A man is suing the Transportation Security Administration because he says that TSA agents opened up a sealed urn and spilled his mother’s ashen remains into his suitcase.

On Friday, October 5, 2012, Mr. Shannon Thomas made a scheduled airline trip from Cleveland to Puerto Rico, with an intermediate stop in Washington, D.C. The Ohio man was making the trip to fulfill his deceased mother’s wishes of spreading her cremated ashes into the Caribbean Sea.

Mr. Thomas alleges that prior to making the trip, he purchased a “very heavy and sturdy” urn, placed his mother’s ashes inside, and diligently ensured that the urn was sealed. He even “applied force” and “repeatedly tested” the urn to ensure that it was sealed, according to his complaint. He then packed the urn in his suitcase, carefully surrounding it with clothing.

The bereaved man alleged that after handing his suitcase off to the baggage check station at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, TSA agents “detained, opened, and inspected” his luggage and opened it up. During the warrantless search, federal agents unpacked his things, unscrewed the urn, and “negligently, carelessly, and recklessly replaced the lid,” then repacked it, the lawsuit states.

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