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Effective Use of Experts in the Aviation Case: Best Practices

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Produced on November 10, 2017

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Course Information

Time 1h 2m
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Aviation

Course Description

Aviation Litigation is a complex technical field in which specialized expertise is often required from the get-go. Therefore the use of experts is common practice, begging the question: what are the best practices when utilizing expert testimony in an aviation case?   

Frederick Alimonti moderates a panel featuring distinguished aviation litigators and experts to discuss the role of experts and “consultants,” rules affecting experts and their disclosures, and what makes an expert earn his/her often considerable paycheck. We will feature exemplar evidence and animation.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify “decision time” on experts and expertise needed
  2. Discuss benefits of retained experts versus in-house expertise
  3. Break down keys to effective expert testimony; does expert = advocate?
  4. Outline the admissibility standards for experts and their opinions

Credit Information

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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. 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:

  • 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. 


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.

Andrew Maloney

Kreindler & Kreindler LLP

Andrew J. Maloney, III joined Kreindler & Kreindler LLP in 1994 and is a 1985 graduate of Boston College and received his Juris Doctorate degree from Fordham University School of Law in 1988 where he was on the Dean's List and a member of the Urban Law Journal. He was elected partner in January 2005.

Mr. Maloney focuses in aviation litigation as well as general products liability, medical malpractice and general negligence cases trying, mediating and appealing cases in state and federal courts throughout the country. While at the firm, Mr. Maloney briefed and argued a case before the United States Supreme Court on the Westfall Act which governs scope of employment under the Federal Tort Claims Act for federal employees. He has also published an article in the New York Law Journal on the government contractor defense reflecting some of this work on litigation against military contractors for the V-22 Osprey aircraft which is currently being deployed for the United States Armed Forces.

In addition to the many cases he has litigated at the firm, he participated in one of the largest personal injury settlements in the State of Connecticut involving a charter plane crash at the Bridgeport Airport and some of the largest recoveries under the Military Claims Act involving an Air Force plane crash in Dubrovnik, Croatia.


Carol M.

Very entertaining and well done presentation. Videos and panel discussion with lawyers and expert kept my interest.

Kevin F.


Herbert F.

Good Program

Andrew P.

Great course Fantastic presenters Please offer more aviation courses!!!!

Peter N.

Great speakers

Marshall N.

Thank you.

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