Bob Hope Airport applesauce case gets messier

A woman who tussled with Bob Hope Airport security officers over a container of applesauce for her elderly mother seems poised to draw the ire of another federal official — this time a U.S. District Court judge.

Nadine Hays was arrested in 2009 after she refused to give up an ice chest containing the snack to Transportation Security Adminstration officials. Criminal charges stemming from that incident were dropped in October 2010, after Hays reported six months of good behavior.

[For the Record, Oct. 24: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that TSA agents arrested Nadine Hays. She was actually arrested by airport police officers.]

In April 2011, she filed a federal civil rights lawsuit. In its amendments and iterations, the suit has named dozens of defendants.

Despite an admonishment from U.S. District Court Judge Patrick Walsh that her “kitchen sink” approach was inappropriate, her latest amended complaint includes more than 60 defendants, even listing the United States itself, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the head of that agency, Janet Napolitano.

Walsh has granted Hays numerous extensions in the matter, noting he was not inclined to give another one.

In her latest complaint, Hays alleges she was arrested in the 2009 incident based on a falsified citizen’s arrest form and tampered evidence, including a surveillance tape that she claims was altered.

They are the same allegations she made in an earlier complaint, which was dismissed in May.

In a related development, a lawsuit filed by Hays in Superior Court against Tonya Aikens, who signed the citizen’s arrest form, was recently transferred to Walsh’s court.

Hays alleged in her complaint that Aikens wasn’t at the scene at the time of the incident. While reports state that Hays got into a tug-of-war with Aikens over an ice chest that contained the applesauce, Hays says another TSA agent was involved in the scuffle.

The transfer notice states that the Superior Court case arose from the same event and would “entail substantial duplication of labor if heard by different judges.”

Attorneys representing the TSA urged Walsh to dismiss the case “because [Hays] has failed to follow multiple orders issued by the court even after being expressly warned that noncompliance could lead to dismissal,” according to court records.

In the 2009 incident, Hays was charged with misdemeanor battery after she allegedly made a fist and struck a TSA agent's hand as she tried to take the ice chest from her during a security check at Terminal B.

Hays has said the ice chest contained her 93-year-old mother's applesauce, cheese and milk, which were needed because of her mother’s medical condition.

Hays has denied striking the agent.

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