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On Demand Audio

Who Gets to Talk: Should Plaintiffs Be “Parties” to an NTSB Investigation?

(2k+ reviews)

Produced on May 19, 2015

$ 99 Litigation and Aviation In Stock

Course Information

Time 1h 59m
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Litigation Aviation

Course Description

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.


Learning Objectives:

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




Frederick Alimonti

Alimonti Law Offices, P.C.

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.

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:

  • Co-chair of the ABA Litigation Section’s Standing Committee on Aviation Litigation for three-year term (1995 -1998; August 2007 - 2009) 
  • Meeting Chair, ABA CLE on Aviation Litigation, New York (2006, 2007, 2010)
  • Member, Task Force on the Public Perception of the Legal Profession (2004-2007)
  • Co-chair of the ABA, Litigation Section’s Standing Committee on Solo and Small Firms (2001-2004)
  • Division Co-Director for the ABA Litigation Section (2001)
  • Litigation Section’s Co-Chair for the ABA Annual Meeting in New York (2000) 

Mr. Alimonti is a regular speaker on aviation law, mediation and ethics. He has presented and published numerous articles including the following:


  • “Trying not to Stress the Small Stuff, Tips on the Effective Handling of Non-Catastrophic Aviation Cases”, delivered at ABA National Institute on Aviation Litigation, New York, NY (2014)
  •  “Ethics in Negotiation and Mediation” delivered at 48th Annual SMU Airlaw Symposium in Dallas, Texas, (2014)  
  • “Defending and Managing Claims Involving Unruly Passengers”, delivered at ACI Conference on Defending and Managing Aviation Litigation, Boston MA (June 2012)
  • “Fighting Fire with Water, Dealing with Difficult Adversaries” (Litigation, Fall 2008)
  • “Ethical Hurdles Along the Way: Ethical Issues when Representing an Insured in an Aviation Case” (ABA 2007)
  • Columnist: Young Lawyer’s Corner. Aviation Litigation Quarterly (ABA 2006-2008)
  • “Who’s in Charge Here Anyway? Ethical Issues When Representing an Insured,” THE BRIEF, VOL 36, NO. 2 (WINTER 2007)

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. 

Douglas A. Latto

Speiser Krause

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. 


Douglas H. Amster

Lewis Brisbois

Douglas Amster is a partner in the Newark office of Lewis Brisbois and a member of the Aviation Practice. 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. 

Effective January 1, 2015, Mr. Amster was appointed as a Trustee of the New Jersey Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner of the Supreme Court of New Jersey. The Fund is an entity of the Supreme Court of New Jersey, and it was established in 1969 to reimburse clients who have suffered a loss due to the dishonest conduct of a member of the New Jersey Bar.

Joseph R. Reynolds

RTI Group, LLC

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.

Academic Background

  • Postgraduate Studies, Engineering and Mathematics, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.
  • B.E.S., Electrical Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.
  • A.A.S., Electrical Technology, The Capitol Institute of Technology, Washington, D.C.
  • University of Leeds, Fire/Explosion Dynamics, United Kingdom.
  • University of Liverpool, Basic British Law, United Kingdom.
  • The Royal Society of Medicine, British Court Procedures, United Kingdom.


  • Registered Professional Engineer, Electrical: Maryland

Professional Experience

  • Founder and President of RTI Group, LLC (RTI), Annapolis, MD, February 2006 to present.
  • Founder and CEO of Reynolds Technological Inquiries Limited, RTI Ltd (RTI), London, UK, July 2005 to present. 
  • Founder and President of Reynolds Technologies International, LLC (RTI), wholly-owned subsidiary of FTI Consulting, Inc. (FTI), Annapolis, MD, 2003-2004.
  • CEO and Executive Director, Anamet, Inc., Hayward, California, 2003 to present. Reestablished materials engineering and testing laboratory originally founded in 1958.
  • Co-founder, FTI Consulting, Inc., Annapolis, Maryland, 1982-2003. Served as Senior Vice 
  • President, Chief Scientist, President, Vice Chairman, and Chairman. Team leader and principal investigator on numerous major loss investigations, aviation accident analyses, product and systems reliability research and safety analysis reviews, while serving as the head of all Engineering and Scientific Services that became the Applied Sciences Consulting Division.
  • Director, Forensic Engineering Directorate, ManTech International Corporation, CADCOM Division, 1975-1982. Established and developed forensic engineering analysis serviceswhile directing and conducting investigations and research involving aging power generation equipment, electrical accidents, and equipment failures. 
  • Research Engineer, Aerospace Safety, Airborne Military Intelligence Operations and Research, prior to 1975. Participated in writing System Safety Manuals for NASA flight systems. Directed and conducted root cause failure investigations primarily in the areas of aircraft avionics and black box equipment failures, fires, explosions, and electric wiring. Additional experience with United States Air Force (USAF) airborne radar systems and military intelligence research for EW operations. 

