“Rules of Practice for Federally-Assisted Airport Enforcement Proceedings (Retrospective Regulatory Review)”
September 12, 2013. Final Rule.
“It improves efficiency by enabling parties to file submissions with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) electronically, and by incorporating modern business practices into how the FAA handles complaints. This amendment is necessary to reflect changes in applicable laws and regulations, and to apply lessons learned since the existing rules were implemented in 1996.” Continue reading
Executive Jet, LLC v. AirTran Airways, Inc., Case No. 3:10-CV-00710 (U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, May 22, 2013). Copy of court’s version of opinion available here.
No real legal development here. Law of bailment since Medieval times has required sole custody and control as precondition to finding a bailment relationship.
Why? Because the responsibility of bailee as more or less guarantor of property in its custody requires the ability commensurate with such a high standard of responsibility – i.e., the bailor intended that the bailee and only the bailee have custody and control of the bailed property.
Use of an arcane theory like bailment – at least arcane in the context of a fixed base operator towing an aircraft between the time when it is in owner / operator’s custody and control to point where it is in maintenance provider’s custody and control – is a substitute for either good forethought in contracting or taking the precaution to have one’s own personnel see to the aircraft’s safe delivery to the maintenance provider.
Complete inspector general report available here, and summary available here.
Note in particular the observations of JDA Blog’s Cynthia Schultz – Vice President in charge of the airports SMS practice at JDA Aviation Technology Solutions and former Boeing aeronautical engineer and Director of a city airport. Ms. Schultz express concern that the timing of this Inspector General report might well inflamed already-heated sequestration discussions and other debates surrounding this portion of the non-entitlement, “discretionary” FAA budget.
Paskar v. U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket No. 10-4612-ag, Slip copy (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, April 9, 2013). Free copy of opinion available here.
Announcement available here.
There is a substantial back-story to this announcement and I don’t pretend to know fully what it is. But the agency is definitely sending a signal that all similar operators need to take seriously.
At an American Bar Association conference at which I presented a few years ago the panel of four lawyers scheduled to follow my presentation consisted of 4 past heads of the Securities & Exchange Commission’s Division of Corporate Finance – the SEC unit that oversees the disclosure of important corporate information from securities issuers to the investing public.
In an informal moment with these 4 distinguished regulators who had served presidents during the past 30 years I asked: What is a regulatory agency’s single key to being taken seriously by those it regulates?
One of the 4 said: “A public hanging”. Hearty laughter and unanimous agreement followed.
Given the prominence of the “defendant” here, it would be wise for airport operators around the country to pay attention to this “public hanging”.
FAA announcement on website available here.
“The FAA is beginning the second phase of its general aviation (GA) study issued last spring, General Aviation Airports: A National Asset, to further define the role of GA airports. In the original study, the FAA captured the critical and diverse roles of the nation’s 2,952 general aviation airports, which resulted in four new categories — national, regional, local, and basic. However, while completing the study, the FAA learned that more than 497 airports did not clearly fit into any of the categories. Therefore, the agency committed to resume its work with airport sponsors, state aeronautic divisions, and industry to gather additional information on these airports. Continue reading
In two separate opinions issued the same day the court ruled as follows:
1. Based upon pleadings and undisputed facts before the court airport’s lack of a wildlife mitigation program could not be considered the proximate cause of the mid-air collision with birds that ultimately caused the Cessna Citation to crash.
2. Based upon pleadings and undisputed facts before the court there was “not a scintilla of evidence to show that [ATC personnel’s] radar display was not configured in the ‘correlated’ mode as is the standard operating procedure of the FAA”. Hence no showing of negligence in that connection.
3. “The type of radar equipment the FAA uses to provide air traffic control services to pilots, the mode in which the equipment is operated, the information displayed on the air traffic controller’s radar screen, and the training given to air traffic controllers regarding the use of the equipment clearly involve policy-based judgments that are of the type that the discretionary function exception to the FTCA was designed to shield from liability”.
Hartman v. United States, Slip copy, 2013 WL 501346 (U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, February 8, 2013). No free copy of opinion available at time of posting.
Hartman v. United States, Slip copy, 2013 WL 500973 (U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, February 8, 2013). No free copy of opinion available at time of posting.
“This notice announces the request for comments on the draft of FAA Order 5100-38D, Airport Improvement Program Handbook. When finalized, this Order will replace Order 5100-38C, Airport Improvement Program Handbook, issued on June 28, 2005. This update clarifies statutory requirements, including changes to the AIP statute from the recent FAA reauthorization.”
Note that FAA “Orders”, strictly speaking, are directed solely to FAA personnel. The agency here offers a draft of its new order for public comments since the order text will direct various non-FAA private personnel involved in public-use airports.
February 1, 2013, Invitation To Comment On Draft FAA Order 5100 38, Airport Improvement Program Handbook. Continue reading
Here employee of company that was ground services contractor at Sea-Tac Airport sued airport on theories of (1) premises liability, (2) Washington statute to protect employees from injuries, and (3) common law negligence. Airport moved for summary judgment. Motion denied on all three theories because of material fact dispute.
Put another way, no theory could be dismissed at this point as a matter of law because of material issues of fact.
Afoa v. Port of Seattle, 2013 WL 363192 (Supreme Court of the State of Washington, January 31, 2013). Free copy available here. Continue reading