Jet ownerís appeal dismissed
Legal fees issue still to be heard
By PAT MURPHY
Express Staff Writer
Because his attorneys failed to file a
brief, California multimillionaire contractor Ronald Tutorís appeal hoping to
overturn a landing ban on his large jet at Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey
has been dismissed.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
routinely dismissed the appeal when the deadline passed.
In a brief order, court clerk Cathy
Catterson wrote that "pursuant to 9th Circuit Rule 42-1, this appeal is
dismissed for failure to file the opening brief in this case."
Yet to be heard, however, is Tutorís
appeal to an order by U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill to pay Friedman Memorial
Airport $159,038 in legal fees. The hearing is set for Aug. 23.
In a sweeping 30-page decision in January,
Winmill rejected Tutorís claim that his rights under the U.S. and Idaho
Constitutions were being violated by the Friedman ban as well as rejecting his
claim that his right to travel was being impaired.
"At most," Judge Winmill wrote, "Mr. Tutor
has been inconvenienced by the necessity of using a method of travel other than
that which he prefers."
Friedmanís legal costs in the lawsuit
filed by Tutor are covered by the airport insurer up to $1 million. The airport
has spent more than $600,000 thus far and insurance has reimbursed it for
$416,474 of its legal costs.
One of Tutorís attorneys, Jonathan Morse,
of Bailey & Partners, Santa Monica, said the he would have no comment on the
appeal being dismissed nor any future action, but did say he would proceed with
appealing the legal fee issue.
Tutor has one other course to take if he
wants to continue his fight for rights to land his 737-sized Boeing Business Jet
at Friedman: an appeal to the Federal Aviation Administration to instruct the
Hailey airport to permit the jet to land.
Tutor, who has a vacation home just north
of Ketchum, has a smaller twin-engine Gulfstream III jet he uses to commute to
But for more than a year, he has disputed
Friedman Memorialís 95,000-pound weight limit that prohibits his BBJ from using
The confrontation between the airport and
Tutor took an ugly turn in the initial stages: Tutor threatened through his
attorneys to land the big BBJ at Friedman without permission, prompting Friedman
Airport Authority chair Mary Ann Mix to threaten suspension of Tutorís pilotís
license through the FAA.
Tutor abandoned his threat.
Friedmanís resistance to the BBJ stems not
only from its weight, which airport manager Rick Baird contends could damage the
runway, but to its wing span and length. The wingspan would probably force the
airport to close temporarily since the BBJís wings would interfere with other
The BBJ is a more than $50 million luxury
Approximately 50 of the large jets are in
service throughout the world, and airports such as Friedman have become
desirable fields for BBJ owners who want to avoid large commercial fields and
use the plane to commute to resorts and vacation homes.