Professional Associations and Activities

  • Academy of Experts of London, Full Member
  • Advisory Committee, Mathematical Sciences Department, G.W.C. WSE, JHU
  • American Society of Safety Engineers, Professional Member
  • Expert Witness Institute of London, Full Member 
  • Institute of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, Fellow Member
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Life Senior Member: Aerospace and 
  • Electronic Systems Society - Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Society - Power Engineering Society
  • International Association of Arson Investigators, Member
  • International Society of Air Safety Investigators, Member No. MO3982
  • The Johns Hopkins University, Board of Trustees, Emeritus Member
  • The Johns Hopkins University, Whiting School of Engineering, National Advisory Council Chairman
  • National Fire Protection Association, Life Member
  • National Society of Professional Engineers, Member
  • Nautical Institute, Member
  • Royal Aeronautical Society, Corporate Member
  • Tau Beta Pi, National Engineering Honorary Society
  • UK Flight Safety Committee, Corporate Member

Aviation Accident Investigations:

  • Swiss Air-flight 111 
  • Air France-flight 447 
  • Northwest-flight 255 
  • Value Jet-flight 592 DC-9 
  • American Eagle-flight 4184 
  • United-flight 232

Research Activities

  • Airborne Radar Research
  • Avionics and Aircraft Electrical Systems and Instrumentation Failure Analysis
  • Cable Insulation Failure Analyses 
  • Cockpit Accident Sequence Reconstruction
  • Computer Modelling and Animation Applications 
  • Electrical Fire Ignition Research
  • Electronic Warfare Research and Operations
  • Flight Path Reconstruction and Visualization 
  • Forensic Investigation of Aircraft Electrical Distribution System Incidents 
  • High-Energy Physics Research 
  • Reconstructive Fire Science and Full-Scale Burn Testing

Lectures and Presentations 

Frequent speaker, seminar presenter, and guest lecturer for a variety of groups and organizations 


  • The Federal Judicial Centre Research Division
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
  • William and Mary School of Law, Courtroom 21 Project
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 
  • American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) 
  • International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI)
  • Insurance Claims and Underwriting Groups
  • The Telecommunications Industry
  • The Johns Hopkins University, Whiting School of Engineering
  • University of Maryland, School of Engineering
  • Morgan State University, School of Engineering
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology, Centre for Fire Research
  • Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE)
  • International Society of Air Safety Investigators (ISASI)
  • Georgetown University Law School, Aviation Law Lecturer
  • Inns of Court School of Law, Lloyds 
  • American Bar Association (ABA)
  • Expert Witness Institute
  • AViCON

