AViCON 2018



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. Through our sponsorship with DRI, we are providing 11 hours CLE and CE Insurance credit.

• September 12:    Late Admission Closes

Trouble with registering? Contact Jeremy Reynolds at avicon@rtiforensics.com

Terms & Conditions

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 avicon@rtiforensics.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 avicon@rtiforensics.com 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 heather.wallinovich@rtiforensics.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 avicon@rtiforensics.com 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 to avicon@rtiforensics.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.

*Details subject to change.


View the 2018 Fact Pattern here.


( Pre-conference ) Afternoon at The Point at Pintail  Sports Clay Outing 2 pm



8:00 A.M.

Registration & Welcome Breakfast


Welcome and Introduction

  • Joseph Reynolds, RTI         
  • Mike McGrory, SmithAmundsen
  • Ted Dunlap, RTI

NTSB Interaction with Foreign Nations

  • James Rodriguez, Holland & Knight
  • Joe Sedor, NTSB Major Investigations
  • Jeff Guzzetti, FAA / AVP-100
  • Daniel Rose, Kreindler & Kreindler
10:15 Networking Break

Back to the Future: Technological Improvement or Disruption? A.I., Automation, and Block Chain.

  • Paul Bowles, Fitzpatrick & Hunt 
  • David Tochen, LeClairRyan
  • Kevin Lenehan, Sikorsky, A Lockheed Martin Company

Networking Lunch & Book Signing

  • Stephen Carbone, author of The Air Crash Files

12:00 P.M.

Negotiating With The Power Of Nice

  • Jeff Cochran, Shapiro Negotiations Institute

Networking Break


Strange Bedfellows: Plaintiff and Defendant Cooperation - To The Consternation of Co-Defendants

  • Tracy Steele, AIG
  • Brian Alexander, Kreindler & Kreindler
  • Petra Justice, Banker Lopez Gassler
  • Morgan Campbell, LeClairRyan

Not Just About the Money: Non-monetary Resolution to Cases

  • Alisa Brodkowitz, Friedman Rubin
  • Jonathan Stern, Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis
  • Heidi Snow, ACCESS
  • Maura Walsh, USAIG
3:45 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, GAMA General Aviation Manufacturers Association
  • Mike Gordon, Piper

Best Practices for Aircraft Engine Inspection

  • Stephen Carbone, author of The Air Crash Files
  • Mark Fitzpatrick, Air Transat
  • Nelson Camacho, QBE North America
  • Robert Braun, Kaplan Massamillo & Andrews

Conference Adjourns to The Inn at The Chesapeake Bay Beach Club

       Networking reception held in Inn Ballroom, parking lot entrance available


AViCON Banquet Dinner & Keynote Presentation "Growing up Rutan"

  • Jill Rutan Hoffman, Aerospace Author, and Speaker



7:00 A.M. Registration & Breakfast

Introductions and Welcome Back                     

  • Steve Hull, RTI

Claims From the Twilight Zone: Passengers, Airports, and Support Animals, Oh My!

  • Don Machalinski, Tressler,
  • Christa Hinckley, LeClair Ryan
  • Keri Ryan, XL Catlin
  • Stephan Fisher, Allianz

Investigating, Prosecuting and Defending Military-Civilian Aviation Accident Cases

  • Michael Schofield, Clark Partington
  • Justin Green, Kreindler & Kreindler
  • Randy Davis,  Phoenix Air Group
  • Brian Lawler, Pilot Law
10:05 Networking Break
10:20 PM

Live ADR Exercise: Where We Resolve All the Claims in Arbitration

  • Ricardo Martinez-Cid, Podhurst Orseck
  • Rick Alimonti, Alimonti Law Offices
  • Jim Robinson, Gordon Rees
  • TBD
11:50 Adjourn

*Speakers and schedule may be subject to change


( Post-conference ) 10th Annual Easton Airport Day Local Air Show 10 am - 2 pm


Thank you to our sponsors




The Aviation Insurance Association is committed to enhancing the aviation insurance industry worldwide and the professional lives of those who work in it through a variety of programs and services.




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.





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.




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.


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.





Holland & Knight is a global law firm with more than 1,300 lawyers and other professionals in 28 offices throughout the world. Their lawyers provide representation in litigation, business, real estate and governmental law. Interdisciplinary practice groups and industry-based teams provide clients with access to attorneys throughout the firm, regardless of location.

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.



Founded in 1950, Kreindler has grown substantially in size, prestige, and experience over the years. We're the largest plaintiffs' aviation law firm in the United States. We have well-established plaintiff transportation (maritime, train, bus, automobile) practices. We have a growing mass tort practice, particularly in the pharmaceutical area. Kreindler tackles complex litigation challenges in many other personal injury, commercial or corporate contexts as well.

Kreindler's practice is national and international in scope. We represent clients in federal and state courts throughout the United States, and the people we serve can reside anywhere in the United States or foreign countries. For nationwide client service in aviation accidents or other complex civil claims, contact a Kreindler lawyer.



SNI is the premier global provider of sales, influence, and negotiation training and consulting. Founded in 1995, and having trained over 250,000 professionals, we are the leader in training, consulting and keynotes in these three specific content areas. We focus on the bottom line, the people, and the tools that drive continued success for the world’s leading organizations every day.

SNI provides a competitive advantage to our clients by maximizing their ability to create mutually beneficial and profitable long-term relationships with peers, vendors, and customers.

