Superior Court Action Favors Town of Chatham and Airport Commission

Regarding Citizens for a Safe Chatham Airport Suit

Press Release from the Chatham Office of the Selectman/Town Manager (verbatim):

CHATHAM – On July 29, 2019 Barnstable Superior Court Justice Beverly J. Cannone issued an order allowing the Town’s Motion for Summary Judgement in the case of Citizen’s for A Safe Chatham Airport, Inc. (CFSCA) v Town of Chatham which terminates the case, in the Town’s favor, at the Superior Court level.

The suit against the Town, filed in November 2015 by Citizen’s for a Safe Chatham Airport, Inc., asserted that the Town's contracting of skydiving concessions at Chatham Municipal Airport constituted a nuisance under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act (MTCA). The Town raised the defense that the State court cannot rule on such claims because Federal laws governing the Federal Aviation Administration preempt State laws concerning aviation.

The Court determined, upon review of the legal arguments, that Federal law preempts the application of State law with respect to this activity under the principle of "conflict preemption" through which the MTCA claims against the Town for contracting skydiving concessions at the Airport "must give way to conflicting Federal law which requires the defendants to enter into such contracts."

The Town is pleased with this ruling and is hopeful that this matter may now be brought to a close, however, CFSCA may choose to appeal the decision to the Appeals Court within 30 days of the entry of Justice Cannone’s order.


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