SCOTUS: Airlines Are Entitled to Immunity under the Aviation and Transportation Security Act Unless Statements Are Materially False

Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Air Wisconsin Airlines Corp. v. Hoeper, 571 U.S. ---, No. 12-315 (2014), holding that immunity for an air carrier under the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, 49 U.S.C. § 44941(b) (ATSA), may not be denied without a determination that a statement by the carrier was materially false. This pivotal decision is a victory for air carriers, giving airlines necessary "breathing space to report potential threats to security officials without fear of civil liability for a few inaptly chosen words."


ATSA directs that air carriers and their employees who have "information . . . about a threat to civil aviation shall provide the information promptly to the Transportation Security Administration." 49 U.S.C. § 44905(a). Failure to report can result in civil penalties. Id. § 46301(a)(1)(A). This policy has been aptly called "when in doubt, report." ATSA also provides air carriers with immunity from civil liability for disclosure of suspicious activity, provided that the air carrier does not report information that it knows to be false or misleading. 49 U.S.C. §§ 44941(a)-(b).

Please see full alert below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Morrison & Foerster LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


Morrison & Foerster LLP on:

Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.