Our success is built on helping professionals at all levels use a systematic approach to get more accomplished, faster, and with a higher degree of effectiveness. Founded as Shapiro Negotiations Institute by Ron Shapiro – New York Times Bestselling Author, Attorney, Educator, Sports Agent, and Civic Leader – SNI’s content is based on over 40 years of lessons learned in real-life situations. SNI digs into specific industry and client challenges, so our tools and techniques can be used immediately and repeated with precision.




When Mr. Piper introduced the Piper Cub in 1937, he had a dream. He felt that everyone should fly. And he believed that Piper could provide everyone with that freedom. 130,000 aircraft later, that dream lives on. Today, Piper Aircraft is the only general aviation manufacturer to offer a complete line of aircraft. From rugged, reliable trainers to a high-performance turboprop, from student pilot to experienced aviator Piper creates the freedom of flight for everyone.




Friedman | Rubin is dedicated to giving a voice to the voiceless and holding rule-breakers accountable by skillfully representing injured and mistreated individuals and small businesses at trial. Through individual victories, we achieve a greater good for our communities and the country.

Our work representing plane crash victims, commercial airline passengers, pilots, flight attendants and helicopter crash victims has been nationally recognized. It has resulted in obtaining millions of dollars in compensation for injured clients.

Our expertise in navigating the federal aviation regulations and international aviation treaties, which are particular to aviation law, make us the country’s premier aviation firm to work with in cases such as airplane and helicopter crashes, airline injuries, toxic fumes on aircraft, ramp injuries
and disabled passenger injuries.




Podhurst Orseck continues a legal practice established over fifty years ago, concentrating exclusively in trial and appellate litigation. The firm is dedicated to offering the highest caliber legal representation in both federal and state trial and appellate courts.

The firm′s commercial practice focuses on complex civil litigation of all types. The firm serves as general litigation counsel to several major corporations as well as representing companies and individuals in substantial matters of commercial litigation. The firm’s general tort practice places a major emphasis upon representing claimants in aviation, mass torts, and products liability litigation. From its inception, the firm also has cultivated an appellate practice, handling appeals of not only the firm′s trial lawyers but of other lawyers throughout the nation, in various state and federal appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court. The firm′s practice serves clients residing or based throughout the United States, and in several foreign countries.

Our aviation litigation attorneys have acted as lead counsel, appointed court counsel and/or counsel representing victims in a number of commercial major airline crashes, including: acting as lead Plaintiffs’ counsel in the American Airlines Flight 331, crash in Jamaica, 2010; acting as co-lead trial counsel for the California State Court plaintiffs after a Silk Air crash between Jakarta and Singapore in 1997; acting as lead liaison counsel for the State Court and Federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) plaintiffs′ steering committees over the ValuJet Flight 592 crash, Everglades, 1996, and acting as a member of the MDL plaintiff′s steering committee for the Arrow Air military charter crash, Newfoundland, 1985.


RTI Headquarters and Research Centre
401 Log Canoe Circle

Stevensville, MD 21666


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:

The Inn at The Chesapeake Bay Beach Club

180 Pier 1 Rd, Stevensville, MD 21666

(410) 604-5900

Contact Heather Wallinovich  

 heather.wallinovich@rtiforensics.com  to receive the block price promo code

Includes 20% discount to hotel spa!

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, avicon@rtiforensics.com

Sponsorship Registration Agreement Form

   CHARTER $ 950   

• One complimentary entrance to AViCON conference
• Logo identification in the program, on all ads & brochures, as well as on the website
• Logo included on mass emailing to more than 12,000 aviation defense lawyers through DRI
• Logo included on mass emailing to more than 5,000 aviation defense lawyers through AIA
• Logo included on mass emailing to more than 5,000 aviation professionals through RTI
• Conference brochures for your own mailing


   REGIONAL $ 1,750    

• 8 Available Openings
• All benefits of Charter level
• Branding placement outside of RTI Conference Centre at the event
• Placement in AViCON 2018 Booklet with your companies bio
• Logo included on mass emailing to more than 30,000 aviation professionals through Curt Lewis & Associates
• One 6'x2' Table and two chairs for exhibiting


   NATIONAL   $ 2,850    

• 6 Available Openings
• All benefits of Regional level
• Branding placement inside of RTI Conference Centre at the event
• Company brochure or item in each registration bag
• Half page placement in AViCON 2018 Booklet with your companies bio


   INTERNATIONAL $ 3,950     

• 2 Available Openings
• All benefits of National level
• *Two complimentary entrances to AViCON conference
• **A full-page advertisement in AViCON 2018 Booklet
• Lunch Co-Sponsor

* Maximum of two complimentary entrances

**Limit to either full-page or half-page advertisement



1 Available Opening
• All benefits of International level
• Sponsor hosted table to include VIPs of your choice
• Private VIP room with your branding
• Three-minute promo video shown during the conference


   BAG SPONSOR $ 750   

• 1 Available Opening:  4 Structures
• One complimentary entrance to AViCON Conference

• Company brochure or item in each registration bag

 • Logo identification in the program, on all ads and brochures, as well as on the website

• Conference brochures for your own mailings



Breakfast Sponsor                      $ 750           • Two meals with your branding              A&P Aviation Consulting
Networking Breaks                     $ 250
• One of four available breaks

Reception Dinner Specialities    $ 800
   • Maryland crab cakes, signature drink, etc.

Private VIP Room                       $ 1,000
   • One of three VIP rooms with your companies branding


Sponsorship Registration Agreement Form


*Call the Beach Club front desk (410-604-5900) for pick up from the Bay Bridge Airport 

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

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'

Lights: Pilot Controlled 122.725

Traffic Pattern Turns: left or standard
See Noise Abatement Procedures

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 a serial entrepreneur. She is the daughter of world famous Voyager pilot, Dick Rutan, and niece of legendary aircraft and spacecraft designer, Burt Rutan. 

