Using a hypothetical aviation accident as a platform, Lawline presents a four person panel with moderator and attorney Frederick Alimonti focusing on a range of critical issues likely to come up in the course of litigating a major aviation accident.
Composed of members from the Plaintiff and Defense bars, plus an expert witness, this distinguished panel paints some of the critical broad strokes that typify issues dealt with in an aviation case, including picking and keeping your forum, choice of law, the cast of likely defendants, the impact of international law, the retention of protection of evidence, and when and how to involve experts and consultants.
I. Pick and keep your forum
II. Gain familiarity with the cast of likely defendants
III. Grasp choice-of-law considerations
IV. Understand the impacts of international law
V. Retain and protect evidence
VI. Know when and how to involve experts and consultants
Founder and Senior Partner Rick Alimonti brings over twenty years of aviation and insurance litigation experience to the firm. His experience includes product liability, airline law, general aviation, and aviation insurance coverage. Martindale-Hubble lists Mr. Alimonti as an “AV” peer-reviewed lawyer, the highest rating awarded by the organization.
Mr. Alimonti is a member of the Southern District of New York’s mediation panel and has been appointed to the SDNY Mediator Advisory Committee. He is a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution section of the American Bar Association and of the Dispute Resolution Section of the New York State Bar Association. He founded Alimonti Mediation Services in 2012 to mediate disputes involving product liability, premises liability, aviation law and commercial disputes. Rick recently became affiliated with “Mediators Plus More,” a New York-based panel of private mediators that matches mediator expertise and experience to the dispute at issue. http://mediatorsplusmore.com/.
Alimonti Law Offices is a frequent provider of CLE-accredited programs in the United States and abroad. In June 2014, Mr. Alimonti was a panelist at the ABA National Institute on Aviation Litigation and presented “Trying not to Stress the Small Stuff, Tips on the Effective Handling of Non-Catastrophic Aviation Cases” and was also a panelist at the 48th Annual SMU Airlaw Symposium in Dallas, Texas, where he presented “Ethics in Negotiation and Mediation.” In June 2013, Mr. Alimonti was a panelist on ethical issues at the ABA Aviation Litigation Seminar in NYC. In June 2012, Mr. Alimonti presented “Defending and Managing Claims involving Unruly Passengers” at the ACI Conference in Boston, MA. In 2011, he presented a paper at the ABA Section of Litigation, Joint Committee Meeting in Snowmass, Colorado, and he presented “Ethics in Aviation Litigation” at the 2011 SMU Air Law Symposium and at the 2011 Aviation Litigation CLE Seminar at the NYC Bar Association.
Mr. Alimonti’s academic contributions to the field of aviation law include the formation and launch of the American Bar Association’s highly successful first Annual Seminar on Aviation Litigation in 1995. This program continues as an annual institution in New York to this day. Mr. Alimonti has twice served as chair of the ABA’s Aviation Litigation Committee. His positions include:
Mr. Alimonti is a regular speaker on aviation law, mediation and ethics. He has presented and published numerous articles including the following:
Mr. Alimonti received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Fordham University and his Juris Doctor from St. John’s University Law School. He is admitted to practice in the State of New York, the U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Eastern, and Northern Districts of New York, and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Fourth, and Eleventh Circuits. He serves as the President of the Board of Trustees for the New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum at Teterboro, New Jersey and is a private pilot.
Doug Latto recently joined Speiser Krause as a partner in the firm and specializes in aviation accident litigation. He has been representing victims of aviation accidents for over 21 years, and has handled numerous cases involving catastrophic injuries and death. Named a New York Super Lawyer many times in his career, most recently in 2014, Doug has worked on numerous high profile aviation accidents and was appointed Co-Lead Counsel in the litigation arising out of the crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 that crashed on approach to Buffalo-Niagara International Airport. Doug also served as a member of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in connection with numerous commercial aviation accidents including, Comair Flight 5191, American Airlines Flight 587, and Swissair Flight 111, as well as the sub-committees responsible for the litigation arising out of the hijackings of American Airlines Flight 11 and American Airlines Flight 77 in the September 11th Terrorist Attacks. Doug also was heavily involved in the litigations arising from the crashes of EgyptAir Flight 990, TWA Flight 800, Comair Flight 3272, ValuJet Flight 592, and Air Midwest Flight 5481.
