Since 1998, the AViCON conference has provided an educational forum for a wide range of aviation insurance professionals including claims managers, airline board members, product manufacturers, government investigators, and many more.
Registration Confirmation Your registration will be confirmed by email within 2 business days. Please check your junk and/or spam email folder for confirmation prior to contacting the AViCON Registrar. If you do not receive an email confirmation within 5 business days the date your registration was submitted, or you have other registration questions, email email@example.com or call +1 866 327 1165. Register by May 11 for the Super early bird rate, fees expire at 11:59 PM (ET).
Cancellation Policy: 50% cancellation fee will be assessed on cancellations received by June 14 – August 12, 2018. 100% cancellation fee will be assessed on ALL CANCELLATIONS after August 13, 2018. Refunds will NOT be given for no shows.
Cancellations requests must be made in writing and sent to firstname.lastname@example.org Cancellations will not be accepted by phone or onsite. Cancellations will be acknowledged by email. If you do not receive an acknowledgment within two weeks, please contact Heather Wallinovich at +1 866 327 1165 or by email email@example.com
Substitution Policy Substitutions will be allowed before a badge is picked up, so long as the replacement individual is from the same organization. Substitutions will not be made once the original registrant has attended any portion of the conference. The original registrant may make the substitution by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, August 31, 2018. Beginning September 1, 2018, all substitutions must be made onsite and require hard copy/written permission from the original registrant granting the substitution.
Attendee Policy Attendance is for members of the legal, Insurance and Aviation manufacturing industries ONLY. Individuals not in the trade should not attend. RTI’s AViCON reserves the right to accept or reject registrations and to cancel any previously accepted reservations, at any time, at its sole discretion, without liability to the registrant or any other party. This policy was instituted to maintain the professional environment of the AViCON conference while protecting the interests of our attendees and exhibitors.
Loud, abusive, or defamatory language, harassment or other unprofessional or inappropriate behavior is not permitted at any time at the conference. If such conduct is engaged in by a registrant, please be advised that RTI may cancel any previously accepted reservations, at any time, at its sole discretion, without liability to the registrant or any other party, and the registrant agrees to exit the premises immediately.
RTI, its sole discretion, reserves the right to decline the registration of any applicant that may violate national security or export compliance laws, including U.S. economic sanctions. Applicants must provide full, truthful information when registering, in accordance with registration terms and conditions.
Photo and Video Policy Attendees are permitted to use hand-held cameras to take photographs, capture digital images, and videotape within public areas of AViCON 2018 for personal, non-commercial use. Public areas include the exhibit hall; general session, technical, panel and workshop rooms; lobby areas; and hallways.
Large cameras, photo or video equipment, or ancillary equipment such as lighting, tripods, cables, etc. are prohibited (except in instances where approval from RTI show management is obtained).
All photographers and videographers are prohibited from entering, photographing, or videotaping non-public areas of RTI and AViCON2018. Non-public areas include storage areas; speaker ready rooms; staff offices; and dedicated meeting rooms.
All photographers and videographers are prohibited from impeding attendee traffic flow, blocking doors, stairs, elevators and escalators, and affecting the safety of attendees. All photographers and videographers must fully and immediately comply with any requests, directions, or instructions of AViCON conference management related to safety concerns. All photographers and videographers must obtain exhibitor approval before capturing images within the exhibitor’s booth space.
While attending AViCON 2018, all photographers and videographers must comply with all applicable rules, including but not limited to, this policy, all applicable laws, ordinances, municipal regulations, standard operating procedures and administrative procedures. AViCON conference management may evaluate the actions of a photographer or a videographer, and if a determination is made that the actions of a photographer or videographer are not in compliance with any applicable rule, AViCON conference management may terminate the permission granted by this policy.
Export Compliance RTI and AViCON remind conference participants that they are responsible for compliance with regulations limiting the release of export-controlled technology or technical data and the provision of defense services to non-U.S. persons under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). AViCON is not liable for unauthorized releases of technical data by conference attendees.
Force Majeure In case the premises for the conference is destroyed by Acts of God, fire or the elements or by any cause, or in case of government intervention or regulation, military activity, terrorism, civil disturbance, strikes, labor disputes, or any other circumstances make it impossible or inadvisable to hold the conference at the time and place provided, the attendee waives any claim for damages or compensation, except the pro rata return of the amount paid for admission, after deduction of actual expenses incurred in connection with the exhibition and there shall be no further liability on the part of either party. In no event, shall RTI, its officers, directors, trustees, or agents be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential damages resulting from the failure to hold the conference.
