Chicago’s Patrick Byrnes and Matthew Kalas, both lawyers in Locke Lord's Litigation Department and members of the Aviation & Defense Group, provided commentary surrounding the decision in Singer v. City of Newton, a first-of-its-kind finding that portions of a local ordinance regulating the operation of drones is preempted by federal law.
Byrnes noted: “I expect we will see additional litigation popping up in other jurisdictions asserting challenges to regulations similar to those found by the District Court to be preempted. This may also place additional pressure on Congress to enact legislation expressly affording state and local governments a say in regulating UAS operations.”
Kalas said: “If Newton doesn’t appeal, redrafting this legislation to avoid another conflict with FAA regulations might be a challenge given the Court’s analysis. This case demonstrates the fascinating, and arguably still unresolved, intersection of the federal law empowering the FAA to regulate the safe operation of aircraft (including drones) in the National Air Space and the concomitant privacy rights of private landowners within the traditional realm of state lawmaking.”
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