Aviation and Aerospace

Aviation and Aerospace

The highly specialized and complex field of aviation law involves litigation relating to every aspect of aviation, including, for example, the operation of commercial and general aviation aircraft, flight procedures, passenger safety, maintenance of aircraft and associated components, and much more. Federal law strictly regulates every aspect of the aviation industry, especially relating to aviation safety, making it imperative that your counsel is highly experienced and has an exceptionally thorough understanding of the law and the complex technology and issues involved.

Taft’s Aviation and Aerospace industry group has highly experienced and aggressive aviation defense trial lawyers, having tried dozens of complex federal and state cases to jury verdicts all over the country. Our aviation team regularly advises and represents multiple major domestic and international airlines, aircraft manufacturers and component makers, aviation maintenance facilities, and several major aviation insurance companies on a regular basis relating to aviation accident litigation, product liability claims, and aviation related property damage claims.

Our Aviation and Aerospace industry group regularly conducts training seminars for aviation clients nationally, keeping them current on developments in the law and on the latest risk management strategies. Airlines, aircraft and component manufacturers, repair facilities, and aviation insurers have relied on this expertise and sophistication for decades to protect their rights in the face of aviation accidents and incidents of all kinds.

Notable Matters

  • Represented Spirit Airlines, Inc., and successfully obtained a case dismissal with no appeal. The passenger brought action against airline, alleging two-hour flight delay on the tarmac caused her to develop a serious blood clot in her leg (DVT). The flight was delayed more than two hours waiting for the pilots to arrive; during this delay, Spirit employees advised passengers were not allowed to move about the airplane and had to remain seated to await departure. In lieu of an answer, Spirit moved to dismiss asserting preemption under the ADA, as well as the FAA. The case expanded the reach of preemption to “IN PLANE” safety vs limited to “in flight” safety.
  • Represented Delta Air Lines, Inc., and successfully obtained a case dismissal with no appeal. A passenger tripped/fell on another passenger’s luggage strap on the floor of the aircraft aisle during boarding. Plaintiff claimed Delta negligently failed in its duty to protect passengers from any hidden or latent hazards on its airplane. The injury occurred before flight attendants’ regulatory duty to check the status of stowed baggage under 14 C.F.R. § 121.589(b) and (c) in preparation for pushback.
  • Represented United Airlines, Inc. and obtained a successful summary judgment and affirmed on appeal. The passenger was struck by a large piece of improperly secured overhead luggage when the bin door popped open during takeoff. Plaintiff’s failure to set forth the federal standard of care and failure to show a breach of same.
  • Represented Delta Air Lines, Inc., and obtained a successful motion to dismiss. Plaintiff stipulated to dismissal of all claims with prejudice. Negligence complaint alleging “exceptionally hard landing” followed by sudden stop resulting in “crushed left arm and wrist”. Removed to Southern District of Iowa and threshold motion to dismiss filed in lieu of answer: Plaintiff failed to identify any federal standard of care vs. Iowa state law negligence claims. Motion Granted - Plaintiff allowed to file a second amended complaint setting forth the federal standard of care including 91.13(a)- “careless or reckless operation of an aircraft”. Plaintiff stipulated to dismissal of all claims with prejudice.
  • Represented American Airlines and successfully defended a case filed by a passenger struck in the knee by a beverage cart during routine beverage service. Plaintiff’s failure to set forth the federal standard of care and failure to show a breach of same.
  • Represented Spirit Airlines, Inc., and successfully obtained judgment on the pleadings in the district court, as well as an affirmation in the Eleventh Circuit, based on the valid and enforceable class action waiver provision in the contract of carriage, which barred claims by at least 100 putative class members seeking in excess of $5 million.
  • Represented Delta Air Lines, Inc., and successfully obtained summary judgment without appeal based on federal preemption under the Air Carrier Access Act, as well as other defenses, in a multi-faceted case alleging negligent training and supervision, failure to provide appropriate wheelchair assistance, jetway positioning, and failure to assist passenger out of a wheelchair.
  • Represented United Airlines in a complex and lengthy accident case where the engine was lost on takeoff. The jury returned verdict for United Airlines. The case raised technical metallurgical, accident reconstruction, and aviation maintenance issues. No cause verdict for United Airlines.

All Aviation and Aerospace Professionals

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