What Is This Class Action Lawsuit About?
On January 5, 2018, Robert C. Taylor filed a Class Action Lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration on behalf of himself and all other similarly situated Model Aircraft hobbyists and recreationalists who were required to comply with the FAA’s allegedly unlawful Registration and Marking Requirements for Small Unmanned Aircraft (80 Fed. Reg. 78953) (the “Registration Rule”). The Class Action Complaint alleges violations of the Privacy Act, the Little Tucker Act, and the United States Constitution for the FAA’s failure to delete the personal identifying information of nearly 836,796 Model Aircraft hobbyists and recreationalists and for the FAA’s failure to refund their unlawfully collected registration fees.
What Does The Class Action Complaint Allege?
Pursuant to the Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Congress explicitly proscribed the FAA from “promulgat[ing] any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft.” In violation of this explicit prohibition, the FAA unlawfully promulgated the Registration Rule, which required all owners of Model Aircraft who operated their Model Aircraft for hobby or recreational purposes to register with the FAA. As a part of the registration process, registrants were required to disclose personal identifying information and pay a $5.00 registration fee.
On May 19, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the FAA’s Registration Rule, holding that the rule violated the FAA Modernization and Reform Act. In vacating the rule, the Court expressly opined that “statutory interpretation does not get much simpler.” Despite the Court’s ruling, the FAA did not delete the personal information unlawfully collected and retained nor did the FAA refund the unlawfully collected registration fees.
From December 21, 2015 through December 11, 2017, the Federal Aviation Administration expressly violated the mandates of Congress by unlawfully collecting and retaining personal information and registration fees from at least 836,796 Model Aircraft owners who their Model Aircraft for hobby or reactional purposes.
Who May Be Affected By This Lawsuit?
Presently, Mr. Taylor has filed suit on behalf of himself and other similarly situated Model Aircraft hobbyists. As a part of his lawsuit, Mr. Taylor requests that the court certify a nationwide class of:
- All owners of Model Aircraft who registered with the FAA for hobby or recreational purposes from December 21, 2015 through December 11, 2017.
The court has not yet granted this request and no class of plaintiffs has been certified to date.
What Damages Does The Lawsuit Seek?
The Class Action Lawsuit seeks $1,000.00 in statutory damages for each Model Aircraft hobbyist or recreationalist, totaling $836,796,000, as well as the return of the $5.00 registration fees, which totals an additional $4,183,980 in damages.
Where Can I Find A Copy Of The Class Action Complaint?
A copy of the Class Action Complaint can be found here.
How Can I Participate In This Lawsuit?*
If you are interested in participating in this lawsuit or have questions, please go to this section of the website.
*Please note that participation in the lawsuit and/or attorney representation is not guaranteed.