Jill has dedicated her life to encouraging others to break the law of gravity by creating unique opportunities for people to fly. As the founder of the non-profit, Looking Skyward, Jill sent deserving young adults to many space and aviation camps across the country. Jill also generously donates her time as a mentor to young adults pursuing careers in aviation.

Seeing a growing pilot shortage and lack of innovation in the aviation industry, Jill Founded Path 2 Flight, LLC in 2018, with her husband and Co-founder, Lars Hoffman. Path 2 Flight introduces a whole new community to flight by making it easy for people to find, book and buy exciting flight experiences and flight training opportunities. The company is also passionate about supporting the future of flight by promoting the industry's latest technologies and trends, like virtual reality flight training, electric airplanes and space flights.

Jill Rutan Hoffman's Amazon Author's Page

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.


Stephen Carbone's Amazon Author Page

Faculty Bios

Partner, Kreindler & Kreindler LLP

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.

Partner, Fitzpatrick & Hunt, Pagano, Aubert, LLP

Paul focuses his primary practice on complex product liability and commercial litigation in the aviation industry. He represents Fortune 100 and middle-market companies in a wide variety of matters in his home jurisdiction of New York and across the United States.  Paul’s work representing manufactures covers the spectrum of manufacturers involved in artificial intelligence, UAV technologies, and other sophisticated modern aviation products. Paul’s work also includes supporting the MIT Enterprise Forum of New York as an observer to its board of directors.  This non-profit is dedicated to fostering the growth of world-class technology companies in New York City, representing a critical aspect of the modern economy.

Paul always maintains an eye on the frontline of new and cutting-edge issues in the practice of aviation law.  Recent examples include providing interviews to A.M. Best’s and counseling a Fortune 100 client on the specific topic of the emerging legal landscape presented by UAVs.

Paul has received a peer review rating of AV Preeminent on Martindale Hubbell and was named a Super Lawyers New York Metro Area Rising Star for 2017 and 2018.  In addition to the ABA, Paul is a member of the Defense Research Institute, where he serves on the Aviation Section committee including as its Young Lawyers Section liaison.  Paul also maintains membership in the New York State Bar Association and served on its Committee on the Tort System until 2017, where he commented and made recommendations on state-level tort legislation with judges and fellow lawyers.  Paul is admitted to practice before the state courts of New York and New Jersey, the Federal District Courts for the District of New Jersey, Eastern and Southern Districts of New York, and the United States Supreme Court where he recently briefed the issue of federal preemption within aviation on behalf of the Aerospace Industries Association of America as amicus curiae.

Member, Kaplan, Massamillo & Andrews, LLC

Robert A. Braun is a member of Kaplan, Massamillo & Andrews, LLP. Robert concentrates on aviation, airport, and product liability litigation. From 1999 to 2004, Robert served as an active-duty JAG in the United States Air Force where he tried jury and bench trials and participated in several post-incident crash recoveries and multiple formal Aircraft Major Mishap Accident Investigation Boards. Robert is admitted to practice before the state courts of Illinois, Texas and Wisconsin, and the Federal District Courts for the Northern District of Illinois, the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin, and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Prior to his military service, Robert completed a two-year federal clerkship with the Honorable J. P. Stadtmueller in the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

Partner, Friedman | Rubin

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.

Claims Specialist, QBE

Nelson is an Aviation Claims Specialist with QBE, where he manages the complete investigation, evaluation, and resolution of aviation business segment complex claims, including aircraft hull claims, litigated and non-litigated general liability claims, and product liability claims.  He engages, directs and manages external advisors and vendors, including legal service professionals, discovery vendors, data and security experts and consultants across a highly complex portfolio of aviation insurance matters.

Prior to joining QBE, Nelson practiced aviation law with a firm in New York City, which included all aspects of Aviation insurance and products litigation defense.  Nelson is admitted to practice in the Connecticut and New York State courts, the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  Nelson also worked in the Aviation & Aerospace group of Marsh USA as an Assistant Vice President, where he managed claims and advised clients and industry members.

Nelson is an F.A.A. Airman and Mechanic with Airframe & Powerplant certifications and holder of an F.C.C. General Radiotelephone License, which he exercised while working as an aircraft maintenance technician with major air carriers in New York for over 12 years.

Nelson obtained undergraduate degrees from the City University of New York in Music, Recording Engineering, English and Political Science, prior to earning his law degree from Fordham University School of Law.

He is fluent in Spanish, and is also an Adjunct Instructor for Vaughn College of Aeronautics & Technology and has taught in The City University of New York.


General Counsel, Phoenix Air Group

As general counsel for Phoenix Air Group in Cartersville, Georgia, Randall “Randy” H. 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. 

General Counsel, RTI Group, LLC

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.

Senior Claims Specialist, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS)

Stephan A. Fisher is currently a Senior Claims Specialist in the aviation claims department at Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty in New York.  At Allianz, Mr. Fisher primarily handles passenger claims for bodily injury against major carriers.  Prior to joining Allianz, Mr. Fisher was an attorney at Martinez & Ritorto, P.C. for 15 years, where he represented commercial airlines, aircraft and component part manufacturers, aircraft maintenance companies, aircraft owners and operators, ground handling companies, and FBOs in state, federal, and appellate courts.