Photo Use Release By way of ordering ticket(s) for AViCON 2018 I grant and authorize RTI Group, LLC the right to take, edit, alter, copy, exhibit, publish, distribute and make use of any and all pictures or video taken of me to be used in and/or for legally promotional materials including, but not limited to, newsletters, flyers, posters, brochures, advertisements, fundraising letters, annual reports, press kits and submissions to journalists, websites, social networking sites and other printing and digital communications, without payment or any other consideration. This authorization extends to all languages, media, forms, and markets now known or hereafter devised. This authorization shall continue indefinitely unless I otherwise revoke said authorization in writing email@example.com.
I understand and agree that these materials shall become the property of RTI Group, LLC and will not be returned.
I hereby hold harmless and release RTI Group, LLC from all liability, petitions, and causes of action which I, my heirs, representative, executors, administrators, or any other persons may make while acting on my behalf or on behalf of my estate.
This two-day program centers around a fictional case study featuring discussions lead by legal and insurance experts. Together, we will explore considerations and complexities of the case from accident investigation, legal discovery, multi-party litigation, and conclude with a live claim resolution exercise.
At 15:30, on June 21, 2018, a USAF operated R-75 (a militarized version of a Pilatus PC-12) takes off from Martin State Airport, MD, carrying sensitive, classified materials. The pilot, a contractor for the DOD, travels along an IFR route towards Cape May, NJ. At the border of Maryland and Delaware, the R-75 collides with a civilian GA aircraft. The R-75 sustains damage to its landing gear and belly while the GA is totaled. The R-75 contacts the nearest airport, Wilmington Airport, and declares an emergency.
Upon touching down on runway 01 at Wilmington, the landing gear collapses and the R-75 skids down the runway coming to a stop. ATC grounds all flights, leaving regional jet Air Apparent flight 913, previously preparing for takeoff, stranded on the tarmac. After several hours, fights broke out between passengers and airline personnel on board flight 913, causing physical damage to passengers, crew, and the interior of the aircraft. Approximately four hours later, Air Apparent flight 913 is allowed to return to the gate.
Back to the Future: Technological Improvement or Disruption? A.I., Automation, and Block Chain.
Paul Bowles, Fitzpatrick & Hunt
David Tochen, LeClairRyan
Stephen Carbone, author of The Air Crash Files
Jeff Cochran, Shapiro Negotiations Institute
Strange Bedfellows: Plaintiff and Defendant Cooperation - To The Consternation of Co-Defendants
Tracy Steele, AIG
Brian Alexander, Kreindler & Kreindler
Getting Your Hands Dirty - Interactive Breakout Sessions
3-D Printing in Aviation: Perspectives on Insurance, Manufacturing, and Product Liability with this Emerging Technology
Lisa Savitt, The Axelrod Firm
Lili Beneda Rubenstein, AIG Aerospace Services
Lauren Haertlein ( invited), GAMA General Aviation Manufacturers Association
Best Practices for Aircraft Engine Inspection
Stephen Carbone, author of The Air Crash Files
Conference Adjourns to The Inn at The Chesapeake Bay Beach Club
AViCON Banquet Dinner & Keynote Presentation
Jill Rutan Hoffman, Aerospace Author, and Speaker
*Speakers and schedule may be subject to change
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14
Registration & Breakfast
Introductions and Welcome Back
Steve Hull, RTI
Claims From the Twilight Zone: Passengers, Airports, and Support Animals, Oh My!
Don Machalinski, Tressler,
Mike McGrory, SmithAmundsen
Christa Hinckley, LeClair Ryan
Litigation of Military Crashes
Justin Green, Kreindler & Kreindler
Michael Schofield, Clark Partington
Randy Davis, Phoenix Air Group
Not Just About the Money: Non-monetary Resolution to Cases
Alisa Brodkowitz, Friedman Rubin
Live ADR Exercise: Where We Resolve All the Claims in Arbitration
Ricardo Martinez-Cid, Podhurst Orseck
Diane Westwood Wilson, LeClairRyan,
James Robinson, Gordon & Rees
Rick Alimonti, Alimonti Law Offices
Thank you to our sponsors
DRI is the leading organization of defense attorneys and in-house counsel comprised of 22,000 like-minded defense practitioners. DRI is host to 29 substantive committees whose focus is to develop ongoing and critical dialogue about areas of practice. DRI hosts renowned CLE seminars, conferences, and webcasts.
Ed Libassi has dedicated his life to aviation. His reliability, insight and no nonsense approach has given his clients the confidence to trust their lives and the lives of their families, in his able hands.
Ed is committed to providing the highest quality of expert consultant services for individuals, corporations or legal counsel. Ed’s past history, on the ground, hands-on experience provides the kind of knowledge and understanding only a true source of expertise possesses. He will deliver the results you want, keeping you informed, prepared and confident in any aviation inquiry.
Curt Lewis and Associates, LLC is a multi-discipline technical and scientific consulting firm specializing in aviation and industrial safety. The firm, established in 2005, targets safety management systems, system safety audits and safety training programs, risk management, accident investigation, litigation support and quality assessments. By making safety an integral part of your business, you will significantly reduce the cost of insurance deductibles, legal fees, lost time and overtime, cost of investigation, loss of productivity and equipment, and most importantly, injury or death to your employees and customers.
