In Administrator v. Brantley, the airman filed his appeal 14 days after service of the administrative law judge’s decision, 4 days late. In his response to the FAA’s motion to dismiss, the airman argued that he had good cause for the untimely filing based upon the Florida hurricanes in September, 2004, the resuling closure of government offices and his allegedly living in an evacuation zone.
Unfortunately for the airman, the NTSB didn’t buy his arguments. The record showed that the airman signed for the certified letter containing the ALJ’s decision on September 18, 2004, six days before his appeal was due. The Board then reviewed data from the Federal Emergency Management Administration and observed that “during the six days within which he should have filed his appeal (September 18 to 24, 2004) there was no hurricane activity in or near Florida.” The Board also rejected the airman’s argument regarding closure of government offices given that the post office was open when the airman signed for the letter and when he mailed his appeal.
This isn’t to say that the Board would reject such arguments as representing good cause for delay in filing an appeal. In fact, the Board stated that “[w]e are not unsympathetic to respondents in Florida whose ability to take timely action has been hampered by post office closures or other hurricane-related difficulties. However, this respondent does not appear to fall into that category of respondents.” Unfortunately for the airman in this case, the actual facts did not support his arguments. His appeal was thus dismissed as untimely without good cause for his late filing.