“Drone Slayer” has Quadcopter Shooting Lawsuit Thrown Out

William Merideth, a Kentucky man who shot down a quadcopter that he thought was flying over his property, has had the resulting lawsuit from the owner of the drone dismissed by a federal judge. David Boggs, who piloted his DJI Phantom 3 near Merideth’s property, filed a suit against Merideth for $1,500 damages to repair or replace his downed drone. In the wake of coverage of this event, Merideth dubbed himself the “Drone Slayer,” going to far as to have t-shirts with his new moniker emblazoned on them.

This week, though, Senior US District Judge Thomas B. Russell ruled in favour of a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, submitted by Merideth’s attorney, on the grounds that the incident is not a federal matter.

“[E]ven if Boggs is correct that his unmanned aircraft is subject to federal regulation, as the Court noted above, the fact remains that the FAA has not sought to enforce any such regulations in this case,” Judge Russell concluded. “Moreover, FAA regulations, at most, would constitute ancillary issues in this case, in which the heart of Boggs’ claim is one for damage to his unmanned aircraft under Kentucky state law.”

James Mackler, Boggs’ attorney, has asked for clarification from the judge, which may lead to either a reconsideration or an appeal to the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Our client is disappointed—we respect the judge’s ruling and have to have a conversation with our client about an appeal,” Mackler told Ars Technica. “This remains an extraordinarily important issue for the commercial and hobby issue. We desperately need clarification from this issue and that has to come from the federal level. Drones are continuing to be shot down. There have been many incidents, this has to be an issue that is addressed, but we have not decided whether we are going to file our appeal.”

Ashley Allen

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