Man Seeks $500k for Airport Security Injury

Joel Mombrea says his life changed after cutting his foot on a piece of glass.

ByABC News
December 15, 2009, 3:57 PM

Dec. 16, 2009— -- A Florida man is suing the U.S. government for $500,000 because he cut his foot on a piece of glass after removing his shoes at an airport security checkpoint two years ago.

Joel Mombrea, 50, claims that he sustained severe nerve damage and has been unable to do his job as a custom closet builder ever since. The stress over the injury, he said, has led him to bankruptcy and to a separation with his wife.

"It's a simple accident, but an accident that caused me a lot of pain and problems. It was something that really wasn't my fault," Mombrea told ABC News. "This incident pretty much destroyed my life. It sounds like a simple cut on the foot but the damage that it caused and the things that changed in my life because of it, personally I don't think $500,000 is enough. I lost my marriage and I can't do to the work that I love to do."

His wife, Ora Mombrea, is seeking, in the suit filed last week, $100,000 in damages because she "was deprived of the services, society, consortium and companionship of her spouse."

Stay Up to Date on the Latest Travel Trends from ABC News on Twitter

In the meantime, Mombrea says in court papers he filed in July for personal bankruptcy in Florida. He had $94,444 in credit card and business debts and owed $310,909 on a mortgage on his house which is now valued at $285,770.

Mombrea says it all started on Dec. 10, 2007 when Mombrea, a former resident of Buffalo, N.Y., was flying from upstate New York back to his home in Cooper City, Fla., north of Miami. He had been in town to see a game between the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins. (Despite his upbringing, Mombrea said he's now a Dolphins fan.)

Like other travelers, Mombrea was asked by the Transportation Security Administration to remove his shoes at the checkpoint. A gold chain in his carry-on bag raised some concerns with the X-ray screener and the TSA agents asked to do a further inspection.