Since graduating from Rutgers Law School in 2003, Mr. Fisher has been admitted to the State and Federal Bars of New York and New Jersey, the District Court of Puerto Rico, and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Aircraft Accident Investigator and Aircraft Maintenance Specialist

Mark Fitzpatrick has extensive knowledge and experience as an aircraft accident investigator and aircraft maintenance specialist. Mark has over twenty-five years experience in commercial aviation and has completed certification in both aircraft accident investigation and aircraft appraisals. He continues to hold his Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) License. While at The Southern California Safety Institute, Mark completed courses in aircraft accident investigation, human factors for accident investigations, flight data analysis, gas turbine accident investigation, investigation management, bloodborne pathogen exposure (biohazard risk associated with aircraft accident investigation).

His experience also extends into interfacing maintenance items (DMI’s) from journal logs to computer program, summaries of aircraft reliability for daily briefings, origin and destination surveys, daily airport activity reports from flight operations, and synchronizing serviceable tags with maintenance logs.

Senior Aerospace Engineer with a specialty in Materials Science

Mike Gordon, PE, PEM, has more than twenty years of mechanical and aerospace engineering experience in space & defense programs as well as commercial & general aviation with a specialty in materials science.

Since 2010, he has been employed at a major General Aviation manufacturer as the Chief Engineer with responsibility for Liaison Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, Materials & Processes (M&P) Engineering, Methods Engineering & Production Planning, Quality Engineering & Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE), and Technical Training.  In this capacity, he has participated in and led design and testing efforts for numerous systems present on pressurized aircraft, including doors and door mechanisms. He has been delegated by the FAA as an ODA Engineering Unit Member for all M&P areas, design & construction, service documents, interior flammability, and fire protection of all structural areas (wings, fuselage, & empennage), landing gear, flight controls, door systems, interior arrangements, and major repair/alterations. Mr. Gordon serves as the technical authority on failure analyses of damaged hardware and supports air safety investigations for structure-related failures (including fatigue, corrosion, and environmental effects) as well as flammability issues.

Prior, he served 18 years on the Space Shuttle Program and served as the subsystem manager (SSM) of the Orbiter Leading Edge Structural Subsystem – including all reinforced carbon-carbon (RCC) heatshield components, their attachment, and internal insulation. As SSM, he approved the certification of flight readiness for 26 missions (STS-108 through STS-132). Mr. Gordon was actively involved in the STS-107 Space Shuttle Columbia accident investigation (including leading the wing leading edge reconstruction and over a hundred hours of expert testimonies) and the two-year return to flight effort.  Prior to the SSM appointment, he supported the Space Shuttle Program as a Senior M&P Engineer where he acquired the proficiency with procurement, production, processing, testing, analysis, design, certification, assembly, inspection, and repair of all material types (metallics, ceramics, polymers, & composites). He supported the Shuttle Program for a total of 86 missions (STS-49 to STS-132). Mr. Gordon earned the Advanced Level Systems Engineering certification from the largest aerospace manufacturer and has supported design and maintenance issues for structures and mechanical systems of a wide range of aircraft, spacecraft, and ground support equipment.

Partner, Kreindler & Kreindler LLP

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.

Director; Accident Investigation Division (AVP-100)
Federal Aviation Administration

Jeff Guzzetti has been the director of FAA’s Accident Investigation Division, AVP-100, for the past four years.  This division is responsible for ensuring the integrity and implementation of FAA’s policies for all FAA investigations of aircraft accidents and incidents, including all foreign investigations that involve U.S. aviation products and operations. The division also serves as FAA’s primary liaison with the NTSB.

Jeff has nearly 30 years of experience in aviation safety.  He began his career with the FAA in 1985 as an aerospace engineer trainee at the FAA Technical Center’s Aviation Safety Division in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  Jeff later held positions in systems safety engineering and accident investigation for the Department of the Navy and the Cessna Aircraft Company.  He then joined the NTSB in 1992 and investigated aircraft accidents and incidents for 18 years, first as a field investigator, then as an aerospace engineer for the “go-team,” then as the investigator-in-charge of major investigations, and finally as the Deputy Director for Regional Operations.

In August 2010, Jeff left the NTSB for an appointment as the Assistant Inspector General of Aviation Audits at the DOT’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).  Jeff was responsible for the timely issuance of numerous audit reports and Congressional testimony regarding all FAA programs and has personally testified before Congress regarding aviation safety topics.  In May 2014, Jeff left the DOT OIG to rejoin the world of accident investigation as the manager of the FAA’s Accident Investigation Division in Washington, DC.

Jeff graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a B.S. degree in Aeronautical Engineering.  He is a commercial-rated pilot with multi-engine instrument ratings in airplanes, seaplanes, and gliders.

Director, Safety & Regulatory Affairs
General Aviation Manufacturers Association

Lauren Lacey Haertlein is the Director of Safety and Regulatory Affairs for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). In this capacity, Lauren serves as the primary staff contact for GAMA's safety and legal engagements. Prior to joining GAMA, Lauren was an FDA/healthcare associate at Arnold & Porter in Washington, DC, counseling pharmaceutical and medical device clients and health care providers on matters including FDA compliance, fraud and abuse, reimbursement, clinical trial regulations, government price reporting, and public policy issues.

Lauren received her B.A. in biology and political science from Tufts University and her J.D. and M.A. (in philosophy) from Duke University. Before moving to Washington, DC, she clerked for the Honorable James A. Wynn, Jr. on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. She is an active instrument-rated commercial pilot (ASEL, AMEL).

Partner, LeClairRyan

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.

Aviation Director, RTI London

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.

