Aviation Litigation

Practice Leaders

Practice Areas

Aviation litigation presents distinct challenges for trial counsel.  Specialized technical and regulatory knowledge is critical to the effective handling of an aviation case.  In addition to broad experience as sophisticated trial attorneys, Reed Smith aviation litigators are experts in the field of aviation.  Whether the case involves the design or manufacture of an aircraft or component parts, aircraft and airline operations or aircraft maintenance, Reed Smith aviation group attorneys will be familiar with the key technical, regulatory and legal issues.  Similarly, we have broad experience in the legal doctrines, conventions and statutes that arise with regularity in the aviation context including the Warsaw Convention/Montreal Convention, Airline Deregulation Act and Federal Aviation Act preemption, the government contractor defense, the economic loss doctrine, the General Aviation Revitalization Act and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

The aviation group’s familiarity with aviation issues enables us to effectively advise our clients on how best to avoid litigation or pitfalls that compromise subsequent litigation.  We have developed particular expertise in advising manufacturers of aircraft with respect to such areas as warnings, accident investigation, document retention, documentary privileges, and legal aspects of product integrity programs.  Our goal is to help our clients avoid practices and procedures that are either “litigation magnets,” or which will impair our client’s defense in the event of litigation.

We prepare every case with the expectation that it will go to trial.  Drawing on Reed Smith’s significant litigation support services and staff, aviation group attorneys are equipped and experienced in handling complex and document intensive cases efficiently.  Reed Smith has long been a leader in the implementation of litigation technology, and aviation group attorneys have become intimately familiar with procedures for identifying and managing electronic documents during discovery and trial.  We have made a study of the effective presentation of complex products and concepts to jurors, whether it be through still graphics or cutting-edge animations.  Because much of the litigation we handle is for high stakes, the aviation group has become well familiar with the use of focus groups and mock trials to assist in evaluating risks and honing litigation strategies.

Our aviation clients’ legal needs extend beyond tort litigation and beyond the boundaries of the continental United States.  In light of this, aviation group attorneys frequently collaborate with specialists from other Reed Smith practice groups and with attorneys from our UK offices.  By doing so, Reed Smith is able to offer air carriers, charter operators and aviation manufacturers a wide range of services – including labor and employment, securities, aircraft finance, corporate and antitrust – that are tailored to their specialized needs.