Schweitzer v. Salamatof Air Park Subdivision Owners, Inc.

[PROPERTY LAW]

In Schweitzer v. Salamatof Air Park Subdivision Owners, Inc.,[1] the supreme court held that the determination of aircraft ownership is not preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration’s (“FAA”) authority.[2] In 2010, Schweitzer filed a claim of exemption to prevent the seizure of an incomplete airplane in his possession as satisfaction of Salamatof Air Park Subdivision Owners, Inc.’s (the “Association”) monetary judgment against him.[3] Over Schweitzer’s contentions that the plane was the property of a third party, the lower court determined that the incomplete plane was salvaged from parts of one of Schweitzer’s planes and therefore was his property.[4] On appeal, Schweitzer argued that the court could not make the ownership decision because it lacked subject-matter jurisdiction.[5] The supreme court affirmed the lower court’s decision, reasoning that the lower court did not need statutory authorization to rule as it did since the court had the inherent power to resolve property ownership disputes.[6] The court further reasoned that while federal regulations governed the assignment of identification by airplane manufacturers, nothing in the regulations restricted the lower court’s power to look beyond the airplane’s registration number to determine ownership.[7] Affirming the lower court’s decision, the supreme court held that the determination of aircraft ownership is not preempted by the FAA’s authority.[8]

 



[1] 308 P.3d 1142 (Alaska 2013).

[2] Id. at 1148.

[3] Id. at 1145–46.

[4] Id.

[5] Id. at 1146.

[6] Id. at 1147.

[7] Id. at 1148.

[8] Id. at 1148.

Schweitzer v. Salamatof Air Park Subdivision Owners, Inc.

[PROPERTY LAW]

In Schweitzer v. Salamatof Air Park Subdivision Owners, Inc.,[1] the supreme court held that the determination of aircraft ownership is not preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration’s (“FAA”) authority.[2] In 2010, Schweitzer filed a claim of exemption to prevent the seizure of an incomplete airplane in his possession as satisfaction of Salamatof Air Park Subdivision Owners, Inc.’s (the “Association”) monetary judgment against him.[3] Over Schweitzer’s contentions that the plane was the property of a third party, the lower court determined that the incomplete plane was salvaged from parts of one of Schweitzer’s planes and therefore was his property.[4] On appeal, Schweitzer argued that the court could not make the ownership decision because it lacked subject-matter jurisdiction.[5] The supreme court affirmed the lower court’s decision, reasoning that the lower court did not need statutory authorization to rule as it did since the court had the inherent power to resolve property ownership disputes.[6] The court further reasoned that while federal regulations governed the assignment of identification by airplane manufacturers, nothing in the regulations restricted the lower court’s power to look beyond the airplane’s registration number to determine ownership.[7] Affirming the lower court’s decision, the supreme court held that the determination of aircraft ownership is not preempted by the FAA’s authority.[8]

 



[1] 308 P.3d 1142 (Alaska 2013).

[2] Id. at 1148.

[3] Id. at 1145–46.

[4] Id.

[5] Id. at 1146.

[6] Id. at 1147.

[7] Id. at 1148.

[8] Id. at 1148.