Shareholder, Banker Lopez Gassler

Petra Justice is a shareholder with the law firm of Banker Lopez Gassler P.A. in Tampa, Florida. She is a graduate of the University of Florida and Stetson College of Law, where she was Executive Editor of the Stetson Law Review. Petra focuses her practice on aviation torts, and she has written and spoken extensively on aviation and product liability issues.  She recently finished her term as Chair of the Florida Bar’s Substantive Committee on Aviation Law,  been named a Florida Rising Star from 2012-2018 (although there’s argument enough that she’s aged out of that category), and a Best Lawyer in America for Aviation Law from 2016-2018.

Petra’s the wife to a prosecutor, a mom to two young children, and in her spare time, usually training for a marathon. If you see her around, wish her good luck at the Chicago Marathon next month.


Founder & Shareholder, Pilot Law

Mr. Lawler received a B.A. in Political Science from Tulane University in 1990 and graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law in 2002. Before and while attending law school, Mr. Lawler served on active duty in the United States Marine Corps as a Weapons and Sensors Officer in the F/A-18D Hornet, including one tour as an instructor in the Hornet. He also served as a Forward Air Controller with an infantry battalion and deployed to the Persian Gulf during 1997-1998 in support of Operation Southern Watch.

From 2001 until he retired in 2018, Mr. Lawler was active in the Marine Corps Reserve where he held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was mobilized in support of the Global War on Terror in 2003 and again mobilized and deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from November 2010 through May 2011. Mr. Lawler was hand-selected to conduct six military aircraft accident investigations, including four as the senior investigator of multi-fatality accidents that claimed a total of 31 lives, most recently the USMC KC-130 mishap in July 2017 near Greenwood, Mississippi. Mr. Lawler is also a private pilot with over 2,000 hours of combined military and civilian flight time and is still active as a contract simulator instructor in the F/A-18 simulators at MCAS Miramar, CA.

Since being admitted to the Bar in December 2002, Mr. Lawler has litigated numerous domestic and international aviation cases including mass commercial aircraft disasters, general aviation accidents and military mishaps, both helicopter and fixed wing. He now concentrates his practice in representing military Reservists/Guardsmen in employment disputes with their civilian employers for violations of USERRA.
Mr. Lawler is admitted to the State Bar of California, United States District Court, Southern, Northern and Central Districts of California, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. He is also a member of several professional organizations including the American Association for Justice, American Bar Association, and Lawyer Pilot Bar Association.

Director, Product Safety, and Litigation, Sikorsky, A Lockheed Martin Company

Kevin is originally from New York City and attended the University of Connecticut (BS-Finance-1982; MBA-1984, JD-2001).  Prior to joining Sikorsky in 2008, he was an associate at LeBoeuf Lamb/Dewey LeBoeuf in Hartford from 2001-2008.  Prior to becoming an attorney, Kevin was a US Naval Aviator, flying as an airborne mine countermeasures mission commander, instructor pilot, and acceptance test pilot in the H-53 aircraft and as an instructor pilot and acceptance test pilot in the UH-60 aircraft.

Kevin Lenehan has been at Sikorsky, A Lockheed Martin Company, since 2008.  He is presently the Director, Product Safety and Litigation, responsible for the management of all products liability, premises, supplier, real estate and general litigation matters.  In that capacity, Kevin has managed major accident litigation in a variety of state and federal court jurisdictions, as well as internationally.  In addition, Kevin works closely with Risk Management and is the counsel for a variety of internal Sikorsky safety organizations, including the Product Safety Board and the Senior Safety Council. 

Sikorsky, based in Stratford, Connecticut, is the designer/manufacturer of the world’s leading helicopters, including the UH-60 Black Hawk, the VH-3 and VH-92 Presidential helicopters, the H-53K King Stallion, and the commercial S-92.  Lockheed Martin is the world’s largest defense contractor and is the designer/manufacturer of, among other products, the F-35 Lightning II, the F-16 Falcon/Viper, and the C-130J Hercules, as well as the Littoral Combat Ship and a variety of other defense, space and advanced technology products.

Kevin is married to the former Mary Abare and has three adult children, Kathryn, Kevin Jr. and Patrick.  Kevin currently serves as the chair of the board of directors of the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center.

Partner, Tressler LLP

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.

Partner, Podhurst Orseck, P.A.

Ricardo M. Martinez-Cid is a partner at Podhurst Orseck, P.A., in Miami. He earned his undergraduate degree in only three years at the University of Miami (B.A. cum laude 1997) and his Juris Doctorate at Yale Law School (J.D. 2000) where he was the William S. Beinecke Scholar. While a law student, Ricardo was a director at Yale’s renowned clinical program. He served on the Board of Directors of the Latino Law Students Association and was an editor of the Yale Journal of International Law. Before joining the firm, Ricardo served as a law clerk to the Honorable James Lawrence King on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. He joined the firm in 2002 and was named a partner in 2005.

Ricardo is an accomplished trial lawyer, having obtained multi-million dollar verdicts on behalf of his clients in both federal and state courts. He has been named “Legal Elite” by Florida Trend Magazine, “Top Lawyer” by both Expert Guides and the South Florida Legal Guide, and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America. According to the National Law Journal, his verdict of over 195 million dollars in the Fondo Vision matter was one of the ten largest jury verdicts of 2010. On multiple years, The Daily Business Review has recognized him at its Most Effective Lawyers’ event.

Although Ricardo handles select commercial matters, much of his practice involves personal injury, wrongful death, and product liability cases with a focus on mass torts and aviation litigation. He is experienced in Multi-District Litigation and currently serves on the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee for the NFL Concussion Litigation.