The hallmark of Holland & Knight's success has always been and continues to be legal work of the highest quality, performed by well-prepared lawyers who revere their profession and are devoted to their clients. Holland & Knight remains dedicated to developing and maintaining long-term relationships. The firm's growth is due in large part to the success of our clients. We are honored to be able to contribute to their success and growth across the United States and around the world. Since our beginning, Holland & Knight attorneys have delivered focused, responsive and personalized service resulting in lasting relationships with our clients.
John Darer is a well-known highly skilled structured settlement expert, Certified Financial Transitionist, Registered Settlement Planner, licensed insurance agent and thought leader, who is a 2018 A.M. Best Recommended Structured Settlement Expert for structured settlements. John Darer breaks down complex financial ideas and concepts, moves them out of the abstract and articulates them in a way to empower people of any level, with the essential knowledge to feel confident to make decisions. Drawing on over 30 years of practical hands-on settlement consulting and financial services experience, John Darer assists domestic, London market, and other international clients and counsel in some of the most complex cases in aviation, personal injury, medical malpractice, product liability, environmental, transportation and maritime, employment, divorce and commercial contract settlements. John's diverse background brings a valuable asset to the table for his clients, whether providing assistance at mediation, during discovery, post-settlement, or "on the fly" New York CPLR Article 50A or Article 50B projections and analysis, or managing transition stress.
There are four basic elements that distinguish SNI from other firms, benefit our clients, and have become the foundation of our success and our clients’ success: Proven Professionals that are Best-In-Class Facilitators We utilize the same system taught in our corporate sales, influence, and negotiation training programs with our clients in real business situations – this takes the learning from theoretical jargon into the real world. Our facilitators have advised well over $2.5 billion in sales and negotiations, been named the best speakers in conferences with 300+ others, and received raving reviews from Tony Robbins.
Tools that are Immediately Applicable SNI’s systems are built for people who need proven methods for success that are memorable and easy to put in motion. These systems are built by experience, based on science, and provide a platform for straightforward implementation, reinforcement, and coaching.
Proven Return on Investment SNI programs have been successful for over 20 years, training 250,000+ people in many industries and cultures. SNI clients utilize the tools and system to capture more long-term business, increase productivity, and overcome conflicts. We have plenty of case studies with impressive ROI results for our clients (300%+ ROI), take a look for yourself.
Programs that are Customized and Interactive SNI programs are personal, dynamic, and designed to address each client’s specific needs. Adults learn by being engaged and involved in the process. Our customized simulations and scenarios give participants an opportunity to practice using the program tools under pressure.
RTI’s World Headquarters and Research Centre offers a premier facility along Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Away from the hustle and bustle of nearby Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia, our refreshing facilities near the Chesapeake Bay are ideal for hosting AViCON. Guests can travel by air and touch down their own aircraft at nearby Bay Bridge Airport, just a short drive away.
Want to make AViCON a Vacation destination? See what The eastern shore has to offer:
We could not host AViCON without the support of our sponsors. We offer many opportunities that are sure to meet your price range and provide you with the best exposure to our attendees. All payments must be received before August 10, 2018. For more information, please contact Heather Wallinovich 410-571-0712, firstname.lastname@example.org
On behalf of the Commissioners of Queen Anne's County welcome to the beautiful Bay Bridge Airport, Maryland's waterfront jewel. Bay Bridge Airport is ideally located for all of your Maryland travel and recreation needs and is the closest Airport to Baltimore/Annapolis/Washington outside of the Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA). Whether your travel is for business or pleasure, Bay Bridge offers the location, friendly staff, and amenities that are sure to make your visit a pleasant one.
202 Airport Road Stevensville, MD 21666
Phone: 410-643-4364 Fax: 410-643-4273
Hours Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
1.4 miles from RTI
Bay Bridge Airport (W29) 24 Hour Access to: Pilots' Lounge Rest Rooms DTN Weather Flight Planning Center Runway 11/29=2903' X 60' Asphalt DSPL:29=190'
CTAF/Unicom: 122.725 AWOS: 120.575 NOTAMS: File BWI (Check all available NOTAMS before each flight)
Hours Attended Monday - Friday 0800 - 1630
Keynote Speaker: Jill Rutan Hoffman
Jill Rutan Hoffman is a twice-published author and inspiring speaker guaranteed to bring people to the edge of their seats.
Jill grew up in a family of record breakers. She is the daughter of world-famous pilot, Dick Rutan, and niece of revolutionary aeronautical designer, Burt Rutan. From the milestone world flight of the Voyager to the X-Prize winning SpaceShipOne Jill has seen the "impossible" make history.
