As Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh prepares to sue the Federal Aviation Administration over new, lower flight paths causing more noise for surrounding neighborhoods, he has hired a law firm that won a similar suit in Phoenix.
Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell, a firm based in Washington, D.C., has been retained as outside counsel to the attorney general for assistance, Frosh’s office announced Tuesday. The firm litigated Phoenix’s case against the FAA, in which judges ordered the agency to revert to previous flight paths, calling its actions “arbitrary and capricious.”
“The noise from these new flight paths is disturbing and disruptive to the lives of many Marylanders,” Frosh said in a statement. “We searched for a team of experts to assist us. It’s a very narrow field and requires a great deal of expertise — expertise which only a handful of law firms around the country have. Kaplan Kirsch will work with our internal team to take action for the citizens of Maryland.”
Frosh’s office did not respond to emailed questions late Tuesday about how much it will pay the firm or how long the contract will last.
Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, directed the Democratic attorney general to sue the federal agency on Sept. 12. A spokeswoman for Hogan said the governor expects “immediate legal action.”
“Any further delay will only harm countless Maryland citizens who have been needlessly suffering due to these misguided and harmful regulations,” the governor’s press secretary, Shareese N. Churchill, said in a statement.
The new flight paths, part of a $35 billion NextGen nationwide air traffic overhaul intended to modernize routes and save the airlines tens of billions of dollars in fuel, have prompted thousands of noise complaints in previously unaffected neighborhoods around Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.
The lower flight paths were phased in at BWI Marshall in 2015.