The woman who clashed with security officers at Bob Hope Airport while trying to board a plane with applesauce and other snacks in April 2009 is struggling to keep a civil rights claim against the Transportation Security Administration from being tossed out of federal court.
Lacking formal legal training but acting as her own attorney, Nadine Hays hit another legal roadblock this month when a U.S. District Court magistrate rejected her attempts to file an amended complaint — her fourth in two years — alleging a conspiracy to tamper with video of the scuffle and conceal the identities of the TSA agents involved.
Hays, 61, argues that two women identified by the U.S. Attorney’s Office as the TSA agents who struggled with her while confiscating a cooler that contained food for her elderly mother are “impostors” planted to conceal discrepancies in the government’s case.
U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee dismissed claims against one of the women in February, and in July U.S Magistrate Judge Patrick J. Walsh recommended that Gee dismiss Hays’ claims against the other.
It is not clear when Gee will rule on whether to continue the suit.
“In this case, there have been many filings, but any judgments or orders of dismissal must be issued by Judge Gee, the district court judge,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Buck.
Hays, a Camarillo resident, was accused of striking a TSA agent while the two engaged in a tug-of-war over the cooler in April 2009, but a misdemeanor battery charge against her was dismissed by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge in October 2010.
On Nov. 29 of last year, Hays filed an unrelated federal civil rights complaint against the Los Angeles Police Department that claims officers harassed and falsely arrested her in April 2012 while she engaged in Occupy movement activities.
Hays was arrested outside a downtown bank building while engaging passersby with her “portable road show,” a wheeled cart containing a television and audio system powered by a gas generator, according to the document.
Officers “carried her like a sack of potatoes” into the back of a police car and detained but did not charge her, she wrote in her claim.
Hays, who participated in an Occupy rally in Michigan this week, said she began affiliating with the Occupy and Tea Party movements soon after her conflict with the TSA.
“All I was four years ago was a happy wife, mother and grandma. The incident at Burbank airport is what triggered [a change in] me,” she said.
Hays said she feels morally obligated to stand up to the TSA despite the toll the case has taken on her relationships with family members.
“I have cried buckets of tears over this and all I want is my family back,” she said. “I want them to know I’m not wacko.”
Follow Joe Piasecki on Twitter: @JoePiasecki.
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