To help keep her family's spirit of adventure alive and to guarantee a new generation of record breakers Jill created Looking Skyward. Looking Skyward connects classrooms to aerospace careers by supporting aerospace S.T.E.M education projects.
Lunch Presentation: Jeff Cochran, Shapiro Negotiations
Jeff has coached negotiation teams within organizations and has delivered high impact presentations from forty-five minutes to three days in length. His audience size has ranged from five executives around a boardroom table to one thousand people in an auditorium. In addition to his role as an educator and an entertainer, Jeff has also played a significant role in selling and designing negotiation training programs for SNI.
Jeff has delivered customized programs for clients across many diverse sectors: Financial Services (Barclays, PricewaterhouseCoopers, J.P.Morgan Chase); Pharmaceutical (Novo Nordisk, Sanofi-aventis, Bristol Myers Squibb); Insurance (GeneralReinsurance, Nationwide); Telecommunications (Verizon, Comcast); Medical Devices (Toshiba Medical Systems, Siemens Medical); Sports (Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens, Madison Square Garden); Media (ESPN, Hearst Corporation) and a host of others. Jeff also works closely with the Anthony Robbins Platinum Partnership, an exclusive membership-only group personally coached by Tony Robbins.
Book Signing: Author, Stephen Carbone
Stephen Carbone is the author of The Air Crash Files: Jet Blast and The Air Crash Files: Thermal Runaway. These two novels are aviation thrillers; the first and second of a trilogy that concludes in the novel: The Air Crash Files: Flameout. They follow the investigatory exploits of Daniel Tenace (pronounced Ten-ah-chey), a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) aircraft maintenance major accident investigator. Tenace overcomes many hurdles, both technical and political, to discover dangers that the aviation industry faces today.
The Author, Stephen Carbone, is a former aircraft mechanic; his experience includes working for a major airline for nineteen years. During this time he acquired his Undergraduate and Graduate degrees in Aviation Safety. He left the industry to take a position with the NTSB as the only airframe and powerplant certificated major accident investigator for aircraft maintenance. During those years he investigated ten accidents, both domestic and international. He designed NTSB courses and taught accident investigation techniques at the NTSB Academy while acting as a liaison to the international accident investigation community.
He left the NTSB to work at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) where he was involved in investigating major airlines, conducting safety audits and writing regulations and guidance. He remained involved with accident investigation for both Headquarters and the Eastern Region. He finished his career at the FAA designing safety courses, managing instruction, and teaching at the FAA Academy. Today he writes for aviation technical magazines and is working on his third novel. Stephen Carbone uses the experience cultivated during his years in investigations, as well as the store of knowledge he has working on the latest technology aircraft. His experiences working in the airline industry gives him a first-hand perspective that shows through in his writing, using the skills born of years of working closely to the industry he loves.
Brian Alexander is a Partner at Kreindler & Kreindler in New York City. He specializes in complex operational and products liability aviation accident cases. Many of his cases have resulted in record-setting recoveries for his clients throughout the world. In addition to assisting his personal clients, his work has also aided in improving safety for the flying public.
The Kreindler & Kreindler practice represents plaintiffs in complex litigation. This firm provides exceptional legal advocacy to protect clients’ rights to ensure the fullest measure of justice allowable by law. These attorneys utilize their unmatched experience and resources to passionately battle for their clients to obtain the best possible outcome for them. Kreindler & Kreindler always treat clients with respect and empathy as they endure, an often, life-altering crisis.
Founder and Senior Partner, Alimonti Law Offices, P.C.
Rick Alimonti is the founding partner of Alimonti Law Offices P.C., based in White Plains, NY. Since 1990, Rick has been handling airlines’ passenger claims as well as claims in product liability, premises liability, aviation insurance coverage, and a broad range of “general aviation” matters. Rick is a member of the mediation panel for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and is an inaugural member of the S.D.N.Y. Mediator Advisory Committee. He is a two-time past co-chair of the American Bar Association’s (Section of Litigation) Committee on Aviation Litigation and has held multiple positions in the leadership of the ABA Section of Litigation. Rick has been increasingly called upon as a speaker on aviation law as well as on more generic topics, including ethics, and ethics in negotiation and mediation. He is also an active private pilot. Alimonti Law offices have been counsel of record on numerous reported decisions at the trial and appellate levels on such diverse issues as federal preemption, personal jurisdiction, the economic loss doctrine, and premises liability. Rick’s frequent presentations have been favorably reviewed by national and international audiences, including his highly acclaimed Aviation/Ethics CLE available online at Lawline.com.
Paul Bowles devotes his law practice to helping large and small companies, individuals, and artists thrive and excel. He is known for his work in complex product liability and commercial litigation, chiefly in the aviation and transportation industries., where he represents Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies in a variety of matters across the United States, into Europe and South America. His wide range of experience helps clients succeed in tackling all aspects of litigation.
