Second Circuit joins Federal Aviation Administration's pre-emption camp


In Goodspeed Airport LLC v East Haddam Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Commission(1) the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit made clear what it had hinted at two years ago in a similar decision: the federal government has field preemption over state regulation of air safety. While the Second Circuit used Goodspeed Airport as the platform to rule that the federal government preempts the field of aviation safety, the actual facts in Goodspeed Airport did not support an ultimate holding of federal pre-emption. The Second Circuit was clearly waiting for an opportunity to join its sister circuits on this federal field pre-emption issue and decided to use Goodspeed Airport for that purpose.

At the outset of the decision, the Second Circuit laid out its goal. After a brief, two sentence summary of the facts, the court stated...

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