism. An ADA violation? Indeed, says the D.C. Circuit.” [Alexander v. WMATA as summarized on John Ross, Short Circuits]
  • Department of Justice unveils ADA regulation requiring movie theaters to offer captioning and audio description [Federal Register]

Public employment roundup

  • Union representing Seattle school cafeteria workers threatens church for giving free pizza to students [Shift WA, KOMO]
  • Portland: “Police chief, police union urge officers not to attend citizen review panel hearings” [Oregonian] “The Most Inappropriate Comment from A Police Union Yet?” [Kate Levine, PrawfsBlawg; Tamir Rice case, Cleveland] “Maryland’s Police Union Rejects ‘Any and All’ Reforms” [Anthony Fisher, Reason back in January]
  • On-the-job porn habit got Wheaton, Ill. cop fired, but if he nabs psychiatric disability, he’ll draw 65% of $87K+ salary with no income tax [Chicago Tribune]
  • “Why TSA Lines Have Gotten So Much Longer” [Gary Leff, View from the Wing; Robert Poole, WSJ]
  • Unions are biggest beneficiaries of Congress’s transit subsidy spigot. Time to apply terms and conditions [Steven Malanga]
  • “HUD Can’t Fire Anyone Without Criminal Charges, Even Interns” [Luke Rosiak, Daily Caller] “Here’s Why It’s All But Impossible To Fire A Fed” [Kathryn Watson, Daily Caller]

Flight attendant: my religion entitles me to avoid serving liquor

New at Politico Europe, my piece on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint by a Muslim flight attendant, covered here last week, who doesn’t want to serve alcohol (“scruples about screwpulls”) and what, if anything, it has in common with the Kim Davis case. (As a direct legal matter, not much.) I reference the EEOC v. Star Transport case:

Here’s the thing: The EEOC has already sided with Muslim employees who wish to avoid handling alcohol….If Charee Stanley or a future counterpart someday wins the right to bob and weave through the passenger cabin, handing out only beverages that meet with her spiritual approval, she’ll have this record of Congressional posturing to thank.

Surprisingly or otherwise, the pressure for federal law to become more indulgent toward private employees’ demands for religious accommodation — thus turning cases like Stanley’s into more likely winners — has come both from liberal lawmakers like John Kerry and Hillary Clinton and from conservatives like Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal.

Related: “No one should have to choose between their career and religion,” proclaimed Stanley’s lawyer. Really? No one? Ever? [Andrew Stuttaford, Secular Right] My Cato colleague Ilya Shapiro on why West Coast florist Barronelle Stutzman is far more deserving of martyr status than Kim Davis (my two cents, leading to GoFundMe “campaign not found”). And dear #kimdavis meme-slingers: be advised that Dallas judges are under no legal obligation to do weddings [Taylor Millard, Hot Air]

Workplace religious accommodation, cont’d

A Muslim flight attendant has filed an EEOC complaint against ExpressJet; among her allegations are that the company has not adequately accommodated her desire not to serve alcohol to patrons, even though she says an arrangement under which she handed off that task to colleagues had previously proved workable [CBS Detroit] Eugene Volokh has a lengthy explainer on workplace religious accommodation, and argues that Kim Davis would have had a more colorable legal case had her lawyers filed under Kentucky’s state Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). And at Cato’s Constitution Day on September 17 I’ll be discussing my forthcoming piece on EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch, the hijab-accommodation case.