Nursing mom wins $75K settlement from TSA over airport incident
Posted Apr 24, 2014 7:15 AM CDT
By Martha Neil
A California woman who says airport security screeners working for the federal Transportation Security Administration violated the agency's own rules and prevented her from traveling with pumped breast milk has won an agreement to settle the case for $75,000, her lawyer says.
Stacey Armato, a lawyer who was traveling in 2010 with her infant son, was eventually allowed to proceed from Phoenix to Los Angeles without either discarding her breast milk or having it X-rayed. However, that was only after Armato was put in a glass holding area by TSA agents for 40 minutes, police were called and she missed her scheduled flight, according to CBS5, the New York Daily News and Reuters.
The incident was captured on security camera footage.
Initially, when Armato brought up the TSA's policy of providing alternative screening for pumped breast milk, she was told, "'Well, it is not going to apply today. Dump out your breast milk or send it through X-ray'," her lawyer, Robert Mosier, told Reuters.
"I ask him to read the rules. He does. It says 'breast milk is to be alternately screened.' He just looked at me and said, 'Well, not today,'" Armato herself told KABC.
"I put a lot of time into eating organic, drinking lots of water, staying in shape," she added. "Why would I then send my milk through the X-ray?"
Armato sued over the incident in 2012, filing suit in federal court in Phoenix, Ariz. As part of the settlement, the TSA will clarify its procedures, train personnel and provide online guidance to nursing mothers, Mosier said.
Armato said her suit wasn't about the money and hopes the settlement will make it easier for other mothers to travel. She plans to use the money to pay her legal fees and donate the rest to a breastfeeding advocacy group, according to CBS5 and KABC.
The TSA didn't respond to requests for comment.