SANTA MONICA—On Monday, May 16, the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the city of Santa Monica against the Federal Aviation Administration in the city’s lawsuit over the use of land within the Santa Monica Airport. The ruling reverses the U.S. District Court’s decision and the case is headed back to District Court.
The lawsuit involves the right to control the use of the 227 acres of land that is currently occupied by the Santa Monica Airport.
“This good news brings us one step closer to regaining control of City land now occupied by the Santa Monica Airport, and to keeping our community healthy and safe,” said Mayor Tony Vazquez. “Now that the FAA’s statute of limitations argument has been thrown out, the case will finally go to trial on the merits of our claims. This is what we’ve pushed for all along, and we remain totally committed to establishing control of this land and using it in service to the whole community.”
The ruling comes two-and-a-half years into the case. The city of Santa Monica filed the suit in September 2013 and sought a judicial ruling to seize the rights of the land and its future use.
In February 2014, the District Court granted the federal government’s motion to dismiss the case based on its findings that the case was untimely and barred by the statute of limitations.
Based on this conclusion, the city of Santa Monica appealed the court’s decision. On the appeal, the city argued that the merits of the city’s lawsuit were “inextricably intertwined” with the statute of limitation issue. The result of Monday’s ruling demonstrated that the 9th Circuit panel agreed. The panel’s unanimous decision forces the case to go back to District Court where it will face trial.
The Santa Monica City Council has been adamant about the importance of this land and has garnered gaining control of the Santa Monica Airport as one of its top five strategic goals.
For more information on the city of Santa Monica vs. FAA, including Mondy’s ruling by the 9th Circuit Court, visit smgov.net.