Ventress v. Japan Airlines, No. 12-15066 (9th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed suit against JAL, alleging that JAL retaliated against him for reporting safety concerns and constructively terminated him for reasons related to his medical and mental fitness. At issue on appeal was whether the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 (FAA), 49 U.S.C. 40103 et seq., preempted plaintiff's state law claims. The court concluded that the FAA and accompanying regulations preempted plaintiff's retaliation and constructive termination claims. The court held that federal law preempted state law claims that encroached upon, supplemented, or altered the federally occupied field of aviation safety and presented an obstacle to the accomplishment of Congress's legislative goal to create a single, uniform, system of regulating that field. Further, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiff's motion for reconsideration where he conceded that the conduct giving rise to his claims occurred in U.S. airspace. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment in favor of JAL.