As a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on the Tort System, Mr. Bowles helps New York advance its tort legislation with a group of insightful lawyers and judges who bring myriad viewpoints to the table.
Alisa specializes in complex personal injury litigation and products liability with a focus on aviation. Her successes, advocating on behalf of victims, are driven by a passion to make flying safer for everyone. She has experience working on experimental aircraft, helicopter, single engine, and commercial and charter airplane crashes.
In addition to representing travelers who have been injured on commercial flights, she also proudly represents pilots and flight attendants injured on airplanes. Alisa’s cases have been profiled by CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, The Today Show, Le Monde, The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC.com, CNN.com, NBC News L.A., and Macleans Magazine.
Alisa is a former Chair of the Aviation Section for the American Association of Justice, Aviation Section of the King County Bar Association, Chair of the Products Liability Section for the Washington State Association for Justice, and former Newsletter Editor for the Aviation Section of the National Trial Lawyers Association. In 2006 Alisa served as a founding board member of MAMAS, the Mother Attorney Mentoring Association of Washington. In 2007 Alisa served as President of King County Washington Women Lawyers. In 2010 Alisa was honored to be selected to speak at the Washington State Bar Association Best of CLE- Encore of Excellence. And in 2014 Alisa acted as Editor in Chief for the Washington State Association of Justice Product Liability Deskbook.
Other attorneys in the community often call on Alisa for her aviation law expertise. She has unique education in the field of aviation, having studied Air and Space Law at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Alisa moved to Seattle after attending Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. She lives with her husband, Matt Geise and their two daughters in Seattle.
Alisa is licensed to practice in Washington and admitted in the United States District Court Western District of Washington. She has been admitted pro hac vice in Alaska, California, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Minnesota, and Arizona.
As general counsel for Phoenix Air Group in Cartersville, Georgia, Randall “Randy” G. Davis 79L spends about 80 percent of his time on the ground, dealing with the legal complexities that accompany one of the larger international air ambulance and special-mission companies in the world.
The rest of the time, Davis is airborne, flying missions around the world. Recently, he piloted one of several company missions to bring American citizens infected with Ebola back for treatment at Emory University and the University of Nebraska.
Thomas E. “Ted” Dunlap, Esq., is Counsel and Director of Client Relations at RTI. Prior to joining the company, Ted was a litigator in private practice, concentrating on civil litigation and coverage matters while assisting a wide variety of clients with maritime, aviation, product liability, general liability, commercial, and construction issues.
Ted is licensed to practice law in state and federal courts in Maryland and the District of Columbia. He is active on the Aviation and Admiralty Law Committees of the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, and he is a steering committee member on the DRI’s Aviation Law and Corporate Counsel Committees.
Ted’s legal, customer service, and business management experience combine for a unique background that allows him to develop bespoke solutions to the complex issues facing RTI’s sophisticated clientele. In addition, he helps ensure all RTI’s experts have an up to date understanding of the legal standards related to providing expert testimony and serves as an internal reliability consult throughout RTI’s peer review process for expert opinions and reports.
Justin Green joined Kreindler & Kreindler LLP in 1997 and became a firm partner in January of 2003. He focuses his practice on helping families of aviation disaster victims but also represents victims of other transportation accidents and mass torts.
As an aviation lawyer, Justin has successfully represented families in major aviation cases. These include major airline disasters, corporate airplane, and helicopter accidents, civil airplane and helicopter accidents and aviation accidents that have taken the lives of our fellow servicemen and women. He has authored numerous articles on aviation, product liability and wrongful death law.
A guest lecturer on aviation law at Fordham Law School, Justin has also spoken on aviation law and aviation safety at numerous professional conferences. He edits the leading treatise on U.S. aviation law: Kreindler, Aviation Accident Law published by Lexis/Nexis. Many newspaper and news programs have asked him to comment on aviation safety issues and to speak on the rights of aviation disaster victims.
Justin uses the skills he developed as an aviation lawyer to represent victims of other transportation accidents and the victims of corporate wrongdoing. Martindale-Hubbell Lists Justin as an “AV” peer-reviewed lawyer which is the highest rating awarded by the organization. Law & Politics, a publication of Key Professional Medial Inc., has named him a “Super Lawyer” since 2009.
Justin is a member of the American Association for Justice, where he is the immediate past chair of the aviation section. He belongs to the American Bar Association, where he served as vice-chair of the Torts and Insurance Practice’s aviation section, and as a member of the Air & Space Law Section. He is a board member of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, and he is a member of New York’s Federal Bar Council and the New York City Bar Association, where he serves on the aeronautics committee.
Justin learned to fly in the United States Marine Corps and served as his squadron’s aviation safety officer after graduating from the Naval Postgraduate School’s aviation safety program/ He was responsible for his squadron’s aviation safety, and also for investigating accidents. He holds an airplane and helicopter commercial license from the Federal Aviation Administration; he is instrument-rated and has flight time in many different airplanes and helicopters.
