Court frustrated with woman suing TSA over Burbank airport scuffle

The woman who got into a scuffle with security officers at Bob Hope Airport when they tried to confiscate a container of applesauce and other snacks has until Jan. 16 to condense her claim, otherwise, a frustrated judge may throw it out of U.S. District Court.

It will be the third time Nadine Hays has filed an amended complaint in her lawsuit stemming from the 2009 incident.

Her second amended complaint, in which she named more than 60 defendants — including the United States of America — was rejected by a U.S. District Court judge last month because it was too long and rambling.

In his decision to grant a request for a more definite statement from Hays, Judge Patrick Walsh stated that it had become clear Hays is “unwilling or unable to follow the rules and the court’s orders.”

After defense attorneys moved to dismiss her 125-page second amended complaint, Hays attempted to submit a 129-page substitute document.

Federal rules require “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”

If Hays does not file the complaint on time, Walsh said he will likely dismiss the case.

Walsh limited Hays’ next complaint to 25 pages — double spaced — and she must focus only on the April 16, 2009, incident at the airport and the arrest that followed.

In her last complaint, Hays alleged she was arrested 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.

Hays was arrested after she tried to bring a cooler containing snacks, milk and soda onto a plane for her elderly mother and got into a tussle with Transportation Security Administration officials who would not permit the items past the checkpoint.

The case, filed more than 18 months ago, has failed to get past the complaint stage because Hays’ actions “have prevented [it] from proceeding speedily or inexpensively,” Walsh stated.

He said the court has “bent over backwards” to provide Hays with guidance on rules and the law.

“These filings require defendants’ counsel and the court to devote needless hours trying to decipher them,” according to Walsh’s decision. “This court can no longer invest its time and energy into this case."


Follow Mark Kellam on Twitter: @LAMarkKellam

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