Selected Publications and Presentations

  • Reynolds, J.R., PE, MEWI, MAE, Hull, Steve, FRAeS, “Disaster in the Islands,” AViCON 2012, New York, NY, April 2012.
  • Reynolds, J.R., PE, MEWI, MAE, Mitchell, S., PhD, “Disaster in the Islands,” AViCON 2010, Technical Programme, London, UK, November 2010.
  • Reynolds, J.R., PE, MEWI, MAE, Mitchell, S., PhD, Aviation Litigation CLE Seminar -Disaster in the Alps! New York City Bar. “Panelists: Prelude to a Case: Re-creation of a Foreign Aviation Accident.” June 2010.
  • Reynolds, J.R., AASc CEEng BEng PE MISASI MEWI MAE, “A Baltic Accident –Casualty Investigation,” Marine Investigation & Mediation Conference, Athens, Greece, October 2009.
  • Reynolds, J.R., PE, MEWI, Mitchell, S., PhD, “Forensic Services Presentation,” AViCON 2009 Technical Programme, New York City, NY, May 2009.
  • Reynolds, J.R., PE, MEWI, Braithwaite, G., “Investigating the Disaster,” AViCON 2008.
  • Reynolds, J.R., PE, MEWI, ”AViCON Disaster: Investigating the Causes, Resolving the Claims,” London, UK, 9 October 2008.
  • Reynolds, J.R., PE, MEWI, “Reconstructing Property and Casualty Events Using Digital Evidence: The Role of the Forensic Expert Investigator,” Subrogation and Recovery in the Property and Casualty Insurance Markets, London Underwriting Centre, March 2007.
  • Reynolds, J.R., Crowch, T., West, K., “Investigation Strategies in Complex Claims Handling,” 2006.
  • Reynolds, J.R., PE, MEWI, Reynolds Technological Inquiries Limited, “Reconstructing Property and Casualty Events Using Digital Evidence: The Role of a Forensic Expert Investigator,” 2007.
  • Reynolds, J.R., PE, MEWI, “FTI Consulting, Inc.: Case Study,” The Johns Hopkins University Invitation to Entrepreneurship, 2005.
  • Reynolds, J.R., AASc CEEng BEng PE MISASI MEWI, “The Expert Witness in North America,” 2004.
  • Reynolds, J.R., AASc CEEng BEng PE MISASI MEWI, “Expert Evidence at Home and Abroad,” Royal College of Physicians – Regents Park, London, January 2004.
  • Reynolds, J.R., Manger, H.C., “Root Cause Analysis Following Failures: A Review of EPRI Technical Report 1001890,” 2004 International Conference of Doble Clients, 
  • Boston, MA, March 2004.
  • Reynolds, J.R., Manger, H.C. “The Engineer in Court, “International Conference of Doble Clients, Boston, MA, April 2003.
  • Reynolds, J. R.; Manger, H.C.; Samm, R., The Fundamentals of Forensic Investigation Procedures Guidebook, EPRI Technical Report 1001890, March 2003.
  • Reynolds, J. R.; Manager, H.C., “The Engineer in Court,” 2003 International Conference of Doble Clients, Boston, Massachusetts, April 6 – 11, 2003.
  • Reynolds, J. R., “The Role of the Forensic Expert Investigator, Reconstructing the Casualty Using Digital Evidence.” Subrogation and Recovery in the Property and Casualty Insurance Markets Conference, Lloyds of London, 5 February 2002.
  • Reynolds, J. R., Manger, H.C., “Journal of an Expert Witness, Part 2 – The Trial.” TJH2b TechCon 2002, Tampa Bay, Florida, January 23-25, 2002.
  • Reynolds, J. R., “Reconstructing the Casualty: Digital Evidence,” Eagle International Associates, International Claims Handling Conference, Lloyd’s of London, 8 October 2001.
  • Reynolds, J. R., “The Expert Witness in the U.S.A.” The Annual EWI Conference, London, 2002.
  • Reynolds, J. R., H. Carl Manger, “Journal of an Expert Witness, Part 1 – The Deposition.” TechCon 2001 Conference, Mesa, Arizona, February 2001.
  • Reynolds, J. R., Bayan, F.P., “Achieving the Virtual Cockpit,” ISASI Forum, OctoberDecember 1999.
  • Reynolds, J. R., “Forensic Animation of a Fire Analysis (the Dupont Plaza Hotel Fire Computer Modeling Analysis).” Forensic Techniques for the 21stCentury, Lloyd’s of London, October 16-17, 2000. 
  • Reynolds, J. R. “Scientific and Engineering Animations Advance.” New York Law Journal, August 1999.
  • Reynolds, J. R., Bayan, Fawzi P. “Flight Path and Cockpit Sequence Reconstruction.”ISASI ’98 Barcelona, October 1998.
  • Reynolds, J.R., Matthews, S., Bayan, F. “AViCON” – The Premier – Gatwick, London, 1998.
  • Reynolds, J. R., Hasegawa, H. K., Alvares, N. J., White, J. A. “Analysis of an Extremely Large Computer Warehouse Fire.” Fire Risk and Hazard Assessment Symposium June 1996.
  • Reynolds, J. R., Allen, J. E. “FTI Field Modelling Analysis and Data Animation DuPont Plaza Hotel Fire.” International Conference on Fire Research and Engineering Proceedings NIST, SFPE, September 1995.
  • Reynolds, J. R. “Crawford Generating Station and Columbus Park Substation Fires.” Report of: Illinois Commerce Commission Staff, June 1991.
  •  Reynolds, J. R. “Hinsdale Central Office Fire Final Report.” Joint Report of Office of the State Fire Marshal and Illinois Commerce Commission Staff. March 1989.

