Justia U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Aviation
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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment compelling arbitration of grievances raised by airlines in a dispute with the collective bargaining representatives of their pilots. The court held that the district court properly granted the employers' motion for summary judgment and to compel arbitration. The court held that the management grievances did not involve a major dispute; rejected the Union's argument that the case raised issues of representation that would fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the National Mediation Board; and held that the district court did not err in exercising jurisdiction over the dispute. The court also held that Atlas's motion to compel arbitration of its management grievance was timely. Finally, the court rejected the Union's three arguments with respect to the arbitrability of the employers' management grievances. In this case, Southern was entitled to file a management grievance with the Southern Board regarding the interpretation of Section 1.B.3 of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA); the district court correctly determined that it lacked authority to decide whether the merger provisions of the Atlas CBA were prompted by the announced operational merger of Atlas and Southern; and nothing in the process of interpreting the provisions of the two collective bargaining agreements purports to bind Atlas or Southern pilots to the terms of another existing CBA. View "Atlas Air, Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters" on Justia Law

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US Airways filed suit against Sabre, alleging violations of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, with respect to travel technology platforms provided by Sabre that are used in connection with the purchase and sale of tickets for US Airways flights. Sabre appealed the district court's denial of its post‐trial motion for judgment as a matter of law, or in the alternative a new trial, on Count 1 based largely in part on a recent Supreme Court decision, Ohio v. American Express Co., 138 S. Ct. 2274 (2018) (Amex II). US Airways cross-appealed, contending that Counts 2 and 3 of its complaint were erroneously dismissed. The Second Circuit held that the district court did not—as Amex II now requires in cases involving two‐sided transaction platforms like Sabre—instruct the jury that the relevant market must include both sides of the platform as a matter of law. Therefore, the court could not affirm the judgment of the district court based on the pre‐Amex II verdict of the jury. However, the court held, based on the evidence that was before the jury at the time it rendered its verdict, that under instructions consistent with Amex II, the jury could have rendered (not would have been required to render) a proper verdict in favor of US Airways on Count 1. The court also concluded that the district court correctly limited US Airwaysʹs damages following Sabreʹs motion for summary judgment, but was incorrect in its judgment to dismiss Counts 2 and 3 of US Airwaysʹs complaint. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "US Airways, Inc. v. Sabre Holdings Corp." on Justia Law

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Tweed, seeking to expand its primary runway, filed suit to invalidate a Connecticut statute that had limited the runway's length. As a preliminary matter, the Second Circuit held that Tweed had Article III standing because it established an injury in fact, the injury was caused by the Runway Statute, and a favorable decision will likely redress Tweed's fear of the statute's enforcement. The court joined the Fifth and Tenth Circuits in holding that a subdivision may sue its state under the Supremacy Clause. Therefore, Tweed, as a political subdivision of Connecticut, may bring suit against Connecticut. On the merits, the court held that the Runway Statute was preempted by the Federal Aviation Act where the Act's preemption applies to airport runways and the Runway Statute falls within the scope of that preemption. Furthermore, Congress intended the Act to occupy the entire field of air safety including runway length. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for entry of judgment in favor of Tweed. View "Tweed-New Haven Airport Authority v. Tong" on Justia Law