He graduated from Union College in Schenectady, New York, and earned his law degree from Fordham Law School in New York City.
Christa Hinckley is a partner in LeClairRyan's Houston, Texas, office, but is primarily based in the Dallas Ft. Worth area. Her practice focuses on general corporate matters across transportation industries, with a particular depth of knowledge of transactions in the aviation industry. Her client list includes flight departments of national and international companies, high net individuals who own or operate personal aircraft, charter operators, transportation management companies, airlines, aviation maintenance technology companies, as well as companies that require transportation regulatory oversight.
Christa has significant experience handling a variety of transactional matters involving domestic and international mergers and acquisitions, regulatory compliance both domestically and internationally, international treaties, aircraft and engine purchases and sales, aircraft leasing and financing transactions, hangaring contracts, renovation and completion agreements, repair maintenance and overhaul agreements, and aircraft management and charter operations.
An experienced enterprise risk management attorney, Christa previously served as managing director of insurance and risk for American Airlines and its affiliates. In this capacity, she responded to four fatal accidents and the September 11 attacks as part of the airline's “go-team.” She also managed the legal and insurance aspects of American Airline’s participation in the Civil Reserve Air Fleet program during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Additionally, she served as one of the initial managing directors of the airline’s Customer Assistance Response Effort, which became one of the templates for other commercial airlines’ family assistance programs.
As a result of this experience, Christa counsels her clients on risk assessment and management, emergency response and preparedness, management of complex multidistrict litigation of insured claims, bodily injury and wrongful death mediation and settlement, resolution of first-party losses, such as property damage, hull losses, and business interruption claims. Christa has significant experience in aviation hull and liability insurance policies, including “War Risk” losses, and counsels her clients regularly on aviation insurance issues.
Christa also has a depth of experience with respect to workers’ compensation, professional liability, and premises liability insurance on behalf of a variety of businesses as well as those operating within the aviation industry.
Additionally, Christa provides pro bono counsel for the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas and is a member of the New York Committee supporting the Human Rights Watch.
Steve Hull is responsible for the aviation business in the UK and Europe. Steve has over 40 years in aviation; he has spent twenty-four of those years either working in or leading, airline safety departments.
He has investigated over 70 incidents and accidents and has led teams to investigate the causal factors and compile comprehensive reports that include recommendations to the airlines’ boards to prevent recurrence. Steve has extensive operational flight experience with over 8,500 flying hours as a flight engineer on the B747 and Concorde.
Steve was the editor of FLYWISE, the British Airways corporate safety magazine which was considered an industry leader and a benchmark in the reporting of safety information. He was the former Chairman of the UK Flight Safety Committee (UKFSC).
Steve presents to several major ‘Blue Chip’ companies including, Shell, BP, NATS, CAA Aviation Medics, Aviation Underwriters plus new pilots and engineers. He has also lectured at the European Centre of Aviation Training and he regularly lectures at Cranfield University on safety and accident investigation.
Steve is an Incorporated Engineer, a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, Membership Secretary of the European Society of Air Safety Investigators and was the initial airline lead investigator after the B777 accident at London Heathrow Airport in January 2008.
Donald G. Machalinski is a Partner in the Insurance practice at Tressler LLP. He concentrates in aviation, product, professional and premises liability litigation, and his practice also includes insurance coverage litigation. Don has an active casualty trial practice as well as an appellate practice for both liability and coverage matters.
Don has achieved an AV® Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, which is a testament to the fact that a lawyer’s peers rank him at the highest level of professional excellence. In 2016, Don was selected for inclusion in Illinois Super Lawyers®. He is also a licensed pilot.
Since entering private practice after serving as a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney, Michael McGrory has represented airlines, airports, aircraft owners and manufacturers in business disputes and lawsuits arising out of accidents. Mike has a unique ability to stay focused and even-keeled even in times of disaster. He takes a thoughtful and direct approach to advising clients in the areas of aviation and aerospace law, commercial litigation, regulatory compliance, and the emerging medical cannabis field.
His non-aviation work involves advising businesses, governmental entities, insurers and insurance brokers in commercial and tort litigation. Having grown up in a police family, Mike is especially proud of his successes defending police officers accused of civil rights violations.
Mike has held a variety of leadership positions in bar and industry organizations and has also demonstrated great commitment to his community. He is particularly passionate about his work on the board of directors for Mental Health America of Illinois, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving treatment and care available to those who suffer from mental and emotional disorders.
James E. Robinson is a partner in the Gordon & Rees Philadelphia office. His practice includes products liability, aviation, commercial litigation, construction and appellate matters. Jim’s clients include major aviation manufacturers, commercial airlines, Part 135 operators, FBOs, certified Repair Stations and aviation insurers. He has handled wrongful death and survival actions, ground handling claims, passenger injury claims, commercial disputes, and aviation product recalls, in a number of jurisdictions around the country, at trial and on appeal.
