Court Mandate Regarding Registration

Posted 3 July 2017

An update from John Taylor:

The court issued its "mandate" regarding its earlier registration ruling today.

The issuance of the mandate makes official the court's finding that the registry was unlawful, and that the Registration Rule, to the extent it applies to model aircraft, is vacated.

Since the court's May 19 ruling, the FAA has presumably been considering its options. It now time for the FAA to act - to delete the data and return the millions of dollars it obtained unlawfully from hobbyists under threat of imprisonment.

The timing of the decision, issued just as Congress was considering FAA reauthorization, was unfortunate. As a result of ongoing hysteria, it appears Congress may be poised to provide the FAA with the authority it currently lacks to register model aircraft as part of that legislation.

The registry makes no more sense now than it did when I filed suit in 2015. To date, I am unaware of anyone being held accountable through the registry, which was never anything more than a political feel-good measure.

The FAA’s former Chief Counsel and Deputy Administrator described the registry as “An ill-considered rule … issued in response to political pressure to highly publicized drone incidents.” (http://bit.ly/2scyoxp).

No American has ever been seriously injured by a hobby drone, and none of the many reports of drone collisions investigated by the FAA proved to actually involve drones. (http://bit.ly/2pIM6mS)

While the FAA notes an increase in pilot drone sightings (http://bit.ly/2pIM6mS), UFO sightings exceeded drone sightings during that same period in 2016 – by a factor of three (http://bit.ly/2pIXPTh).

Even if the FAA's unlawful registry is made legal, I certainly won't regret pursuing the case, and am grateful to the people who supported me. I believe it will remain significant. It has sent a message to the FAA that it will be held accountable for its actions. The FAA knows now that it can no longer ignore the law and run roughshod over hobbyists in the mistake belief that we are have no recourse.

As an attorney, I was shocked that an agency would so blatantly ignore a clear statutory prohibition. It was important to me to stand up for the rule of law regardless of the ultimate outcome.

Court Decision in Taylor v. FAA

Posted 19 May 2017

Today, the court decided in favor of John's petition; and ruled the registration rule void for model aircraft (i.e. drones used recreationally). To learn more, please read the articles and documents linked below.

Reply Brief Filed

Posted 14 May 2017

John Taylor had filed the Reply Brief for the second case - challenging the Part 101 reg, and application of part 107 to recreational use.

Based on the registration case, it will probably be approximately seven months before its heard.

Oral Arguments Heard Today; Disbursement Notification

Posted 14 March 2017

Oral Argument in the cases regarding registration and the D.C. flight zones took place before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on March 14, 2017.

Audio of the arguments is located here: http://bit.ly/2n7eFNo

Absent intervening events, a decision is likely to come down in the late summer, based on the timing of other cases in that court.

Though it is impossible to predict an outcome, questions from the bench suggest the judges may accept that the registration regulation is a violation of Sec. 336.

A big hurdle in challenging the D.C. flight zones has always been timing. The FAA did not widely announce the imposition of the 30 mile flight zone until after the time for filing a Petition challenging it had expired. Questions and comments from the court focused on that issue.

Recently, John submitted an expense account and was reimbursed $3,546.92 from funds contributed as part of this effort.

Those expenses consisted of:

  • $2,400.00 - Court filing fees
  • $805.17 - Brief printing/binding
  • $120.10 - Online docket access
  • $98.99 - Copies
  • $72.15 - Office supplies
  • $50.51 - Postage/FedEx

Scheduled for Oral Argument 3/14/17

Posted 13 January 2017

John's cases challenging the registration regulation and the D.C. flight restrictions have been scheduled for oral argument on 3/14/17. Here is a link to the scheduling order.

While there is no deadline, written opinions are typically issued by the court three to four months after oral argument.

John has filed a separate petition challenging the FAA's authority to apply Part 107 commercial regulations to recreational model aircraft that do not fall under the Sec. 336 prohibitions. That petition is expected to follow a separate track.

Reply Brief Filed

Posted 19 August 2016

John filed his reply brief on August 18, 2016. While the court may rule without oral argument, the D.C. Circuit typically conducts oral argument in its cases. Based solely on the timing and progress of other cases in that court, a decision might be expected near the end of the year.

Mentioned in Forbes

Posted 19 June 2016

See this article by John Goglia in Forbes about John Taylor's recently filed brief.