Brian J. Alexander

Kreindler & Kreindler LLP

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

  • 1987 LOT Polish Airlines Flight 5055 crash near Warsaw, Poland
  • 1990 Boeing Model CH-47D helicopter crash at Fort Campbell, Kentucky
  • 1996 United Express Beech 1900 runway incursion at Quincy, Illinois
  • 1996 Sikorsky CH-53 helicopter crash at Stratford, Connecticut
  • 1996 Mitsubishi MU-2B turboprop crash near Pocatello, Idaho
  • 1997 Presidential Flight Detachment Sikorsky VH-60 crash near Nanjemoy, Maryland
  • 1997 Bell Model 206B helicopter crash near Elko, Nevada
  • 1997 Korean Airlines Flight 801 Boeing 747 crash near Agana, Guam
  • 1997 United States Air Force C-141B Mid-Air collision off the coast of Namibia
  • 2000 Singapore Airlines Flight 006 Boeing 747 crash near Taipei, Taiwan
  • 2000 Executive Airlines BA Jetstream 3100 crash at Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
  • 2000 Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Crash on Maui, Hawaii
  • 2001 American Airlines Flight 587 A-300 crash at Bell Harbor, New York
  • 2001 Co-Liaison Counsel, September 11 Tort Litigation
  • 2002 China Air Flight 611 Boeing 747 crash off the coast of Taiwan
  • 2004 Bombardier Challenger 600 crash at Montrose, Colorado
  • 2004 U.S. Airways Flight 5481 Beech 1900 crash at Charlotte, North Carolina
  • 2004 American Connection Flt 5966 BA-32 Jetstream crash near Kirksville, Missouri
  • 2004 Sikorsky UH-60 Helicopter Wire Strike Crash near Waco, Texas
  • 2005 Helios Flight 522 Boeing 737 crash near Athens, Greece
  • 2005 IAI Westwind Crash near Colima, Mexico
  • 2006 Cirrus SR-20 crash near Maybell, Colorado
  • 2006 Cessna 172/182 Mid-Air Collision El Cajón, California
  • 2007 Kenya Airways Flight 507 Boeing 737 crash near Douala, Cameroon
  • 2007 Marlin Air Cessna Citation 550 Crash Lake Michigan
  • 2008 Hawker 800 Crash at Owatonna, Minnesota
  • 2008 Continental Airlines Flight 1404 Crash at Denver, Colorado
  • 2011 Caribbean Airlines Flight 523 Crash at Georgetown, Guyana
  • 2013 Asiana Airlines Flight 214 Crash at San Francisco, California


Year Joined Firm

  • 1995


Litigation Percentage

  • 100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation


Bar Admissions

  • Pennsylvania, 1993
  • New Jersey, 1993
  • New York, 1997
  • U.S. District Court District of New Jersey, 1993
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit, 1997
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 1996


Notre Dame Law School, Notre Dame, Indiana

  • J.D. - 1993
  • Honors: International Academy of Trial Lawyers Award for Trial Advocacy,
  • Honors: Jessup International Moot Court Award

 United States Military Academy, West Point, New York

  • B.S. - 1985
  • Honors: Distinguished Military Graduate

Honors and Awards

  • Listed in New York SuperLawyers

Past Employment Positions

  • Hon. Robert D. Potter, United States District Court, Western District of North Carolina, Law Clerk, 1993 - 1995
  • United States Army, Captain, 1985 - 1990
  • Federal Aviation Administration Commercial Multi-Engine Airplane, Helicopter Pilot

Sigalle Barness

Sigalle provides leadership to ensure proper execution of Lawline's vision, values, and brand promises. She oversee all operations of the business including Content, Business Operations, Customer Experience, Marketing, and Development to effectively grow the organization.

Before joining Lawline in March 2012, Sigalle litigated civil claims in areas such as landlord tenant, breach of contract and tax lien and mortgage foreclosures actions. She also handled transactional matters such as drafting residential and commercial leases, demand letters, and client conflict waivers. Sigalle is an avid lover of music, video games, blogging, asking questions and all things food. She is also fluent in Hebrew and enjoys writing fiction, traveling and scuba diving.

Sigalle is dedicated to continuous and active learning, positive contribution to the legal community, and taking time to help others.


Bonnie B.

Interesting back and forth between plaintiffs' and defendants' counsels.

Herbert F.

This was a uniquely excellent course. The visuals were greatand the discussion format lent interest.

Neil A.

Amazing course.

Stuart I. J.

Very interesting

Darrell N.

Excellent presentation

Silvia B.

Best CLE course I’v ever taken!

Guy L.

Very interesting panel discussion. Seems like things we should all know something about, even they aren't in our practice areas

Carol P.

speakers were interesting and knowledgable

daniel c.

Excellent presentation and panel format.

Holly J.

very well done

Brian M.

Loved how all sides represented and a little debate.

William K.

Good interaction among the panel

Barbara B. C.

Very engaging and informative

Dora C.

Excellent panel and content

Nikita M. W.

There was some technological glitches experienced at 74%. Fortunately, they were corrected timely. Thanks,

Edward S.

Terrific panel! extremely knowledgeable.

Christina T.

I thought program was informative, accurate and to the point. excellent job!

Michael S.

eye opening regarding litigation of these cases

Jennie W.