Jim recently completed a Second ment as in-house counsel to a major aviation manufacturer, which included the negotiation of non-disclosure agreements and vendor contracts, negotiation and resolution of vendor disputes and warranty claims, review and approval of FAA requests, company collaboration and partnering agreements, review of service publications, and various intellectual property issues and disputes. Jim is a regular speaker on aviation law and litigation – most recently on the management of concurrent civil and criminal actions arising from aviation accidents. He currently serves as Vice-Chair of the DRI Aviation Law Committee.
Jim has an active pro bono practice, as a volunteer Child Advocate, representing children who are the victims of abuse, neglect, dependency or crime for which he has been repeatedly recognized by the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania. Jim serves on the Board of the Support Center for Child Advocates.
James F. Rodriguez is a Washington, D.C., attorney who focuses his practice on litigation and dispute resolution. Mr. Rodriguez is a former U.S. Air Force military attorney and satellite engineer. More recently, he served as an Assistant General Counsel with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). His practice focuses on representing the firm's transportation industry clients in accident investigations conducted by the NTSB, accident claims and litigation, mass-disaster litigation, litigation related to space launch and satellite operations, and transportation regulatory matters. He also advises clients on export, import, and related trade issues, as well as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and referrals.
While at the NTSB, Mr. Rodriguez served as the lead agency attorney for major investigations in all modes of transportation, including those of the sinking of the El Faro cargo ship, the crash of the first SpaceShipTwo commercial spacecraft, the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 and the battery fire on a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 at Boston's Logan International Airport. He also was lead agency counsel for investigations of the pipeline explosion in Sissonville, W.Va., the Seastreak ferry accident in New York City, the bridge collapse over the Skagit River in northwestern Washington, the collision between a Metrolink train and a pickup truck in Oxnard, Calif., and the Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia.
Mr. Rodriguez provided the NTSB with extensive knowledge on export control issues, advising on licensing requirements and control of information subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). He liaised with the U.S. Department of State's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) on ITAR matters and the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) on EAR matters, as well as the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on the applicability of economic embargoes to entities involved in NTSB investigations. Mr. Rodriguez was also the lead agency attorney for information law issues. He advised the agency on administrative appeals and litigation under the FOIA, Privacy Act matters, along with the agency's handling of trade secret and confidential commercial information. In addition, Mr. Rodriguez served as an instructor for NTSB Training Center Accident Investigation Courses in Ashburn, Va.
Prior to his work at the NTSB, Mr. Rodriguez was an intellectual property litigation associate at two large law firms, focusing primarily on patent litigation. During that time, he worked on patent litigations involving satellite communications, aircraft avionics, computer networks, speech synthesis, medical devices and handheld music players, as well as copyright disputes surrounding video games. He also is experienced in contract litigation and arbitration over satellite launch failures and government contract teaming agreements. Mr. Rodriguez served in the U.S. Air Force's Judge Advocate General's Corps as a reserve judge advocate. He achieved the grade of major before leaving the service.
Prior to law school, Mr. Rodriguez worked as an engineer for the U.S. Air Force and private industry on military and commercial satellite programs. He managed 100-plus person launch and early orbit checkout teams for the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, installed command and control systems, conducted developmental and operational testing of 13-meter antennas near Fairbanks, Alaska, and developed satellite scheduling software. Mr. Rodriguez is an instrument-rated, commercial pilot and certified flight instructor with approximately 560 flight hours in single-engine aircraft. He previously served as squadron commander for a Civil Air Patrol volunteer search and rescue squadron operating out of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Austin, Texas.
Lisa J. Savitt is a Partner in The Axelrod Firm’s Washington, DC office where she handles international and domestic litigation and alternative dispute resolution, representing foreign and domestic companies in matters involving complex legal, regulatory and technical issues. Much of her international work involves issues relating to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, application of various treaties, jurisdictional challenges, the doctrine of forum non-conveniens and enforcement of foreign judgments. Her extensive industry experience includes representing clients in the aviation, insurance, chemical, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors. Ms. Savitt’s work has included counseling clients and working with counsel globally on matters involving cross-border litigation and application of law from both civil and common law jurisdictions.
Her foreign legal experience spans work in many jurisdictions including Belize, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, England, Ethiopia, France, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Peru, Poland, Taiwan, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Ms. Savitt is a frequent speaker and writer. Ms. Savitt is the Immediate Past Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of International Law. Currently, she serves as the ABA Section of International Law liaison to the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. Ms. Savitt is also a member of the ABA Rule of Law Initiative Middle East and North Africa Council and the ABA Tort Insurance Practice Section. Ms. Savitt is the Chair of the International Committee of DirectWomen. She is a founding member and former President of the International Aviation Women’s Association
Michael J. Schofield has a broad-based civil litigation practice. He has experience in aviation, construction, commercial, insurance coverage and disputes, product liability, and general liability. He is a Certified Mediator and Qualified Arbitrator in Florida, and Mediator and Arbitrator in Alabama. He also serves as an arbitrator, and neutral in other ADR matters. Michael is also an approved continuing education instructor for subjects related to insurance claims, including Property & Casualty, Industrial Fire, Adjuster Ethics, Adjuster Law, Health Law, General Lines and Premium Discounts/Mitigation options.
