ACI-NA Weekly Legal Brief--Issue 9

                       ACI-NA’s Weekly Legal Briefing                  

Volume 2012, Issue 9

Week of April 16 – 20, 2012

Legal Affairs Committee Members:

Litigation of interest:

  • In an April 5th Preemption ruling of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, the court found that the Airline Deregulation Act and the Federal Aviation Act preempted state law tort claims for extended tarmac delay.

Plaintiffs asserted claims under New York state law against Defendant JetBlue Airways Corporation after certain JetBlue flights were diverted to Bradley International Airport on October 29, 2011 due to heavy winter storm conditions in the Northeast region of the United States.  Plaintiffs’ claims were predicated on the contention that JetBlue unlawfully and improperly confined Plaintiffs as passengers on the diverted aircrafts for a period in excess of seven (7) hours on the tarmac.  The Court found that the tort claims are expressly preempted by the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978,49 U.S.C. § 41713(b)(1), and because Congress has occupied the field of on-ground safety of airplanes and air passengers, the claims are impliedly preempted by the Federal Aviation Act, 49 U.S.C. §§40101 et seq.

View the court decision

  • An important US Supreme Court opinion issued earlier this week granted qualified immunity to a private attorney hired by a municipality.  (Just think of the number of outside counsel hired by airports).



Filarsky v. Delia, No. 10-1018

In an action under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 against defendants who included an attorney hired by a city for an internal affairs investigation of the plaintiff, alleging that the attorney's order to the plaintiff to produce building materials stored at the plaintiff's home violated his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, the U. S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit held that the district court’s ruling that the attorney was not entitled to seek qualified immunity was in error, and the appeals court reversed, reasoning that a private individual temporarily retained by the government to carry out its work is entitled to seek qualified immunity from suit under section 1983.


If you have comments on the FAA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning modifications to its Part 16 procedural rules, please send them to me by COB on Monday, April 23, 2012.  Comments are due to be filed at the FAA on May 4, and it would be helpful to have your comments prior to the Legal Conference in Charleston.

The weblink to the FAA's Notice is available at: 


Upcoming Conferences and Events

  • HOPE TO SEE YOU AT THE 2012 ACI-NA SPRING LEGAL AFFAIRS CONFERENCE, featuring sessions on Wednesday and Thursday from the theme: “The ABCs of RFPs and Airport Procurement---Lessons from those who’ve been there and back.” The Conference will take place from April 25-28, 2012 at the Double Tree Hotel, CharlestonSC. 
  • Print the following materials and bring them with you to Charleston!
    Click hereto view summaries of conference panel sessions.
    Click here to view the index to conference CD materials
    Click hereto view the speakers biographies.
    Click here to view the latest conference agenda.
  • For additional information or any last minute changes, visit the  website  for the Spring Legal Affairs Conference.



  • If you have questions for any of our federal regulatory speakers during the Spring Legal Conference, please forward them to me by COB MONDAY, April 23, so that they can be prepared to answer them in Charleston.
  • If you have questions for any of the panels scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday of the conference, please forward them to me by COB Monday, April 23, and the panelists will then be prepared to answer those questions, or can incorporate those issues in their presentations.

If you have information of interest to share, forward it to me by COB on Thursday of each week.

  Send it to:

Have a great weekend!


Monica R. Hargrove
General Counsel

Direct: (202) 861-8088