Justia Transportation Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals
Manufacturers Railway Co. v. STB, et al.
Manufacturers obtained authorization from the Board to discontinue service over its entire system but the Board did not apply its entire-system exception. Instead, the Board required Manufacturers to pay dismissal allowances to its dismissed employees. The court concluded that the Board did not reasonably explain and justify the departure from its longstanding entire-system exception. Therefore, the court found that the Board's decision was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedures Act, 5 U.S.C. 500 et seq. Accordingly, the court granted the petition for review, vacated the Board's decision, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Manufacturers Railway Co. v. STB, et al." on Justia Law
Republic Airline Inc. v. U.S. Dept. of Transportation
Republic challenged an order of the DOT withdrawing two Republic "slot exemptions" at Reagan National and reallocating those exemptions to Sun Country. "Slots" were take-off and landing rights. In both an informal letter to Republic and a final order, DOT held that Republic's parent company engaged in an impermissible slot-exemption transfer with Midwest. In so holding, DOT summarily dismissed Republic's argument that, under DOT and Federal Aviation Administration precedent, the Republic-Midwest slot-exemption transfer was permissible because it was ancillary to Republic Holdings' acquisition of Midwest. The court held that because DOT had departed from its precedent without adequate explanation, its decision could not survive arbitrary and capricious review. Accordingly, the court granted Republic's petition for review and vacated DOT's order. View "Republic Airline Inc. v. U.S. Dept. of Transportation" on Justia Law
Air Transport Assoc. of America v. Nat’l Mediation Bd.
This case involved the Railway Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. 152, which provided that "the majority of any craft or class of employees shall have the right to determine who shall be the representative of the craft or class." For 75 years, the Board had counted non-voters as voting against union representation, thereby requiring a majority of eligible voters to affirmatively vote for representation before a union could be certified. In 2010, the Board issued a new rule that elections would be decided by a majority of votes cast, and those not voting would be understood as acquiescing to the outcome of the election. Appellants challenged the new rule, claiming that it violated the statute and was arbitrary and capricious. The district court rejected these arguments and granted summary judgment to the Board. Upon review, the court agreed with the district court and affirmed the judgment. View "Air Transport Assoc. of America v. Nat'l Mediation Bd." on Justia Law
Electronic Privacy Info. Center, et al. v. Dept. of Homeland Security, et al.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and two individuals petitioned for review of a decision by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to screen airline passengers by using advanced imaging technology (AIT) instead of magnetometers. EPIC argued that the use of AIT violated various federal statutes and the Fourth Amendment and, in any event, should have been the subject of notice-and-comment rulemaking before being adopted. The court granted the petition for review with respect to claims that the TSA had not justified its failure to initiate notice-and-comment rulemaking before announcing it would use AIT scanners for primary screening at airports. None of the exceptions urged by the TSA justified its failure to give notice of and receive comment upon such a rule, which was legislative and not merely interpretive, procedural, or a general statement of policy. The court denied the petition with respect to EPIC's statutory arguments and their claim under the Fourth Amendment, except their claim under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000bb et seq., which the court dismissed for lack of standing. Finally, due to the obvious need for the TSA to continue its airport security operations without interruption, the court remanded the rule to the TSA but did not vacate it. View "Electronic Privacy Info. Center, et al. v. Dept. of Homeland Security, et al." on Justia Law
Southwest Airlines Co. v. Transp. Sec. Admin.
Southwest Airlines Co. and 18 other airlines alleged that the TSA's determination of their year 2000 costs was arbitrary and capricious for purposes of the Administrative Procedures Act, 5 U.S.C. 500 et seq. At issue was whether the TSA should have relied on the Simat, Helliesen & Eichner, Inc. report (SH&E report) commissioned by the TSA or, at least, should have more fully explained why it rejected the conclusions of the Campbell Aviation Consultants report (Campbell report) submitted by the airlines. The court held that the TSA's determination was not arbitrary or capricious when the TSA chose the SH&E report with good reason where it sent a letter to each airline stating that it had thoroughly reviewed the Campbell report and concluded that the report was insufficient due to its limited data and broad, simplistic methodologies and the letter also explained SH&E's more extensive methodology. The court also discussed and disposed of the three other arguments the airlines raised. Accordingly, the court denied the airlines' petitions for review. View "Southwest Airlines Co. v. Transp. Sec. Admin." on Justia Law
Nat’l Maritime Safety Assoc. v. OSHA
NMSA, a trade association representing marine terminal operators, petitioned for review of OSHA's vertical tandem lifts ("VTLs") Standard. At issue was whether OSHA failed to demonstrate that VTLs posed a significant risk of worker safety; whether two of the Standard's requirements were not technologically feasible; whether the Standard was not reasonably necessary or appropriate in light of the "safe work zone" requirement; whether OSHA's authority was limited to requiring, not prohibiting, workplace practices; and if the Standard was otherwise valid, whether the Occupational Safety and Health Act ("Act"), 29 U.S.C. 651-678, had made an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to OSHA. The court denied NMSA's petition for review in large part, granted the petition in part, vacating and remanding only that portion of the VTL Standard providing for the inspection requirement for ship-to-shore VTLs and the total ban on platform container VTLs. View "Nat'l Maritime Safety Assoc. v. OSHA" on Justia Law
American Bus Assoc. v. Rogoff, et al.
Plaintiffs, two national trade associations representing the private charter bus industry, challenged Senator Patty Murray's amendment to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-117, 172, related to charter bus services, alleging that the amendment ensured that the Federal Transit Act, 49 U.S.C. 5323(d)(1) ("Charter Rule"), could not spend appropriated funds to enforce the Charter Rule to bar King County Metro ("KCM") from providing bus service to Seattle Mariners games in Fiscal Year 2010. At issue was whether Congress could constitutionally permit a federally-subsidized transit system to take the residents of Seattle out to the ball game. The court held that Congress could and that the amendment was not unconstitutional where it did not violate plaintiffs' First Amendment right to petition, Fifth Amendment right to equal protection, procedural due process rights under the Fifth Amendment, or separation of powers principles. Accordingly, the judgment of the district court was reversed. View "American Bus Assoc. v. Rogoff, et al." on Justia Law
Newton Dickson v. NTSB, et al
Petitioner applied for a first-class airman medical certificate pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 44703 and, after a period of evaluation, a Federal Aviation Administration ("FAA") Federal Air Surgeon issued a denial based on the conclusion that petitioner did not meet the medical standards set out in the relevant regulations. At issue was whether the National Transportation Safety Board's ("NTSB") affirmance of the denial of petitioner's medical certificate was supported by substantial evidence. The court affirmed the NTSB's decision and held that the petition for review was denied where there was no doubt that the FAA's submissions provided substantial evidence for the denial and where petitioner failed to show that it was unreasonable for the NTSB to credit the FAA's evidence over his own.