Last year, I had to defend myself in front of the NTSB because of some unfounded enforcement action from the FAA—can I recover my attorney’s fees?

Like most people who are forced to go to court to defend themselves, you are probably out a lot of time and money thanks to attorney’s fees and other time lost. When you are defending yourself from unsubstantiated claims, however, it can be even more frustrating. Thankfully, you may have some relief, depending on how your hearing went.

Thanks to the Equal Access to Justice Act, or EAJA, certificate holders that prevail against unsubstantiated claims by the Federal Aviation Administration in front of the National Transportation Safety Board may be able to recover attorney’s fees and other expenses. Here is how you can tell if you could be eligible for EAJA fees:

  • Have you appealed an FAA order? You can only collect expenses and attorney’s fees incurred from the point that you appealed an order from the FAA.
  • Were some or all of the charges brought against you by the FAA dismissed or settled? If you successfully defended all or some of the claims brought against you, you are considered the prevailing party.

  • Were the claims made by the FAA substantially justified? The claims made by the FAA must be based on solid evidence and legal reasoning.

  • Did you incur attorney’s fees as a result of the enforcement and appeals process? Your attorney’s fees are your own responsibility, and not that of your union or employer.

If you were able to answer “yes” to all four questions above, you may be eligible to receive an EAJA award. This award can cover attorney’s fees, expert witness fees, and other costs associated with defending the FAA’s enforcement action.

In order to receive an EAJA award, you must file an application within 30 days of the enforcement action’s final disposition. If you miss this deadline, the NTSB will not consider your application for an EAJA award.

If you have questions about your eligibility or how to file, contact the Arizona aviation accident attorneys at Curry, Pearson & Wooten today at 602-258-1000.