Very informative

William T.

Thank you for this course.

Rebecca S.

The interplay between the attorneys made this more informative and more interesting.

Daniel G.

Great panelists!!

Gerry L.

Interesting topic and full of useful info

William B.

This particular program was absolutely great.

Mark S.

Top notch panel, fascinating area of law.

James O.

Excellent panel. Way out of my area of practice, but highly educational and lots of fun.

Martin W.

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.

Richard L.

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.

Frederick N.

Outstandig program. Excellent panel who all knew therir stuff and were interesting to hear. Highly recommended.

Silvia C.


Rose Ann P.

All of the "What if's!

Isabel A.

Very interesting and informative.

Kevin W.

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!

asher k.

Really enjoyed this one. Debate/opposing viewpoint panels are a good way to do these.

Michael W.

Top flight panelists and interesting program.

Mary B.


Dennis S.

Very informative; I liked that it did not assume any body of knowledge on the viewers.

Mahlon C.

Very well presented.

Tarsha S.

Amazing. Extraordinary. I have never had insight into this area of law until now. Thank you.

Marcia C.

Creative use of graphics

Terrell R.

good course

Patricia P.


William S.

Excellent panel.

Irving G.

Well done Having an expert as part of wthe panel was really great.

bridget c.

fascinating topic!

Dwayne R.

Excellent speakers with really good analysis of significant aviation litigation issues.

Kimberly G.

Great presentation.

Jennifer L.

Excellent format, very interesting to present by panel, makes it much more enjoyable for the audience

Roger H.


Rebekah Y.

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.

Jessica B.

Thorough introduction to the topic

Lawrence A.

Very interesting discussion about issues involving cases where there obvious liability and no-contrib. of most plaintiffs. Excellent class.

Michael G.

Very good visuals

John M.

Very interesting. Faculty obviously very knowledgable

Leonard G.

A solid introduction to this field

Julie A. B.

Terrific panel!

John J. P.

Very informative.

Peter C. M.

loved the simulator

Christopher C.

Best Lawline course I've taken. Great use of a panel of experts! OUTSTANDING!

Robert B.

Very interesting class

Jeremy K.

Very interesting , even though it has little practical application for me.

Elizabeth C. T.

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.

Benjamin W.

This was by far the best CLE I’ve ever seen.

Hugh A. P.



I found this CLE course to be very interesting.

Howard K.

Great Panel and Excellent presentation

Marc B.

A terrific presentation by very talented counsel.

Carl L.

Excellent panel. Excellent presentation.

philip o.

Excellent panel

gail w.

Interesting material. Dynamic panel. Highly recommend!

Malissa L.

very interesting niche topic

Jeffrey V.

excellent presentation...

William M.

very interesting

Heidi K.

Very interesting. Great panel group.

Jennifer D.

This was fascinating and well-taught. Thanks!

Lexi W.

Great program with a knowledgeable and engaging panel

Chaim L.

I found this an excellent presentation of a multi-issued area of law. Great.

Stephen B.


Raymond K.

The real value in this course is found in the interaction between the panel members. Outstanding.

Daniel H.

Very informative.

Jonathan S.


Mary T.


David W.

Perhaps the most knowledgeable panel I have ever seen

Andrew K.

The format was very good.

Randi W.

Excellent panel decision.

Neal D.

Fantastic discussion, fantastic panel.

Francis Gerard H.

Excellent Program!

Jonathan B.

superb- particularly the Plt. side

Lewis S.

I really liked the panel discussion and thought it was a great way to stay engaged. The information was great, too.

Wendy L.

Absolutely brilliant programme.

Scott A.

The materials were well presented.

Lloyd G.

Impressive panel and an excellent learning experience.

Cathy B.

Very interesting discussion

Wiliam R.

Very reputable and experienced Panel touched on all the salient aviation issues from my standpoint.

Nicole R.

It was extremely helpful hearing the panel discussion!

William B.

Great panel, engaging presentation

Wayne C.

The panelists are all leaders in this field. Excellent discussion.

susan p.

excellent panel -- highly recommend!

Mark E.

Very interesting.

Marie A M.


Paul N.

recommend without reservation

Paula W.

Excellent Format and more dynamic than a single speaker

Andrea C.

Fascinating and very well organized presentation.

Robert C.

Very impressive panel.

Joung Ho K.

Excellent panel members with years of experience.

Melanie B.

First Class, pun intended!!!

Sari W.

This was a very interesting and well-moderated CLE presentation. I would highly recommend it to others.

Philip L J.

By far, the very best LawLine course on aviation litigation..

Phillip B.

The view from 30,000 feet: Awesome!

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