Kumar was 19 years old and in his first year in the Aviation Technology Program at Bowling Green State University when he was assigned to fly alone from Wood County Airport near Bowling Green to Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, and back, after 10:00 p.m. The flight plan required him to fly over part of Lake Erie. On the return trip, Kumar observed what he believed to be a flare rising from a boat. He reported this sighting to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and was instructed to fly lower for a closer look. Kumar could not then see a boat. Fearful of hurting his chances of one day becoming a Coast Guard pilot, he reported that he saw additional flares and described a 25-foot fishing vessel with four people aboard wearing life jackets with strobe lights activated. Kumar’s report prompted a massive search and rescue mission by the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Canadian Armed Forces. A month later, Kumar admitted that his report had been false. He pleaded guilty to making a false distress call, a class D felony per 14 U.S.C. 88(c)(1), which imposes liability for all costs the Coast Guard incurs. He was sentenced to a prison term of three months and ordered to pay restitution of $277,257.70 to the Coast Guard, and $211,750.00 to the Canadian Armed Forces. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. View "United States v. Kumar" on Justia Law
Posted in: Admiralty & Maritime Law, Aviation, Criminal Law, U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, White Collar Crime
In 2008, Washburn was seriously injured when the door of an airplane hangar, T-hangar 12, blew off and hit her in the face and torso during a storm at an airpark owned by Lawrence County and operated by Attitude Aviation. Watson had leased T-hangar 12 for more than 20 years at the time of the accident; his lease made him responsible for the condition of the hangar. Attitude was never included in any of the hangar lease negotiations or lease renewals. Rejecting Washburn’s suit on summary judgment, the district court held that the County and Attitude owed no duty of care to Washburn because they had no control over the hangar. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. View "Washburn v. Lawrence Cnty. Bd. of Comm'rs" on Justia Law
Crouch was piloting his Piper Lance II single-engine airplane with Hudson as passenger. After losing engine power at an altitude of 5000 feet, and finding it impossible to reach an airport, Crouch made a forced landing in a field near Bardstown. The plane’s engine was manufactured in 1978 and overhauled in 2005, with installation of a rebuilt magneto that allegedly detached, causing the crash. Both occupants survived but suffered serious permanent injuries, including paraplegia. The district court dismissed, on summary judgment, their allegations that the aircraft engine manufacturer was liable for negligently failing to warn airplane owners and operators, and failing to notify regulatory authorities, of defects in the engine and its components, finding that the allegations failed to make out a claim in avoidance of the applicable period of repose under the General Aviation Revitalization Act, 49 U.S.C. 40101. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. Plaintiffs did not show or even allege that a revised overhaul manual contained a substantive alteration that caused harm and the evidence did not support a theory that defendants withheld information. View "Crouch v. Honeywell Int'l, Inc." on Justia Law
The owners bought property in 1995 and live there with their daughter. It is under the flight paths of runways of the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. In 2002, the owners filed a class-action mandamus action, seeking to compel the city to initiate appropriation proceedings, claiming that the level and frequency of flights so interfered with their use and enjoyment that the property had been taken for public use without just compensation. The state court dismissed. They tried again in 2008, citing expansion projects. The city removed the case to federal district court, which dismissed with prejudice. The Sixth Circuit reversed and remanded. The district court erred in applying res judicata; the claims based upon the 2004 and 2007 expansions could not have been raised in the 2002 Action and are premised on a new transaction or occurrence distinct from the subject matter of the 2002 Action.
Posted in: Aviation, Real Estate & Property Law, U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Zoning, Planning & Land Use
In 1993, the FAA decided to privatize all Level I air traffic control towers. About 1500 controllers were forced to leave the field, be trained to operate higher level towers, or secure employment with the private contractors. Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76 prohibits the federal government from performing an activity that could be performed for less cost by the private sector. Before privatizing a function, an agency must determine whether that function is inherently governmental or commercial. A governmental function must be performed by government employees. The district court first dismissed, but, on remand, instructed the FAA to undergo Circular A-76 analysis. The FAA continued to privatize towers and controllers again brought suit. The district court again remanded to the FAA for analysis, but refused to terminate private contracts already in place. The court later granted the FAA partial summary judgment, based on a 2003 amendment to 49 U.S.C. 47124, indicating that work in Level I towers is not an inherently governmental function, then dismissed remaining claims for lack of standing. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. Every tower privatized in the 1993 program fit within the section 47124(b)(3) mandate.
Posted in: Aviation, Government Contracts, Labor & Employment Law, Transportation Law, U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals