Articles Posted in Transportation Law

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Petitioners Jamie Webb, Jeffrey Hermanson, and Michaleen Jeronimus, challenged the legality of the City of Black Hawk’s ordinance banning bicycles on certain city streets. Petitioners, a group of bicyclists, were cited and fined for riding their bikes on the only street providing access through town from the state highway to Central City. Petitioners argued that Black Hawk, as a home-rule municipality, lacked the authority to prohibit bicycles on local streets absent a suitable alternative bicycle route as provided by state statute. Both the trial and district courts ruled in favor of Black Hawk, finding the city had the authority to ban bicycles through both its home-rule and police powers. Upon review, the Supreme Court reversed the district court, holding that Black Hawk’s ordinance banning bicycles was a matter of mixed state and local concern and conflicts with and is preempted by state law. View "Webb v. Black Hawk" on Justia Law

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Petitioner Air Wisconsin Airlines Corporation employed Respondent William Hoeper as a pilot. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued Respondent a firearm under the federal statute that authorizes the TSA to deputize pilots as law enforcement officers to defend the aircraft should the need arise. After discontinuing its use of the type of aircraft Respondent had piloted for many years, Air Wisconsin required Respondent to undertake training and pass a proficiency test for a new aircraft. Respondent failed three proficiency tests, knowing that if he failed a fourth test, he would be fired. During the last test, Respondent became angry with the test administrators because he believed they were deliberately sabotaging his testing. Test administrators reported Respondent's angry outbursts during testing to the TSA that Respondent was "a disgruntled employee (an FFDO [Federal Flight Deck Officer] who may be armed)" and was "concerned about the whereabouts of [Respondents] firearm." Respondent brought suit against Air Wisconsin in Colorado for defamation under Virginia law. Air Wisconsin argued it was immune from defamation suits as this under the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA), and unsuccessfully moved for summary judgment. The jury found clear and convincing evidence that statements made by the airline test administrator were defamatory. Air Wisconsin appealed and the court of appeals affirmed. The court of appeals determined that the question of whether the judge or jury decided immunity under the ATSA was a procedural issue determined by Colorado law, and concluded that the trial court properly allowed the jury to decide the immunity question. Air Wisconsin appealed. Upon review, the Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals, adding that the airline was not immune from suit or defamation under the ATSA. Furthermore, the Court held that the record supported the jury's finding of clear and convincing evidence of actual malice. View "Air Wisconsin Airlines Corp. v. Hoeper" on Justia Law