According to the reports, the Supreme Court will hear a case regarding whether or not airlines will be protected from lawsuits that arise from reporting a false security threat. If the airline is not granted immunity, the ruling may have a negative effect on the airline industry’s willingness to report security measures, which could ultimately affect the safety of the nation’s airline passengers, including Ohio’s passengers. The current case involves Air Wisconsin Airlines, which alerted authorities about a passenger who might be a security threat after an earlier dispute.
The passenger was an employee who realized that he would be terminated after failing a string of flight tests. The man had engaged in an argument with his instructors just hours before he was to travel as a passenger. He has been trained to carry a firearm with him when he served as pilot, but officials did not know if he had a gun with him at the time.
The man won $1.4 million in a jury trial in front of the Colorado Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will decide if the law that created the Transportation Security Administration also covers airlines in cases of mistaken security concerns.
The International Air Transportation Association has argued that any security threat should be reported. However, the passenger argued that the airline had no reason to believe that he was carrying a firearm at the time of the incident or to believe that he was a national security threat.
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Source: USA Today, “Supreme Court to hear case about airline security threats“, Bart Jansen, June 17, 2013