Doug is currently working on a number of general aviation crashes involving claims against manufacturers, air traffic controllers, pilots and flight instructors. He has represented family members in numerous high profile general aviation accidents, including the August 2009 mid-air collision over the Hudson River where nine individuals were killed. He has also resolved many actions involving rotary wing aircraft, and has successfully litigated dozens of general aviation accidents which have included claims against manufacturers, flight schools and fixed based operators.
Doug received his Juris Doctorate degree, magna cum laude, from the American University School of Law in 1991 and was a member of the Law Review and the Honor Society.
Mr. Amster focuses his practice on aviation tort defense on behalf of domestic commercial airlines, which includes the defense of a non-carrier airline in the 9/11 litigation, and the defense of post-9/11 passenger removal/racial profiling cases. He also represents the owners and operators of private aircraft as well as entities that maintain and repair aircraft. Mr. Amster’s general aviation experience includes accidents and investigations involving Gulfstream, Bombardier, Cessna, Piper, Mooney and Beechcraft fixed-wing aircraft, as well as Sikorsky and Schweizer rotorcraft.
Mr. Amster also has substantial experience in many areas of commercial and personal injury litigation, including products liability, contract disputes, fraud claims, securities fraud litigation, medical malpractice and legal malpractice claims, and resolving Medicare reimbursement disputes.
Memberships and Affiliations
Joseph R. Reynolds, PE, MEWI, MAE, is internationally recognized as a forensic engineering expert witness and is an authority regarding the investigation and analysis of aircraft accidents, aircraft fires and equipment failures, systems reliability research, and safety analysis, as well as producing emergency response preparedness scenarios and major claims resolution training courses, such as AViCON. He has served as the team leader and technical director, as well as principal testifier, in large multidisciplinary investigations. Examples of his specific experience in aviation encompass aircraft accident analysis and cockpit scenario reconstructions, airborne radar and communications, electric power systems, aircraft wiring and protection, flight sensors and controls, avionics and instrumentation analysis, aircraft electrical safety hazards, and the production of integrated flight path visualizations and simulations. Mr. Reynolds also has considerable experience in research, assembly, and testing of aircraft electronics.
Mr. Reynolds is the founder and president of RTI Group, LLC, and Anamet, Inc. based in the US, as well as the founder and chairman of the London based UK firm Reynolds Technological Inquiries Limited, RTI Ltd, with an office in South America. The RTI companies are an international consultancy and centre for research staffed by experienced expert witnesses who are supported by a certified chemical and materials analysis laboratory, forensic testing and joint inspection facilities, as well as a multimedia visual exhibits studio. A highly-diversified firm, RTI specializes in bespoke engineering investigations and the accident and failure analysis of various sized matters also involving marine, rail, telecommunications, power utilities, and other high risk industries.
Mr. Reynolds has given expert testimony for international arbitration hearings and various courts of law, and has appeared before safety boards and international professional forums.
Professional Associations and Activities
Aviation Accident Investigations:
Lectures and Presentations
Frequent speaker, seminar presenter, and guest lecturer for a variety of groups and organizations
Selected Publications and Presentations
Brian J. Alexander received his undergraduate degree (B.S. Economics/Engineering) from the United States Military Academy in 1985. After completion of flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama, he served as a helicopter and fixed wing pilot from 1985-1990. Mr. Alexander graduated from the Army Aviation Accident Investigation Course and is a licensed FAA commercial multi-engine airplane and helicopter pilot with instrument ratings.
Mr. Alexander received his Juris Doctor degree from Notre Dame Law School in 1993. While at Notre Dame, he received the International Academy of Trial Lawyers Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy, the Jessup International Moot Court Award and the American Jurisprudence Award for Trial Advocacy.
Mr. Alexander joined Kreindler & Kreindler in 1995 after having clerked for the Honorable Robert D. Potter, U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of North Carolina (1993-1995). Mr. Alexander became a partner in 2001.
