The City of Santa Monica has an upward battle in its attempt to take control of Santa Monica Airport (SMO), with attorneys for the Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, and U.S. Department of Justice arguing the City’s lawsuit filed in October 2013 was filed too late.
The Los Angeles Times reports that federal attorneys contend that federal law related to title disputes required Santa Monica to sue within 12 years of learning about the federal government’s interest in the airport.
The Times reports that the 1948 transfer agreement, which was signed by city officials, documents that interest — something that was demonstrated three more times in 1952, 1956 and 1984 when the government released three airport parcels from required aviation uses.
“Consequently, this case is jurisdictionally deficient because it was brought too late,” The Times quotes attorneys for the Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Justice.
The City of Santa Monica sued the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in October 2013 to establish the City’s right to control future use of the Santa Monica Airport property, which the City has long owned.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Los Angeles, asked the court to declare that the City holds clear title to the land. And, it also challenges, as unconstitutional, the FAA’s claim that the City must continue to operate the Airport indefinitely, even after contracts establishing the City’s Airport obligations expire.