Articles Posted in Aviation

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Plaintiffs leased part of Love Field airport from the City of Dallas and constructed a six-gate airline terminal. Plaintiffs claim that the Wright Amendment Reform Act of 2006 (WARA), 120 Stat. 2011, effected a regulatory taking of their leases and a physical taking of the terminal because the statute codified a private agreement in which Dallas agreed to bar the use of plaintiffs’ gates for commercial air transit and to acquire and demolish plaintiffs’ terminal. The Claims Court found that WARA's enactment constituted a per se regulatory taking of plaintiffs’ leaseholds under Supreme Court precedent, Lucas, and a regulatory taking of the leaseholds under Penn Central, and a physical taking of the terminal. The Federal Circuit reversed. Noting the history of regulation of Love Field and limitations in place before WARA, the court stated there can be no regulatory taking because plaintiffs cannot demonstrate that their ability to use their property for commercial air passenger service pre-WARA had any value. Plaintiffs’ reasonable, investment-backed expectations are limited by the regulatory regime in place when they acquired the leases. Rejecting a claim of physical taking the court reasoned that a requirement that federal funds not be used for removal of plaintiffs’ gates explicitly distances the federal government from Dallas’ intended action. View "Love Terminal Partners, L.P. v. United States" on Justia Law

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In 2003 Federal Air Marshals were told of a potential hijacking plot. Soon after that, the Agency sent an unencrypted text message to the Marshals’ cell phones temporarily cancelling missions on flights from Las Vegas. Marshal MacLean became concerned that this created a danger. He unsuccessfully complained to his supervisor and to the Inspector General, then spoke to an MSNBC reporter. MSNBC published an article, and the Agency withdrew the directive after members of Congress joined the criticism. In 2004, MacLean appeared on NBC Nightly News in disguise to criticize Agency dress code, which he believed allowed Marshals to be easily identified. During the subsequent investigation, MacLean admitted that he revealed the cancellation directive. MacLean was removed from his position for unauthorized disclosure of sensitive security information (SSI). Although the Agency had not initially labeled the message as SSI, it subsequently ordered that its content was SSI. The Ninth Circuit rejected MacLean’s challenge to the order. MacLean then challenged termination of his employment, arguing he had engaged in protected whistleblowing activity. An ALJ and the Merit Systems Protection Board concluded that the disclosure was specifically prohibited by 5 U.S.C. 2302(b)(8)(A) and that unauthorized disclosure of SSI was a non-retaliatory reason for removal. The Federal Circuit vacated and remanded, finding that the Board incorrectly interpreted the Whistleblower Protection Act. View "MacLean v. Dep't of Homeland Sec." on Justia Law