Defense claim:   "Plaintiffs acquiring their homes after 1980 are precluded from seeking damages from the City based on noise claims."  
Sources: 1) Informal hearing brief of defendant, CCSF, p. 9, May 21, 2019
              2) Appellant, CCSF's trial Brief, Hearing January 7, 202

              3) Defendant, CCSF's brief, hearing January 21, 2020.  


Despite clear regulations stipulating there is no federal preemption for airport proprietors when the issue involves local airport noise, the defense shielded themselves with federal statute 47506.

Over 40 plaintiffs in our first two rounds of small claims court appearances may have been denied their rightful compensation of thousands of dollars as a result of the court being misled.

H
aving no reason to believe that the defense wrongfully used a federal statute, most of those 40+ chose to not continue with filing claims, indicating they believed the defense's contention that they had to have owned their home before 1980. 
 
Below are rulings that make it clear. No federal laws may be applied in small claims court.
                                  1) Federal Statue 47506 that the defense has claimed is 
                               in the U. S. Code: Title 49: Transportation.
 
                               49 U. S. C. section  41713 b) (1) comes before statute 47506.
                               which states
                      "This subsection does not limit a political subdivision of a state...that owns or operates an airport..from carrying out its proprietary powers and rights."
In other words, the United States Code was explicit about airport owners, such as the City and County of San Francisco, which must carry out its duty and take responsibility for runway noise. Not the SOURCE of the noise, but the noise itself. CCSF cannot shield itself behind a federal statute. 
The 1978 Airline Deregulation Act limited FAA preemption to rates, routes, and services. Those are the areas that the FAA controls. Runway noise is NOT preempted.
                            2) 1979 - The California Supreme Court ruled that federal 
                                preemption does not bar a nuisance action against a city-
                                owned airport for personal injuries sustained as a result of
                                noise from aircraft using the facility. It also found that                                                           preemption does not bar plaintiffs' claims.
                                       
                  Greater Westchester Homeowners' Association v. City of Los Angeles
                  26 Cal.3d 86.    603 P.2d 1329      160 Cal. Rptr. 733    
                             
                            3) The Judicial Branch of the Court of California is charged                                                       with interpreting the laws of the State of California. The
                                head of the Judicial Branch is the Chief Justice of
                                California. Under the Judicial Branch, the courts of                                                               California offer legal information and resources to people via online "chat rooms" as well as brick-and-mortar sites. We found Sonoma County's courts website "Ask a Law Librarian" to be particularly helpful.
                  (sonoma.courts.ca.gov; self-help center; ask a law librarian)
When we typed "Can the defense use a federal statute in small claims court?", the law librarian responded "In general, if the small claims court is handling a state issue, federal statutes would not apply or be binding on the small claims court, even if the party presents the statute in its arguments to the court.
"The source of this statement is my summary of jurisdiction of courts in the United States at federal and state levels."         LawLibrarian107
askalibrarian@oclc.org
Date: 12:34 2020/05/12
Question ID: 15448053
                         
                          4) Limited Jurisdiction in Small Claims Court

 

                         Limited Jurisdiction means that a court has restrictions on the

                         cases it can decide. Small Claims court is a court of limited

                         jurisdiction. It can only hear and decide cases that claim damages

of $10,000 or less. (Ed. Note: Suits in federal courts must involve cases claiming compensation of more than  $10,000.)   The judge must follow the jurisdictional limits in these cases.

                         5) California Code of Civil Procedure

 

                            "The small claims court has jurisdiction in an action brought by a

                            natural person, if the amount of the demand doesn’t exceed $10,000.."                                               

                                                                
                         6)   "Note: You cannot sue the federal government in state court.                                                 You can only sue the federal government or a federal                                                             agency in federal court."
                          There are limits to the legal authority of each court to hear                                                   and decide a case. For a court to be able to decide a case, it                                                 has to have jurisdiction..."Limited jurisdiction means that a court has restrictions on the cases it can decide. Small claims court is a court of limited jurisdiction. It can only hear and decide cases that claim damages of $10,000 or less."
                              From California Courts, the Judicial Branch of California
                             Jurisdiction and Venue: Where to File a Case
 
        7) Jurisdiction of Small Claims Court
"Small claims courts only exist at the state level. Federal courts have jurisdiction over all matters involving federal law, and they can only exercise diversity jurisdiction over questions of state law if the amount-in-controversy is $75,000 or more. This is much higher than the  maximum amount in any state's small claims court."
                                                        Justia.com
                             
                          8) The Superior Court of California - County of San Mateo
                                                                                            
                          https://www.sanmateocourt.org/self_help/small_claims_                                                     common_cases.php, then "suing a government agency"
 
 
                                   
                                  
                                    9)  43816    Federal Register, Vol. 65, No. 136/ Friday, July 14,
                                         2000/Notices

 

                                      "Congress  expressly provided that the proprietary powers

                                      and rights of municipal airport owners are not preempted by Federal law, 49 U. S. C. 41713 (section 105 of the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978).  

Thus, the task of protecting the local population from airport noise has fallen to the agency, usually the local government, that owns and operates the airport."

 

      10) There does not appear to be a record of federal statute 47506 being applied

             in California Superior Court or California Supreme Court.

      11) Federal statute 47506 has been legitimately used in Washington and

            Georgia. Each case involved the federal government; applying this federal

            statute was legal.

                                        Admasu v. Port of Seattle

                                        City of Atlanta v. Watson

           

      12) There is no result when the term "federal statute" (or similar) is searched in the following sites:

 

California Code of Civil Procedure. 

         
~ 2018 California Code of Civil Procedure, Chapter 5.5 Small Claims Court, Art. 2:
~ Sections 116.210 through Sections 116.270 do not turn up "Federal" when searched.
~ Section 416.50 contains most California statues that govern the filing and litigation
   of lawsuits in the Superior Courts of California
 

~ California Rules of Court

~ California Judges Benchbook Small Claims and Consumer Law 2019

~ California Judges Benchguides Small Claims Court (revised 2009)

~ California Department of Consumer Affairs (small claims)

~ Public Entities Civil Code

 

 

 

updated October 12, 2021  sallymeakin@yahoo.com