SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica City Attorney’s office indicated in a press release on Thursday, November 29 that the city was victorious in litigation connected to landing fees collected from aircraft operations who utilize the runway and taxiways at the Santa Monica Airport. The court also ruled regarding fuel flowage fees collection from the service providers who sell or dispense fuel or oil products at the airport.
“We are very pleased with the Court’s ruling, which properly rejects the plaintiffs’ challenges to landing and fuel fees at the airport and ends this needless litigation,” said Santa Monica City Attorney Lane Dilg.
In December 2015, plaintiffs Justice Aviation, Landau Music Group, Fredric Rosenthal, Ted Faber, Marco Astani, and the Korney Living Trust dated 6/12/1979 filed a complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court challenging Santa’ Monica’s landing fees and fuel flowage fees. The plaintiffs argued that the city did not properly publish ordinances authorizing the fees, that the fees exceeded constitutional limits established by Proposition 26, and that the city had punitively designed the fees to limit flight activity at the airport.
Following discovery and other early litigation proceedings, on November 19, 2018, the Court granted the motion for summary judgment and summary adjudication filed by the City Attorney’s Office. The Court found no questions of fact requiring a trial and ruled for the city of Santa Monica on each and every one of the claims at issue in the litigation.
The case, titled Justice Aviation Inc. et al. v. City of Santa Monica, Case No. BC 603327, was handled by Deputy City Attorney Ivan Campbell, with assistance from Scott Lewis at Anderson & Krieger LLP.
In June 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected a challenge brought by the National Business Aviation Association and others and upheld the Consent Decree that allowed Santa Monica to shorten the runway at the airport, which caused a reduction in jet aircraft operations by over 80 percent and provided the city the right to close the airport at the end of 2028.