Ricardo is Board Certified in Aviation Law, thereby accrediting him as an expert within the field of practice. According to the Florida Bar, certification is its highest level of evaluation of competency and experience within an area of law, as well as professionalism and ethics in practice. In addition to handling general aviation cases involving fixed-wing and rotary aircraft, Ricardo regularly represents victims of commercial aviation disasters. He has been appointed lead counsel or otherwise taken a leadership role in many of these cases, including American Airlines Flight 331, Jamaica (2009); SpanAir Flight 5022, Spain (2008); TACA Airlines, Flight 390, Honduras (2008); Santa Barbara Airlines, S.A., Flight 518, Venezuela (2008); TAM Airlines, Flight 3054, Brazil (2007); GOL Flight 1906, Brazil (2006); Comair Flight 5191, Lexington, Kentucky (2006); Chalk’s Ocean Airways Flight 101, Miami Beach, Florida (2005); Helios Airways Flight 2U522, Cyprus (2005); Tropical Air Flight 1301, Haiti (2003); Scandinavian Airlines Flight 686, Milan, Italy (2001); TAESA Airlines Flight 725, Mexico (1999); and Silk Air Flight MI 185, between Jakarta and Singapore (1997).

Ricardo was appointed by the Florida Supreme Court to serve on the Standing Committee on Fairness and Diversity and by the Chief Justice to serve on his Pro Bono Advisory Committee. He is Co-Chair of the Aviation and Space Law Committee of the American Bar Association, a Past Chair of the Aviation Law Section of the American Association for Justice, the Immediate Past President of the Cuban American Bar Association, and he serves on the Board of Governors of the American Association of Justice and of the Florida Justice Association

Ricardo has authored and published work for the American Bar Association, Westlaw Journal, and the American Association for Justice. He is a frequent lecturer on aviation law and general trial tactics. The many venues he has been invited to speak at including American Bar Association programs in New York and Washington, D.C.; the Southern Methodist University Air Law Symposium in Dallas; the PEOPIL/McGill University Conference on Aviation Law and Insurance in Amsterdam; the Embry-Riddle University Aviation Law and Insurance Symposium in Orlando, and AviCon Conferences in London and New York City. He has also served on the faculty of the Al J. Cone Trial Advocacy Institute.
He is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Partner, SmithAmundsen

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.

Senior Vice President & Airline Claims Division Manager, USAIG

Sherry J. Ortiz, Senior Vice President, Airline Claims Division Manager, United States Aircraft Insurance Group, (USAIG) handles Airline, General Aviation and Manufacturing claims, including special projects, litigation management, claims process management, airline emergency response and Family Assistance Act guidance, trial preparation, legal research, and investigation.
Before joining USAIG, Sherry was employed at Trope & DeCarolis, LLP in Los Angeles, the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Regional Counsel for the New England Region, the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts, Roxbury Public Defenders and various legal aid entities.

Sherry graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a B.S. in Aerospace Studies, Magna Cum Laude, including minors in Aviation Safety, Aircraft Accident Investigation, Atmospheric Environmental Science, and Humanities.
At Embry-Riddle Sherry was elected as President of the Student Body and served on the Board of Trustees, a member of Sigma Tau Delta (National English Honor Society), Omicron Delta Kappa (National Leadership Honor Society), Staff Reporter for the campus newspaper (The Avion), recognized as the Outstanding Graduate for her degree program and awarded the Jay Adams Community Service Award.
She received her Juris Doctor degree from Boston College Law School in 2003. She is admitted to practice law in the Courts of New York. Law school awards and accomplishments include winner of the ABA Negotiation competition and member of the
Boston College National Negotiation Competition Team, member of the Boston College National Mock Trial Team and ABA regional finalist, and co-chair of the Board of Student Advisors.

Sherry’s volunteer work includes being a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) at the Edelman's Children’s Court in Los Angeles and a volunteer attorney at the Irish Immigration Center in Boston, Massachusetts. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association, IAWA, Wings Club and Mensa. Sherry has been a pilot for more than 20 years.

Partner, Gordon, Rees, Scully, Mansukhani, LLP

James E. Robinson is a partner in the Philadelphia office of Gordon & Rees where his practice includes the defense of aviation, products liability, commercial litigation, construction and appellate matters. Jim’s clients include major manufacturers, commercial airlines, pilots, Part 135 operators, FBOs, certified Repair Stations and aviation insurers. He has handled wrongful death and survival actions, product liability and construction defect claims, commercial litigation, ground handling claims, passenger injury claims, commercial disputes, and product recalls, in a number of jurisdictions around the country, at trial and on appeal.

Jim currently serves as a Vice-Chair of the ABA TIPS Aviation and Space Law Committee and is immediate past Chair of the DRI Aviation Law Committee, and a member of the DRI Judicial Task Force.

Jim has an active pro bono practice 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 and was honored as a Distinguished Advocate. Jim serves on the Board of the Support Center for Child Advocates.

Jim is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and before the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit and 4th Circuit, the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Middle Districts of Pennsylvania, and the District of New Jersey.

Senior Counsel, Holland & Knight

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.

