DLD Lawyers represents insurance carriers and insureds in the areas of personal and private aircraft ownership, emergency medical services, commercial operations, and aerial applications.
The firm’s aviation attorneys are experienced in the leading causes of fatal general aviation accidents, including:
- Engine failure and partial engine power loss
- Fuel issues
- Loss of control inflight / stalls
- Low-altitude operations
- Mechanical maintenance issues
- Midair collisions
- Pilot error
- System component failures
DLD Lawyers actively defends aviation claims from inception through trial.
Municipal claims involving a city, county, or government agency that operate a dedicated flight department, are handled by DLD Lawyers.
In the commercial sector, aviation accidents can result from flights involved in agricultural, instruction and rental, charter and air taxi, firefighting, emergency medical services, search and rescue, news gathering, forestry, powerline, and pipeline patrol activities.
When product liability becomes an element in an aviation liability matter, the Product Liability practice group at DLD Lawyers is ready to defend manufacturers, distributors, maintenance, repair, and overhaul operators that may be named in the claim. The firm’s aviation product liability experience includes routine general liability claims to complex multi-party, multi-million dollar claims.
Drones and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)
The total number of drones registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) surpassed the 1 million mark as of January 2018, including 878,000 hobbyists and 122,000 commercial, public and other drones.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) maintains detailed registration requirements and safety rules for different classes of drone users, including recreational flyers and modeler community-based organizations, certificated remote pilots including commercial operators, public safety and government users and educational users.
DLD Lawyers defends insurers and their insureds in drone disputes involving registration, privacy issues, accidents, close encounters with manned aircraft, and reckless endangerment.
Representative Aviation Cases*
Defense of Textile Manufacturer: Pete DeMahy of DLD Lawyers was recognized for his defense in the recent trial in McCorkle, et al. v. Milliken and Company, et al. by Courtroom View Network (CVN) as one of the top 10 most impressive defense verdicts of 2018. The defendant, Milliken and Company, a global textile manufacturer, was sued for the wrongful death of five passengers of a private jet that crashed into a utility pole on its property. The first of the five plaintiffs who proceeded to trial sought $18 million in damages. According to CVN, in defending this case, Mr. DeMahy maintained throughout the trial that pilot error was the actual cause of the crash. With testimony and detailed calculations of the collision, Mr. DeMahy argued that the additional height of the pole did not cause the crash because the aircraft impacted the pole below 50 feet and not within the airport’s easement above the 50-foot height. This strategy resulted in a defense verdict and affirmed that Milliken and Company was not at fault.
Air Traffic Controller Defense: A 2019 aviation case involved a wrongful death action brought by the estates and families of three decedents against an air traffic controller in the central Florida area. The case had been handled for years by local defense counsel. Once the case was set for trial, DLD Lawyers was brought in only to try the matter. Shortly after deposing two critical plaintiff experts, the case settled for significantly less than the “non-negotiable” demand that plaintiff had made just a few months before the involvement of DLD Lawyers.
* Disclaimer: Every case is different. Past results do not guarantee future outcomes.
Partners Pete Demahy and Orlando Cabeza are co-chairs of the Aviation Liability practice group.