The Pilot’s Bill of Rights, a Big Step Forward for Certificate Holders

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On August 3rd 2012, Public Law 112-153, known as the Pilot’s Bill of Rights was signed into law. The Pilot’s Bill of Rights applies to all cases before the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) involving reviews of actions of the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration 
that deny airman medical and other airman certification under 49 U.S.C. § 44703, or amend, 
modify, suspend or revoke airman certificates under 49 U.S.C. § 44709.

Prior to the enactment of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights, the NTSB’s Rules of Practice, under 49 C.F.R. § 821.19(c) provided that “[t]hose portions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that pertain to depositions and discovery may be used as a general guide for discovery practice before the Board, where appropriate. The Federal Rules and the case law that construes them shall be considered by the Board as instructive, rather than controlling.” Under the old rules the use of traditional discovery tools such as interrogatories (written questions to be answered by the Administrator) requests for production of documents and depositions of witnesses was not guaranteed. Therefore, a certificate holder facing an action brought by the NTSB was never assured that all evidence pertinent to his or her defense could be uncovered for use by his or her attorneys to defend the action. Additionally, the Federal Rules of evidence did not control the fairness of hearings and appeals.

The newly enacted PBR now dictates that the well established Federal rules pertaining to pre-hearing discovery and evidence presented during hearings and appeals will control to the extent extent practicable. This broadens the nature and extent by which the attorney for a certificate holder can unearth evidence that may assist in the preparation of the case and places limits on the arbitrary and unfair use of documents and evidence during a hearing or appeal.

The aviation attorneys of Barnett Law Offices, cut their teeth and honed their litigation skills in courtrooms and are well versed in the practical application of the Federal Rules of discovery and the Federal Rules of Evidence and now can use this experience to the benefit of all certificate holders in all cases before the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) involving reviews of actions of the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration that deny airman medical and other airman certification under 49 U.S.C. § 44703, or amend, modify, suspend or revoke airman certificates under 49 U.S.C. § 44709.

 

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Aviation attorneys at the Barnett Law Offices, deliver outstanding legal services, listen to your needs and goals, and keep you informed. If you would like to talk with one of our aviation attorneys, please call us at (800) 578-5512 or write to us using our contact form.