Background - Practices (Details)

Hazardous Materials

Representative Engagements

  • Airline disaster litigation. Representing a Fortune 10 company in a multidistrict proceeding involving about 90 separate product liability and negligence lawsuits in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania arising out of the 1998 crash of Swissair Flight 111 off the coast of Nova Scotia.
  • Alleged airline price-fixing class action. Represented Northwest and Continental Airlines in federal court against a nationwide class of airline passengers alleging "price signaling" and other tacitly collusive practices by the eight major U.S. airlines through use of computer reservation systems. The case was settled on very favorable terms (mostly coupons) with our clients achieving the lowest settlements among the defendants.
  • Aviation federal pre-emption appellate litigation. Represented Continental Express, the commuter affiliate of Continental Airlines, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to uphold a U.S. Department of Transportation decision confirming the right of Continental Express and other airlines to operate aircraft with fewer than 56 seats between Dallas Love Field and any point in the United States and Continental's right to offer connecting service at its Houston hub for passengers on flights between Dallas Love Field and Houston despite objections by local authorities and other airlines. The court upheld these rights, making new service on routes between Dallas Love Field and points throughout the world possible.
  • Aviation federal pre-emption appellate litigation. Represented the Regional Airline Association (a trade association representing regional airlines, aviation manufacturers and suppliers) before the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit to oppose a new landing fee scheme for Boston-Logan International Airport, which replaced a weight-based fee structure with a structure based on a fixed landing fee regardless of aircraft size plus an additional weight-based charge, thereby increasing fees for smaller aircraft and decreasing fees for larger ones. The court upheld DOT's decision that the new landing fee scheme was unreasonable and invalid because the cost allocation method was not scientifically derived. As a result of this landmark airport fees case, the fees paid by operators of small aircraft were reduced.
  • DOT inquiry. Defending a major US airline against consumer claims of unfair and deceptive practices and addressing inquiries and actions by the DOT assistant secretary for aviation enforcement and proceedings.
  • Air Carrier Assistance Act. Representing a major U.S. airline in a lawsuit on alleged violations of the Air Carrier Assistance Act and DOT's passenger access regulations.