Robert Taylor vs The FAA
In May of 2017, John Taylor made headlines when he took on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and won. Taylor, a model aircraft hobbyist from the D.C., area, wanted to operate his model aircraft without registering or complying with the new FAA flight restrictions. He felt that the FAA had the statutory authority to issue the Registration Rule and filed petitions to challenge. The U.S. Courts of Appeal agreed with Taylor, arguing that that the drone registration database violates 2012’s FAA Modernization and Reform Act.
It’s important to note that in December 2017 the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 was passed restoring the registration rules.
Now John’s brother, Robert Taylor, is taking on the FAA and Michael Huerta with a four-count class action lawsuit involving at least 836,796 members.
- Count I: Violation Of The Privacy Act Of 1974, 5.U.S.C.A. § 552a
- Count II: Violation Of The Little Tucker Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1346
- Count III: Constitutional Violation
- Count IV: Unjust Enrichment
Taylor argued that the FAA continued to collect both personal information and registration fees. The FAA also failed to delete the personal information in the drone registry and did not refund their registration fees. According to drone attorney, Jonathan Rupprecht, “The FAA maintained the personal information of the individuals when the FAA lacked statutory authority, made clear by the Taylor v. Huerta case, and thus violated the Privacy Act. Because the FAA acted intentionally or willfully, each injured party is entitled to $1,000 in statutory damages”.
Taylor argued that under the Little Tucker Act when the government took money from individuals that were in violation of a statute, the FAA’s sovereign immunity was waived. Rupprecht explains that it’s “the same thing being alleged in another class action against the FAA, Reichert v. FAA, regarding the FAA illegally taking the $5 during registration. They want everyone’s $5 back”.
Taylor argued that the Class had the right not to be subject to the requirements of the Registration Rule, and to be free from civil and criminal penalties for their failure to comply with a regulation from December 21, 2015, to December 11, 2017, which was declared unlawful by a court of competent jurisdiction. The FAA violated Constitutional and privacy rights by unlawfully promulgating the Registration Rule, and enforcing the Registration Rule without any statutory authority to do so.
Taylor argued that the FAA unlawfully retained personal information and collected over $4,183,980 in registration fees, which is in violation of the law.
Taylor is seeking restitution in the amounts of $4,183,980 for the Defendants’ unjust enrichment of registration fees ($5 per member), and Privacy Act violation statutory damages of $1,000 per member (836,796), as well as interest and attorneys’ fees and costs.
That breaks down to: $4,183,980 (unjust enrichment) + $1,000 x 836,796 (members) = $840,979,980
That’s about $841 million in restitution NOT including attorneys’ fees and costs.
Actual Text of the Lawsuit