Recent Court Decisions Regarding Aviation and Airport Development Law

Here are a few court  decisions that have come down recently regarding aviation and airport development law:

  1. Nadal v. FAA, Case No. 08-9509 (10th Cir., April 30, 2008).  Petitioner sought review of a NTSB order affirming the forty-day suspension of his pilot certificate.  The court concluded that his petition for review was not timely filed and he did not show reasonable grounds for the failure, so it dismiss the petition for lack of jurisdiction.
  2. Clark County v. FAA, Case No. 06-1377 (D.C. Cir., April 18, 2008).  County petitioned for review of FAA’s decision that a proposed windfarm would not obstruct airspace near the proposed Ivanpah Valley airport by interfering with radar systems at the new airport.  The court held that the FAA did not have sufficient evidence in the record to support its conclusion in its order and therefore did not satisfy the reasoned decionsmaking requirement.  To the contrary, the court pointed out that the only evidence in the record supported conclusion that the windfarm turbines would exceed the FAA’s obstruction standards and would interfere with radar systems at the new airport.
  3. BMI Salvage Corp. v. FAA, Case No. 07-12058 (11th Cir., April 8, 2008).  Tenant and sublessee filed complaint alleging that airport unjustly discriminated against it in violation of the airport’s grant assurances by awarding long-term development leases to other tenants, but not to it.  The court held that there was insufficient evidence in the FAA’s record to support a finding that differences between aircraft demolition business and aircraft repair business justified airport’s disparate treatment and that there was insufficient evidence to support FAA’s finding that aeronautical service providers were not “similarly situated.”
  4. St. John’s United Church of Christ v. FAA, Case No. 06-1386 (D.C. Cir., March 21, 2008).  FAA gave the City of Chicago a grant under the Airport Improvement Project for Chicago’s expansion of O’Hare airport.  A group of villages and other entities in the surrounding area petitioned for review of the FAA’s grant.  The court held that the petitioners lacked standing to challenge the grant, since they failed to show that the grant had caused their injuries or that the court redress any injuries that they might incur, since the the federal money played a “minor role.”
  5. R/T 182, LLC v. FAA, Case no. 07-3678 (6th Cir., March 11, 2008).  The owner of an airplane appealed the decision of the FAA that allowed a local airport to charge maintenance fee for based aircraft, but did not charge the fee to transient users.  The court decided that there was substantial evidence to support the FAA’s determination that airport’s based-users were not similarly situated to transient users and that since the process resulting in the FAA’s order was adjudicatory in nature, it was not subject to notice -and-comment procedures under the Administrative Procedures Act.
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