A Cleveland, Ohio, man has filed a lawsuit against the Transportation Security Administration after agents spilled his deceased mother’s ashes into his bag during a search, ultimately ruining his mother’s final wishes.
Shannon Thomas was flying to Puerto Rico to spread his late mother’s ashes in the Caribbean Sea, as per her wishes, but he was shocked to discover that the previously sealed urn had been opened and spilled into his bag. Next to the spilled ashes was a note from the TSA informing him that they had searched his luggage.
Thomas’ lawsuit against the TSA states that agents, “Negligently, carelessly, and recklessly replaced the lid of the urn, placed a bag inspection notice in Plaintiff's suitcase and sent the bag on its way. This action caused the urn to open and spilled the remains of Plaintiff's mother on the inside of Plaintiff's suitcase and on Plaintiff's personal effects.”
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Reports suggest that the TSA broke their own rule by opening the urn in the first place, and by carelessly putting the lid back on, the agents caused the ashes to spill all over Thomas’ bag. Thomas is now suing the TSA and the government for $750,000 because, as the lawsuit states, 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.”
Despite the negligence lawsuit against them, the TSA has reportedly failed to even apologize to Thomas for the incident, which happened nearly two years ago. The Daily Mail points out that TSA policies state that agents must never open an urn with human remains and that if they decide that something seems suspicious, they are supposed to simply ban it from the flight.