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The Aviation and Transportation Security Act, 49 U.S.C. 44935 note, commits the termination of the employment of TSA screeners to the unreviewable discretion of the TSA Administrator. The Second Circuit held that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to review the termination decisions pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 701(a). Therefore, the court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint in this case seeking judicial review of the employment termination of a screening officer employed by the TSA. View "Connors v. United States" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit claiming that American Airlines violated its obligation under the McCaskill‐Bond amendment to the Federal Aviation Act, 49 U.S.C. 42112 note, to provide for the integration of the American Airlines and U.S. Airways seniority lists “in a fair and equitable manner.” Plaintiffs also claimed principally that the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (“APFA”), the labor union representing American Airlines flight attendants, violated its duty of fair representation under the Railway Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. 151‐165, by failing to represent the former TWA flight attendants adequately during the creation of the integrated seniority list. The district court granted defendants' motions to dismiss. The court concluded that McCaskill‐Bond did not require American Airlines to reorder its own seniority list upon entering into a new merger in order to redress plaintiffs’ endtailing in 2001. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of plaintiffs’ claim against American Airlines under McCaskill‐Bond. The court also concluded that the union’s refusal to reorder the list, in accordance with its policy and the condition imposed by American Airlines, was not irrational or arbitrary; nor was the union’s decision to use the “length of service” rule to integrate the seniority lists unlawfully discriminatory in violation of the Railway Labor Act; and the amended complaint’s allegations do not raise an inference of “bad faith” on the part of APFA. The court considered plaintiffs' remaining arguments and concluded that they are without merit. The court affirmed the judgment. View "Flight Attendants in Reunion v. Am. Airlines, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against a group of airlines and security contractors seeking to recover losses after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Plaintiffs alleged that, because defendants were negligent in overseeing airport security systems, the terrorists were able to hijack American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 and to fly those planes into the Twin Towers. The district court entered judgment for defendants. The court agreed with the district court's conclusion that plaintiffs are entitled to compensation only for the amount of value that their leasehold interests lost due to the terrorist attacks, that they cannot recover their claimed consequential damages, and that, pursuant to CPLR 4545, their insurance recoveries correspond to, and offset, their potential tort award. The court also agreed that United had no duty to supervise the security checkpoints or detect the hijackers who boarded American Airlines Flight 11. However, the court concluded that the district court erred by using an incorrect methodology when calculating the value by which plaintiffs’ leasehold interests declined, and the district court wrongly decided that prejudgment interest accrues at the federal funds rate on the diminution in value of plaintiffs’ leasehold estates. The district court should have calculated prejudgment interest using New York’s statutory prejudgment interest rate, and assessed that interest based on the final damages award. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "World Trade Center Properties LLC v. American Airlines" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against JetBlue and its former employee, alleging federal and state law claims. Plaintiff's claims arose out of an encounter at JFK airport in which plaintiff was reported for making an alleged bomb threat and was then arrested by the FBI. Plaintiff had arrived at the gate after the boarding door was closed but her checked luggage was already on board. Unhappy with the situation, plaintiff made statements, or raised questions, about the possibility of a bomb in her luggage. The court agreed with the district court that defendants are immune from liability under the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, 49 U.S.C. 44941. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Baez v. JetBlue Airways Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Aviation
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Petitioners sought review of a letter written by the FAA to the City of New York which endorsed a series of recommendations made by a panel of experts regarding the impact of a proposed marine trash-transfer facility on safe airport operations at LaGuardia Airport. The court held that, because the letter was not a final order for purposes of 49 U.S.C. 46110(a), the court was without jurisdiction to review it and, therefore, dismissed the petition. View "Paskar v. USDOT" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs brought suit against numerous foreign airlines alleging a conspiracy to fix prices in violation of state antitrust, consumer protection, and unfair competition laws. The district court dismissed those claims as expressly preempted by federal law. The Federal Aviation Act, 49 U.S.C. 41713(b)(1), preempted state-law claims "related to a price, route, or service of an air carrier." The court concluded that "air carrier" in that provision applied to foreign air carriers and therefore, affirmed the judgment. View "In re Air Cargo Shipping Services Antitrust Litigation" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed from a judgment dismissing her disability-discrimination complaint against JetBlue. Plaintiff alleged that she required wheelchair assistance as a result of her disability and that JetBlue discriminated against her by failing to provide timely wheelchair assistance. The court affirmed the order of the district court because no private right of action existed for a violation of the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, 49 U.S.C. 41705, and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. 12181-12189, did not apply to services provided by an air carrier in an airport terminal used primarily to facilitate air transportation.