Partner, Kreindler & Kreindler

Daniel Rose joined Kreindler & Kreindler LLP in 1997 and became a partner in 2004. He specializes in aviation, maritime and products liability accident litigation.
Mr. Rose has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Binghamton University and is a graduate of Fordham University Law School, where he was on the Dean’s List and a member of the Fordham International Law Journal. After law school, he served as Law Clerk to United States District Court Judge Paul V. Gadola in the Eastern District of Michigan.
Before attending law school, Mr. Rose served in the United States Navy as a carrier-based attack pilot on board the U.S.S. Independence, where he participated in Desert Shield.
Mr. Rose is a licensed commercial multi-engine airplane and seaplane pilot with instrument ratings. He has accumulated over 1,500 hours of flight time.

Mr. Rose has handled numerous commercial airline, commuter, military and general aviation crash cases, including the American Airlines Flight 587, SwissAir Flight 111, Comair 5191 and Colgan/Continental Flight 3407 litigations. He has prosecuted numerous product liability cases involving a wide range of aviation products including engines, fuel systems, autopilot systems, avionics and flight control systems against various defendants including Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, Airbus, Raytheon, Beech, Cirrus, Cessna, Mitsubishi and Piper.
Mr. Rose has also prosecuted numerous maritime negligence and wrongful death claims under the Jones Act, the Death On the High Seas Act and the General Maritime Law against various defendants including Lockheed Martin, Vulcan Materials, Bean, Moran and other maritime employers as well as passenger claims against cruise lines such as Princess and Carnival and claims arising out of the tour boat capsizing on Lake George.

Mr. Rose has also prosecuted numerous products liability cases involving automotive defects including claims against Ford, General Motors, Nissan and Volvo.
Mr. Rose has tried cases in federal and state courts.
Mr. Rose is admitted to the bars of New York and New Jersey, the United States District Courts for the Southern, Eastern and Northern Districts of New York, the District of New Jersey, the Western District of Michigan, the Northern District of Illinois and the Northern District of Florida. He is also admitted to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, where he has successfully argued appeals. He has appeared pro hac vice in numerous courts throughout the United States.
Mr. Rose is the current Chair of the American Bar Association, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, Aviation & Space Law Committee and the current Chair of the American Association for Justice (“AAJ”) Aviation Law Section; and is a member of the AAJ Admiralty Law Section; the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Aeronautics Committee; the Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
Mr. Rose is an approved volunteer pilot for the Veterans Airlift Command (www.veteransairlift.org) where he flies wounded veterans of Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and their families for medical and other compassionate purposes.

Assistant Vice President – Aerospace Claims.

Lili is the Assistant Vice President at AIG Aerospace in New York.  She has over 10 years of litigation experience defending airlines, and handling general aviation and product liability claims.  She is experienced in negotiating high exposure complex claims.  Prior to joining AIG, Lili was a senior claims specialist with a large international insurer, focusing on aviation claims and coverage matters.  

Lili also worked in private practice as an aviation attorney in New York and New Jersey.  She was an attorney with LeClair Ryan’s Newark office handing aviation defense matters and products liability claims in New York and New Jersey, including the representation of several carriers and commercial airlines in aviation wrongful death claims and claims involving breach of contract.  As an attorney at Condon & Forsyth in New York, she had litigated claims involving the Montreal Convention, the Airline Deregulation Act, and other aviation-related statutes within the U.S.  She is a graduate of Tulane Law School and has practiced before the state and federal courts of New York, New Jersey, and Florida.  She has a B.A. from Dartmouth College with a major in Government.

Vice President – Senior Claims Specialist Aviation and Claims Manager for the Crisis Management Group, XL Catlin

Keri Ryan joined XL Group in 2004 and manages claims litigation instituted by plaintiffs against XL insureds across the United States.  She often directly negotiates the settlement of XL insureds claims with plaintiffs and their counsel as well as with unrepresented claimants directly.
Keri has 20 years of insurance industry experience and ten years in aviation insurance.  Her previous experience includes management positions with AXA as Assistant Vice President, Property and Excess Umbrella and with AIG as Senior Claims Examiner, International General Liability.   In addition to her duties working with the U.S. and Canadian aviation books of business Keri’s responsibilities also include overseeing XL’s product recall claims.
Keri earned a law degree from Brooklyn Law School.

Partner, The Axelrod Firm

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 in state and federal courts around the U.S.  She has worked with counsel around the U.S. and in many foreign countries. Her extensive industry experience includes representing clients in the aviation, insurance, chemical, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors.  Lisa has handled multi-party product liability cases, tort cases, and commercial disputes. She also counsels clients on commercial and business-related issues such as product liability and risk management as well as crisis management.

Ms. Savitt’s litigation experience includes working with experts in a number of fields including electrical experts, engine experts, metallurgical experts, accident reconstruction experts, forensic pathologists and economic experts.  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.
Lisa is a former Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of International Law and currently serves on the ABA Rule of Law Initiative Council for the Middle East and North Africa and is the Section’s liaison to the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession.  She is a founding member and former President of the International Aviation Women's Association.  Lisa is also on the Board of the non-profit organization A Child for All (www.acfacorp.org) which helps vulnerable children in Mali.

Lisa is a frequent speaker and writer on international litigation issues.  Presentations in which she has served as a panelist include “Aviation Challenges and Legal Responses,” at the International Aviation Women's Association 29th Annual Conference, Berlin, Germany, “Helicopter Crash Litigation,” AVICON Conference, Stevensville, Maryland, “Trying the Aviation Case:  Ethical and Practical Pitfalls from Experienced Aviation Counsel,” at the Aviation Insurance Association Annual Conference, “The Challenges of Defending Litigation in the Mexican, Canadian and U.S. Judicial Systems” at the ABA Section of International Law North American Forum in Vancouver, “International Litigation in the United States Involving Foreign Parties,” at the Korean Bar Association in Seoul, Korea, and “In the Tentacles of the U.S. Civil Justice System and How EU Companies Can Prepare For It – An Update,” at the Wolf Theiss Litigation Forum in Vienna. She has also served as moderator and speaker at a number of other international and commercial litigation forums.

