Attorney Mark McKinnon provides an excellent analysis of a recent opinion issued the FAA Chief Counsel in the above-linked article. The request for an opinion by Mr. Romigh involved whether “responsibility for improperly improved maintenance falls solely on the ‘approving’ mechanic”. Contrary to a theme found in the FARs in which a person should be found accountable, see for example 14 CFR §91.3 (cited by Mr. McKinnon), this opinion concludes that “other mechanics who contribute to the maintenance may (emphasis added) also be held responsible”.
The opinion does not add qualifying terms like “materially” contributed and does indicate that the other mechanic’s participation need not be necessary for approval; so its future application by the field can be quite broad. The Romigh Opinion is likely to be cited in a lot of future enforcement actions with more than one name listed as a respondent!
Mr. McKinnon suggests that this interpretation may have implications for management. He reinforces the necessity for a safety culture which should support efforts by all involved to get it right.
One way to prepare for the eventuality of an FAA inspection and the potential for that set of investigators to find a Romigh finding might be mitigated by initiating safety culture audit.