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Weiland v. American Airlines, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

March 2, 2015

HENRY J. WEILAND, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
AMERICAN AIRLINES, INC., Defendant-Appellee

Argued and Submitted, Pasadena, California: February 2, 2015.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. James V. Selna, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. 8:10-cv-01451-JVS-SS.

SUMMARY[*]

Federal Aviation Administration

The panel affirmed the district court's dismissal of airline pilot Henry Weiland's action against American Airlines, holding that Weiland, who turned 60 six days before the Federal Aviation Administration's Age 60 Rule was abrogated by the Fair Treatment for Experienced Pilots Act (" FTEPA" ), did not qualify for one of the Act's exceptions to non-retroactivity.

The FAA's Age 60 Rule required air carriers operating under 14 C.F.R. § 121.1(a) to cease scheduling pilots from operating aircraft when they turned 60. The FTEPA abrogated the Age 60 Rule, delaying the age at which pilots must cease flying from 60 to 65, and was explicitly non-retroactive with two exceptions.

The panel held that Weiland did not qualify for the FTEPA's 49 U.S.C. § 44729(e)(1)(A)'s exception because although he was employed by an air carrier, he was not employed " in such operations" and was not a " required flight deck member." The panel concluded that because Weiland did not qualify for an exception to the FTEPA's non-retroactivity, its abrogation of the Age 60 Rule was inapplicable to Weiland; and American acted " in conformance" with both the Age 60 Rule and the FTEPA when each was in effect, thereby immunizing American from any civil liability.

Judge Reinhardt dissented because he would hold that Weiland qualified for the exception in § 44729(e)(1)(A).

John S. Lopatto III (argued), Law Offices, Washington, D.C.; Richard A. Voll, Law Offices, Ridgewood, New Jersey, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Robert Jon Hendricks (argued) and Larry M. Lawrence, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Los Angeles, California; Donald L. Havermann, and David R. Broderdorf, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Washington, D.C., for Defendant-Appellee.

Before: Stephen Reinhardt and Ronald M. Gould, Circuit Judges, and J. Frederick Motz, Senior District Judge. Opinion by Judge Motz; Dissent by Judge Reinhardt.

OPINION

Page 1113

MOTZ, Senior District Judge:

This case involves a difficult question of statutory construction that may currently apply only to a class of one. Although somewhat uncomfortable with the conclusion we reach, we hold that Plaintiff Henry Weiland, who turned 60 six days before the FAA's Age 60 Rule was abrogated by the Fair Treatment for Experienced Pilots Act (" FTEPA" ), does not qualify for one of the FTEPA's exceptions to ...


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