Mr. Alexander has litigated numerous international and domestic airline, commuter, military and general aviation crash cases. Many of the aviation cases in which Mr. Alexander has been involved have had notable results, including several of the highest individual settlements in the United States. One such case, McClendon v.First Tennessee Bank, yielded an $8,000,000 jury verdict award, at the time one of the largest in Tennessee history.
Mr. Alexander led the effort in the litigation arising out of the 1997 crash of a Boeing 747 in Agana, Guam being operated as KAL Flight 801 and was the lead examiner for the PSC in numerous depositions of airline and FAA personnel.
He was a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) for the Singapore 006 crash in October 2000. In that case, he briefed, argued and won a critical choice of law motion for the passengers and obtained one of the largest settlements. He also handled the litigation arising out of two recent MV-22 Osprey crashes and obtained successful settlements for the military families against the manufacturers Bell and Boeing.
In 2002, Mr. Alexander was appointed by the Court as Co-liaison counsel for the September 11 Litigation pending in the Southern District of New York. He briefed, argued and defeated the Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss the 9-11 lawsuits.
Mr. Alexander resolved more than 35 cases arising from the 2002 crash of a Boeing 747 operating as China Air Flight 611. He vigorously pursued claims against both the airline and the manufacturer, Boeing, for their negligent maintenance and repairs on the accident aircraft. Among the settlements, Mr. Alexander obtained the largest recovery on the aircraft for a family from California.
Mr. Alexander also represented the largest group of families in the United States litigation arising from the August 14, 2005, crash of a Boeing 737-300, operating as Helios Airways Flight 522, near Athens Greece.
Mr. Alexander represented injured passengers against the airline and the FAA in litigation arising from the Continental Airlines Flight 1404 crash in Denver, Colorado in December 2008.
He represented passengers injured during the Caribbean Airlines Flight 523 landing overrun at Georgetown, Guyana in July 2011.
He presently represents passengers injured and three victims killed as a result of the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash at San Francisco International Airport on July 6, 2013.
In addition, Mr. Alexander has prosecuted numerous aviation product liability cases. These are technically complex cases involving a wide range of aviation products including jet, turboprop and helicopter engines, avionics equipment, flight computers and flight control systems. He has been involved in matters concerning Boeing, Sikorsky, Bell, Robinson and Eurocopter helicopters; Beech (Raytheon), Cessna, Cirrus, Mitsubishi and Piper general aviation aircraft; and Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, Airbus, Bombardier, British Aerospace and other foreign manufactured commercial jet aircraft.
Mr. Alexander has tried cases in federal and state court and also argued and briefed appeals in the Second, Sixth, Ninth and Tenth Circuits.
Mr. Alexander has lectured at ABA conventions and legal symposiums in both the United States and Canada and has authored numerous articles on aviation and product liability litigation. He is the co-editor of the American Bar Association (Torts and Insurance Practice Section) Air and Space Law Newsletter and is a co-author of the book “Litigating the Aviation Case from Pre-Trial to Closing” (ABA 1998). He is the former Chairman of the Aviation Section of the American Trial Lawyers Association and Vice Chairman of the American Bar Association Air and Space Law Committee.
Mr. Alexander has appeared on television and radio shows as an aviation expert and legal analyst, including CNBC, NPR, BBC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN and The Today Show. He was also interviewed by Mike Wallace of “60 Minutes” in connection with his efforts on Capitol Hill to address aviation safety.
Since 2006, Mr. Alexander has repeatedly been selected by his peers as one of The Best Lawyers in America and also as a New York Superlawyer.
Mr. Alexander is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Rutgers School of Law where he teaches a course on Aviation Accident Litigation.
List of Exemplar Cases
Year Joined Firm
Notre Dame Law School, Notre Dame, Indiana
United States Military Academy, West Point, New York
Honors and Awards
Past Employment Positions
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Interesting back and forth between plaintiffs' and defendants' counsels.
This was a uniquely excellent course. The visuals were greatand the discussion format lent interest.
Best CLE course I’v ever taken!
