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Victory for mom who sued TSA over breast milk screening

A local mom who sued the TSA after a disagreement over breast milk screening has won a tentative legal settlement.
April 22, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Transportation Security Administration has agreed to pay $75,000 to settle a lawsuit with a Hermosa Beach mother who sued the agency after a disagreement over breast milk at a security checkpoint.

The settlement will be finalized next month. As part of the agreement, TSA screeners will have to be retrained on how to deal with mothers traveling with breast milk.

Surveillance video from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport shows Stacey Armato, 34, arriving at a TSA checkpoint with two containers of breast milk. Armato didn't want the milk to be X-rayed, so she asked for an alternate screening. She says that touched off a 40-minute ordeal at the hands of several TSA agents.

"I was told right off the bat that the milk had to go through either X-ray or to be thrown in the trash," said Armato.

Armato had just given birth to a baby boy when the surveillance video was shot back in January 2010.

"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,'" said Armato.

She says she didn't want her milk X-rayed out of an abundance of caution.

"I put a lot of time into eating organic, drinking lots of water, staying in shape. Why would I then send my milk through the X-ray?" said Armato.

But rather than accommodate her request as per policy, Armato says she was harassed by TSA agents and forced to stand in a holding area.

"I was there for quite some time, built up a lot of anxiety. I could see the manager and supervisor standing just feet away and I broke down in tears after probably 30 minutes of waiting," said Armato.

Armato filed a complaint against the TSA and then filed a federal lawsuit against the agency. Armato says it was never about the money.

"Hopefully it makes it a little bit easier for my fellow mommy friends that travel in the U.S.," said Armato.

The TSA will not comment on the lawsuit.


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