Wallaesa v. FAA, No. 13-1222 (D.C. Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
After petitioner was charged with violating FAA regulations while on board a flight, including interfering with crewmember duties, the ALJ rejected petitioner's claim that a medical emergency caused his erratic behavior. The charges stemmed from petitioner's actions on the flight where he thought he was in love with another passenger and would not follow crewmember instructions to stop talking to her and leave her alone. The court rejected amicus's argument and concluded that it had no doubt that proscribing passenger interference with crewmember duties satisfies the “minimum nexus” to safety in flight required by Bargmann v. Helms; the FAA has authority to impose civil penalties on passengers under 49 U.S.C. 46301(a)(5)(A) where the term "individual" applies to the common sense understanding that the term refers to a natural person; the Agency did not improperly add omitted violations to the amended notice and thus petitioner did not receive inadequate notice of the violations; and the court rejected petitioner's arguments regarding the Administrator's determination that petitioner violated the Interference Rule and the Seatbelt Rules. Because the court found no merit in petitioner's challenges, the court denied the petition for review.