Mike is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit and Fifth Circuit Courts, all U.S. District Courts in the State of Florida, and all U.S. District Courts in the State of Alabama.
Mike earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida in 1980 and his Juris Doctor from the University of Florida College of Law in 1983 with appellate advocacy honors. Mike also holds a Master’s degree in Theology (Apologetics) from Luther Rice University and Seminary.
Mike is distinguished by being the only Florida Board Certified Specialist in Aviation Law in the entire Florida Panhandle. In his spare time, Mike is an instrument-rated commercial pilot and flies multi-engine and single-engine aircraft, with about 1000 hours of pilot time.
Tracy is an experienced aviation defense attorney who joined AIG Aerospace in September 2015, as a claims attorney handling global aircraft products claims. Tracy obtained a Bachelors of Business Administration degree from the University of Notre Dame in 2002 with a major in Marketing and minor in Computer Applications, and a Juris Doctor degree from Pepperdine University School of Law in 2005 with an additional Certificate in Dispute Resolution.
Tracy began her career in Chicago with Merlo Kanofsky Gregg & Machalinski, defending general aviation claims, airport premises claims, and aircraft products claims. While at MKG&M, Tracy gained significant major accident experience representing Southwest Airlines in litigation arising from the Flight 1248 accident and representing Comair in litigation arising from the Flight 5191 accident. Tracy defended Southwest against the wrongful death claim asserted on behalf of the minor on the ground and his family as well as the suits filed by passengers for bodily injury and emotional distress. In defending Southwest, Tracy assisted with aircraft/wreckage inspection and retention and all phases of litigation including preparing and participating in a focus group which assisted in evaluating settlement and ultimately led to the settlement of the wrongful death claim stemming from the accident. At MKG&M, Tracy went on to work extensively on Comair Flight 5191. Tracy spent considerable time working from Comair headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio on the defense of Comair. Tracy assisted with the defense of all claims and lawsuits filed against Comair for the 47 passengers and 2 crew members killed in the crash. During the defense of Comair, Tracy drafted a motion for summary judgment, ultimately granted by the Court, which dismissed the Plaintiffs’ claim for punitive damages against Comair filed in the last remaining suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.
Tracy later joined the law firm Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith in Atlanta, Georgia, as a partner, where she continued to defend aviation industry clients. Since joining AIG, Tracy has worked extensively on aviation products litigation and has been involved with handling airline, airport and coverage litigation.
Tracy is also actively involved with DRI (Defense Research Institute) and other aviation legal organizations. Tracy is a member of the DRI Aviation Law Steering Committee and DRI Corporate Counsel Steering Committee.
Mr. Tochen focuses on aviation matters related to accident investigations, accident prevention, and regulatory and compliance issues, as well as non-aviation interstate transportation matters.
Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Tochen served as general counsel at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB); deputy chief counsel at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT); and deputy assistant general counsel for environmental, civil rights, and general law at the DOT. As NTSB general counsel, he led the effort to revise agency regulations, including investigative procedures, and prepared an agreement regarding the sharing of aviation safety data among air carriers.
During his tenure at the DOT, he served as the lead attorney in the establishment of the Transportation Security Administration following 9/11. He also was the lead attorney in establishing drug and alcohol testing programs for over 19,000 USDOT/FAA employees performing safety-sensitive duties.
Diane Westwood Wilson has a global practice, representing clients internationally and nationally, with particular expertise in the aviation insurance industry in matters involving airlines, aerospace, aviation, product liability and insurance coverage. In addition, she has over 30 years of complex and multijurisdictional commercial litigation and arbitration experience.
Among other significant matters, Diane represented EL AL Israel Airlines, Ltd., in the landmark United States Supreme Court multilateral treaty case establishing that the Montreal Convention is the exclusive cause of action, barring recovery under any other alternative theory of liability. In addition to handling the Supreme Court proceedings, Ms. Wilson tried the case in the Southern District of New York and argued the appeal in the 2nd Circuit. (EL AL Israel Airlines v. Tseng). She also represented the airline defendants in the Chan v. Korean Air and Olympic Airways v. Hussain Supreme Court cases, and she has been involved in numerous other petitions to the Supreme Court.
Diane provides strategic counseling and representation to a wide variety of airlines, airports, and manufacturers in the aerospace and other industries in state and federal courts, as well as assisting them in long-term strategic business decisions.
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