Taylor v. FAA Brief Filed

Posted 14 June 2016

John Taylor has filed his brief. The FAA's response is due 7/21/16. John's reply is due 8/4/16. After that, they'll schedule oral argument.

Here are links to related filings:
Addendum Regarding Standing
Petitioner's Exhibits
Addendum of Statutes & Regulations
Joint Appendix

Briefing Scheduled

Posted 6 May 2016

The Court has recently scheduled this matter for briefing. John's brief is due 6/14/16. The FAA's brief is due 7/21/16, and John's reply brief is due 8/4/16. Oral argument will be scheduled at least 45 days later. In doing so, the court denied the Motion for Summary Disposition, stating simply, "The merits of the parties' positions are not so clear as to warrant summary action."

Still going!

Posted 23 April 2016

An online media outlet recently reported that John's case was dismissed. That report is incorrect. A similar suit by an organization known as TechFreedom, which was consolidated with John's case, was dismissed. John's case is currently in the hands of the court for ruling on his pending Motion for Summary Disposition and/or setting a briefing schedule.

FAA Deadline Passed

Posted 9 March 2016

FAA's deadline for filing a motion to dismiss Taylor’s case has passed. They did not file anything. This clears the way for the court to schedule the case for briefing and rule on Taylor’s Motion for Summary Disposition.

TechFreedom filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss its case.

FAA opposition

Posted 26 February 2016

The FAA filed an opposition to Taylor’s Motion for Summary Disposition on 2/8/16. The FAA’s Opposition raised no unanticipated arguments. John Taylor filed a reply on 2/10/16, and the motion has been ripe for ruling since that date. While such summary motions are rarely granted, we are encouraged that the court has held the motion this long for consideration.

The FAA’s deadline for filing a motion to dismiss Taylor’s case is March 7, 2016. If no such motion is filed, or if it is ruled upon in Taylor’s favor, the court will presumably establish a briefing schedule.

Motion for Summary Disposition Filed

Posted 26 January 2016

On January 26, 2016, John Taylor filed a Motion for Summary Disposition. The motion argues that the violation of Sec. 336 is so blatant that the case does not require extensive briefing, which would allow continuing harm to occur. These types of motions are rarely granted, especially where the case presents new legal issues. However, it is the only opportunity to achieve a relatively quick disposition in a process that may otherwise take many months. The FAA’s response is currently due on February 8, 2016.

The motion (pdf) and exhibits (pdf) are posted.

Initial Fundraising Goal Reached!

Posted 24 January 2016

We are pleased to announce that thanks to your donations, we have reached our initial goal of $5,000! We will continue to update this page, and the About page, with any new information about the case (so far, just the consolidated case from John Taylor's three filed cases), any disbursement of funds, and any new legal actions the fund has decided to support.

We are still accepting donations in this ongoing endeavor. With enough support, we will be able to expand the scope of this effort, such as hiring additional legal help for the current case, and potentially supporting other important cases. For example, there are several legal efforts such as the David Boggs case which several people have brought our attention to.

Please stay warm, and contact us if you have any questions.

Two Additional Actions

Posted 22 January 2016

Thank you for your support so far. We have almost reached our goal of $5,000! Here is a short update:

With the support of DUG, two additional actions have been filed and consolidated with the original case. The first challenges the application of broad aircraft "no fly zones" to recreational model aircraft. The second relates to the FAA formation of the original "Task Force" that recommended registration of recreational model aircraft. These actions have been consolidated by the Court. Initial filings are due February 22, 2016 and no briefing schedule has been set.

Registration Case Update

Posted 14 January 2016

Thank you for your donations so far! In this section of the site we'll continue to post updates about the status of the case(s) as they progress. Here’s an update about the registration case:

Some informational filings describing the case are due on January 27, 2016. After that, the Court will set a briefing schedule. The case is handled on the record, like an appeal of trial court decision. The parties will brief the issues on a schedule that the Court will determine, after which there will be oral argument and ultimately a decision by the Court. The time frame for that has yet to be determined.

New Web Site for the Fund

Posted 11 January 2016

We relocated the site to improve our ability to provide updates, expand the scope of the fundraiser in the future, and (by popular demand) allow for the ability to accept PayPal donations. The donations collected from the previous Generosity.com campaign are still part of the Drone Legal Fund in entirety. Thank you for your support and we hope to provide more updates as they become available!