Defense Claim #1 claimed that "plaintiffs acquiring their homes after 1980 are precluded from seeking damages from the City based on noise claims." 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 being misled. Having 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.
Ten regulations below show why the defense must dispel with the implementation of this federal statute in cases involving airport runway noise.
1) Federal Statue 47506 can be found in the U. S. Code: Title 49. Transportation. It is preceded by regulation 49 U. S. C. section 41713 b) (1) which states:
Preemption of authority over prices, routes, and service
"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."
Section 41713 makes the use of Section 47506 in small claims court null and void, bowing to airport proprietors' legal responsibilities.
49 U. S. C. section 47527 states: "The U. S. Court of Federal Claims has exclusive jurisdiction of a civil action under this section."
The 1978 Airline Deregulation Act limited FAA preemption to rates, routes, and services.
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
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) The FAA statute applies only to residents inside the airport's noise exposure map that's been submitted to the FAA.
7) "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
8) 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."
The Superior Court of California - County of San Mateo
then "suing a government agency"
10) 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."
11) Extensive research strongly suggests there is NO RECORD of federal statute 47506 having been used in a small claims case in the United States.
12) There is no record of federal statute 47506 being applied in California Superior Court or California Supreme Court.
13) Federal statute 47506 has been legitimately used in Washington and
Each case involved the federal government; applying this federal statute was legal.
Admasu v. Port of Seattle
City of Atlanta v. Watson
14) 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 4, 2020.