Very interesting panel discussion. Seems like things we should all know something about, even they aren't in our practice areas
speakers were interesting and knowledgable
Excellent presentation and panel format.
very well done
Loved how all sides represented and a little debate.
Good interaction among the panel
Very engaging and informative
Excellent panel and content
There was some technological glitches experienced at 74%. Fortunately, they were corrected timely. Thanks,
Terrific panel! extremely knowledgeable.
I thought program was informative, accurate and to the point. excellent job!
eye opening regarding litigation of these cases
Thank you for this course.
The interplay between the attorneys made this more informative and more interesting.
Interesting topic and full of useful info
This particular program was absolutely great.
Top notch panel, fascinating area of law.
Excellent panel. Way out of my area of practice, but highly educational and lots of fun.
Really liked the panel format with plaintiff and defense represented. The expert was an added bonus. One of the best CLE videos i've ever watched. Very interesting even though it has nothing to do with anything I'm involved in.
This is absolutely one of the best CLE presentations that I have seen on LawLine. The four-person panel manages to keep the discussion on-track and at a very nice level of detail, while providing a broad "33,000 ft" view.
Outstandig program. Excellent panel who all knew therir stuff and were interesting to hear. Highly recommended.
All of the "What if's!
Very interesting and informative.
This is, frankly, not an area of the law in which I practice. However, it was a fascinating CLE -- which is more than I can say for the vast majority of CLE's that I have taken over the last three decades!
Really enjoyed this one. Debate/opposing viewpoint panels are a good way to do these.
Top flight panelists and interesting program.
Very informative; I liked that it did not assume any body of knowledge on the viewers.
Very well presented.
Amazing. Extraordinary. I have never had insight into this area of law until now. Thank you.
Creative use of graphics
Well done Having an expert as part of wthe panel was really great.
Excellent speakers with really good analysis of significant aviation litigation issues.
Excellent format, very interesting to present by panel, makes it much more enjoyable for the audience
One of the strongest courses I have listened to. I really enjoyed hearing both a plaintiff's attorneys side and a defense attorney. I highly recommend this course.
Thorough introduction to the topic
Very interesting discussion about issues involving cases where there obvious liability and no-contrib. of most plaintiffs. Excellent class.
Very good visuals
Very interesting. Faculty obviously very knowledgable
A solid introduction to this field
loved the simulator
Best Lawline course I've taken. Great use of a panel of experts! OUTSTANDING!
Very interesting class
Very interesting , even though it has little practical application for me.
Well done. Not an area in which I have knowledge, but I was riveted by the panel and their knowledge, expertise and experience in the area.
This was by far the best CLE I’ve ever seen.
I found this CLE course to be very interesting.
Great Panel and Excellent presentation
A terrific presentation by very talented counsel.
Excellent panel. Excellent presentation.
Interesting material. Dynamic panel. Highly recommend!
very interesting niche topic
Very interesting. Great panel group.
This was fascinating and well-taught. Thanks!
Great program with a knowledgeable and engaging panel
I found this an excellent presentation of a multi-issued area of law. Great.
The real value in this course is found in the interaction between the panel members. Outstanding.
Perhaps the most knowledgeable panel I have ever seen
The format was very good.
Excellent panel decision.
Fantastic discussion, fantastic panel.
superb- particularly the Plt. side
I really liked the panel discussion and thought it was a great way to stay engaged. The information was great, too.
Absolutely brilliant programme.
The materials were well presented.
Impressive panel and an excellent learning experience.
Very interesting discussion
Very reputable and experienced Panel touched on all the salient aviation issues from my standpoint.
It was extremely helpful hearing the panel discussion!
Great panel, engaging presentation
The panelists are all leaders in this field. Excellent discussion.
excellent panel -- highly recommend!
recommend without reservation
Excellent Format and more dynamic than a single speaker
Fascinating and very well organized presentation.
Very impressive panel.
Excellent panel members with years of experience.
First Class, pun intended!!!
This was a very interesting and well-moderated CLE presentation. I would highly recommend it to others.
By far, the very best LawLine course on aviation litigation..
The view from 30,000 feet: Awesome!
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