Morrison & Foerster’s aviation and aerospace expertise draws on decades of handling complex aviation cases of all types, including transport-category aircraft accidents, military aircraft crashes, and general aviation accidents.

We represent governmental entities operating airports to defend claims for personal injury and property damage relating to crashes or operations on or near airport property. We help aircraft owners prosecute claims against aircraft modifiers under supplemental type certificates. We advocate for pilots contesting FAA certificate revocation actions. We defend fixed-base operators against claims relating to maintenance of general aviation aircraft, aircraft rental, flight instruction, and flight operations. And we represent helicopter and airplane component part manufacturers to defend product liability design and manufacturing defect claims.

We work with clients across the supply chain, including aircraft manufacturers, airlines, fixed-base operators, pilots, and airports. Insurers, including Global Aerospace, Amlin, Underwriters at Lloyds of London, AIG, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, and United States Aviation Underwriters, turn to us when they need advocates with proven aviation expertise. And recognizing the breadth and depth of our knowledge, companies throughout the aviation industry seek us out for our risk management and litigation avoidance advice.

Our clients come back to us because we repeatedly deliver superior legal services in a cost-effective manner. Our attorneys understand the technical aspects involved in each case, as our team includes several fixed wing and rotary wing pilots with unique aviation expertise. These include a former Marine Corps instructor pilot, aviation safety expert, aircraft accident investigator, crew resource management instructor, operational risk management expert, and aircraft maintenance quality assurance supervisor. Calling on the experience of our colleagues, including both civil and military flight time, we provide guidance and legal advice informed by deep and practical industry knowledge.

We are active in many industry organizations, including Airports Council International – North America, the ABA Air and Space Law Forum, the SMU Air Law Symposium, and the International Aviation Women’s Association (IAWA).

Alaska Airlines Flight 694 (Ginena)
Scored a defense verdict for Alaska Airlines in a case brought by a group of first-class passengers who were removed from Alaska Airlines Flight 694 on September 20, 2003. The flight was headed from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Las Vegas but diverted to Reno in order to remove the passengers. We obtained summary judgment of several claims based on the Warsaw Convention, but the remaining claims proceeded to trial. After a three-week trial, the jury of seven returned a unanimous defense verdict on all counts.
Cessna Caravan 208 Icing Accidents
Representing Cessna Aircraft Company as national coordinating counsel in individual personal injury and wrongful death cases pending in various jurisdictions in the United States arising from accidents involving Cessna Caravan 208 aircraft flown in alleged icing conditions.
Gol Airlines Flight 1907 Litigation
Represented Honeywell International Inc. in a lawsuit involving a mid-air collision between a Boeing 737-800, operated as Gol Airlines Flight 1907, and an Embraer Legacy 600, operated by ExcelAire Services, over the Amazon jungle, Brazil, on September 29, 2006. The accident resulted in the deaths of 154 passengers and crewmembers. Cases were brought in seven different districts, and we were successful in obtaining consolidation of the cases for MDL treatment in the Eastern District of New York. In late July 2008, the motion to dismiss the cases to Brazil for forum non conveniens was granted. The Brazilian carrier is settling the cases with claimants in Brazil. On appeal, the District Court's dismissal of the consolidated actions was affirmed by the Second Circuit. A four week international arbitration conducted in London under the law of England and Wales before a three member tribunal then followed to apportion liability for the accident among certain defendants. The arbitration resulted in a finding Honeywell was without fault for the accident and an award of costs against certain defendants in favor of Honeywell.
Chinook Helicopter Crash off Greece (In re Greek Chinook)
Represented Honeywell International Inc. in litigation arising from the crash of a Boeing Chinook helicopter off the coast of Greece in the Aegean Sea on September 11, 2004.  The accident claimed the lives of the 17 passengers and crew on board the helicopter.  This litigation involved multiple international jurisdictions, Death on High Seas Act (DOHSA), and a difficult causation investigation.  We defended claims involving alleged defects in the helicopter’s engines, FADEC and AFCS.  The lawsuits filed in the Greek courts in Chalkidiki, where the accident occurred, were settled.  The remaining cases were filed in the U.S. and consolidated in federal court in Philadelphia.  Those cases were also settled on terms favorable to the client.
Learjet 60 Crash
Represented a component manufacturer in six consolidated cases involving the crash of a Learjet on September 19, 2008, as well as separate action in Columbia, South Carolina, brought by the operator for the hull loss and loss of use. The plaintiffs include former Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and celebrity disc jockey DJ AM, who both survived the crash but were critically injured. The two pilots and other two passengers were killed. The plane was headed for Van Nuys, California. The cases were filed in Los Angeles, California. The cases settled on terms favorable to our client.
Chinook Helicopter Crash in Afghanistan (Getz v. Honeywell)
Obtained summary judgment based on the government contract defense for Honeywell International Inc. in litigation arising from the crash of an Army special operations Chinook in Afghanistan on February 17, 2007.  Eight people died and 14 were injured when the special operations Chinook crashed while returning from a mission pursuing a member of Al Qaeda.  In August 2011, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the decision ruling that Honeywell and the other government contractor defendants were not liable for the crash.

Chambers USA 2015
National: Transportation: Aviation Litigation 

Legal 500 US 2016
National: Product Liability, Mass Tort, and Class Action: Aerospace & Aviation

Here is what they say about us:

“Very good client service: their advice is prompt and to be relied upon. Their knowledge of the sector is excellent.”
(Chambers USA 2015)

“The ‘client-focused’ team at Morrison & Foerster LLP is ‘full of top-tier’ talent.”
(Legal 500 US 2015)

“I see them as being extremely strong and competent in analytical writing and advocacy skills.” 
(Chambers USA 2014)

“The firm is noted for its ‘strong defense counsel’ and ‘deep industry knowledge’, and also comes recommended as ‘the “go to” firm for complex litigation for aviation manufacturers and airlines’.”
(Legal 500 US 2014)

“Notable for specific technical expertise in connection with military-related incidents and helicopter matters.”
(Chambers USA 2016)

“Very good client service: their advice is prompt and to be relied upon. Their knowledge of the sector is excellent.” 
(Chambers USA 2015)

MoFo named California Product Liability Department of the Year for 2013 by The Recorder.

“The team of ‘superb lawyers’ demonstrates ‘excellent client-management skills’ and regularly ‘exceeds expectations to obtain top-drawer results’.”
(Legal 500 U.S. 2013)

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