Court Finds that TSA Must Revisit its Decision in American Airlines Security Lawsuit

Court Finds that TSA Must Revisit its Decision in American Airlines Security Lawsuit

A federal appeals court in Washington, D. C. ruled on yesterday that the TSA must review its decision and explain its denial of a request for reimbursement of almost $30 million in airport security upgrades from American Airlines.

Following the September 11 incident, Congress enacted legislation requiring enhanced baggage screening systems at commercial airports.  American developed such a system at New York’s JFK airport in 2002, and, at TSA’s insistence, implemented a more costly system that it initially imposed.  American sought reimbursement from TSA for the system, and that request was reviewed by the agency, and ultimately denied the request in a letter issued in December of 2010, based on limited funding available and a need to prioritize ongoing security risks.  American then petitioned the U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for a review of TSA’s denial of its reimbursement request.

The Court of Appeals’ ruling stated, in part, “[b]ecause TSA either has failed to base its reimbursement decision on the prioritization list mandated in 49 U.S.C. Section 44923 or has failed to create a suitable prioritization list in the first place, we grant the petition and remand to TSA for further proceedings.”

TSA must now revisit its prior decision and explain its basis.