In four recent cases, Administrator v. Alvarez, Administrator v. Mason, Administrator v. McGrimley, and Administrator v. Wozniak, the airmen’s appeals were dismissed for failing to file within the time allowed by the 49 C.F.R. Part 821 – Rules of Practice in Air Safety Proceedings. In Alvarez, Mason and Wozniak, the airmen failed to file their appeal briefs within 30 days after a written decision as required by Rule 821.48. In McGrimley, the airman failed to his notice of appeal within 2 days after the oral initial decision or written order, and also failed to file his appeal brief within 5 days after the notice of appeal, as required by Rules 821.57(a) and (b) applicable to emergency proceedings.
Under 49 C.F.R. 800.24(j), the NTSB General Counsel may dismiss late filed notices of appeal and appeal briefs for lack of good cause. And it is important to keep in mind that the “good cause” standard is exceptionally difficult to satisfy. In each of these cases, not only did the airmen fail file by the deadline, but they also failed to show good cause for the untimely filings. As a result, their appeals were dismissed. An unfortunate result for the airmen, although not surprising.
Word to the wise. When you are involved in an FAA enforcement action that is appealed to the NTSB, deadlines matter! Make sure your filings are timely to ensure you have your day in court.