Shareholder, Clark Partington Attorneys at Law

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.

Michael J. Schofield is licensed to practice in Florida and Alabama.

Chief, Major Investigations, Office of Aviation Safety

Joe Sedor joined the Office of Aviation Safety in September 1998 and became Chief of the Major Investigations division in October 2012. The Major Investigations division is responsible for and manages the Investigator in Charges (IIC) for all domestic air carrier accident/incident investigations, such as Asiana flight 214, or as U.S. Accredited Representatives in accordance with ICAO Annex 13 for foreign air carrier investigations, such as Malaysian Airlines flight 370.  The division is also responsible for leading investigations into any FAA licensed commercial space launch/reentry accidents such as the SpaceShip2 accident. Mr. Sedor began his career with the Safety Board as a Systems Investigator and became a Major Investigation IIC in 2001.

Prior to joining the Safety Board, Mr. Sedor was a flight test engineer/pilot with the Cessna Aircraft Company where he worked primarily on the development and certification of the Citation X business jet.  Mr. Sedor has a BSE in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan, and an MS from the University of Tennessee Space Institute.

Partner, Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis

Stephen Shapiro is a partner in and co-chair of the Litigation Services Department, chair of the Communications and Media Practice Group, and member of the Aviation Group and Financial Services Litigation Practice Group. He represents a broad range of commercial clients in complex litigation matters, with a particular focus on the financial services and airline industries.

In his commercial practice, Mr. Shapiro litigates cases involving allegations of fraudulent conduct, breaches of fiduciary duty, violations of consumer financial protection laws, malpractice, trademark/trade name infringement, theft of trade secrets, copyright infringement, shareholder disputes, breach of contract and warranty, defamation and invasion of privacy.

In his airline practice, Mr. Shapiro defends the nations’ largest commercial airlines against claims by passengers. He has litigated numerous claims governed by the Montreal Convention, as well as claims arising under state law that incorporate standards of care from federal aviation regulations.

Before entering the legal profession, Mr. Shapiro worked as a news photographer for several newspapers and brings real-world experience and industry knowledge to his communications and media practice.

Founder & CEO of AirCraft Casualty Emotional Support Services (ACCESS) and the author of Surviving Sudden Loss: Stories from those who have lived it.

Heidi Snow’s world was forever changed on July 17, 1996, when her fiancé died aboard TWA Flight 800. She was left in unspeakable grief. While most people expected her to move beyond her loss after the funeral, she desperately needed to find someone who understood how to help her move through her grief. She realized that what was missing was a long-term, non-political, non-denominational, peer grief support network for those touched by sudden loss. Heidi dedicated herself to assuring that no one else would have to go through the loneliness, isolation, and grief that she had suffered by giving the grief-stricken the opportunity to find support and hope for the future in the wake of their losses. In 1996, Heidi founded the non-profit organization, AirCraft Casualty Emotional Support Services (ACCESS - accesshelp.org) which has been providing care to thousands of people affected by air disasters and sudden loss for over 21 years

Heidi has been featured as CNN’s most Extraordinary People and ACCESS is recognized as CNN’s Global Impact organization. Heidi has been featured in hundreds of major news publications and appeared on major television networks including: The New York Times, People Magazine, Life Magazine, Anderson Cooper, The Lead with Jake Tapper, CNN’s Legal View, Ashleigh Banfield, Fox, Judge Jeanine, CNN New Day with Chris Cuomo, Larry King Live, National Geographic Channel, A&E, CNN, CBS, NBC and ABC. Heidi was the New Yorker of the Week on the NY1 News channel in New York City.

Heidi is the author of the book, Surviving Sudden Loss: Stories from those who have lived it. This book contains 28 firsthand accounts of survival in the wake of the sudden loss of a loved one. The stories presented in this book serve as a specialized training tool for crisis response teams, airlines, law firms and all individuals who interact with those who have lost loved ones suddenly.

Heidi has interviewed hundreds of individuals affected by all types of sudden loss from around the world to produce the documentary film, For Survivors by Survivors, to assist grieving individuals and to train crisis responders, airlines, insurers, law firms, disaster response teams and other individuals who provide care and services to those who have lost loved ones suddenly.

Since its founding in 1996, ACCESS has grown exponentially with a 24-hour hotline, a Volunteer Grief Mentor Training Program with 250 on-call trained Volunteer Grief Mentors. ACCESS has helped thousands of people through their grief.  Airlines from New York City to Qatar and New Zealand utilize its counseling services. Heidi presents Crisis Communications Sensitivity Training Workshops to individuals at companies and airlines who work with those affected by air disasters to ensure that employees will be appropriately understanding and responsive to the bereaved. The workshops teach sensitivity and crisis communication skills necessary to address the labile emotional environment in the aftermath of a tragedy.

Heidi trains and presents to airlines, clinicians, bereavement organizations, disaster responders, insurers and law firms including Virgin America, the National Transportation & Safety Board (NTSB) JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Air New Zealand, Qatar Airways, SkyWest, Heritage Flight Charter Airline Company, Cathay Pacific, Travelers Aviation, New York City Medical Examiners Office, San Francisco International Airport Emergency Operations Team, the American Red Cross, World Congress on Stress, Trauma and Coping, sponsored by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) in New York and the NJ Self-Help Center, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) in Washington D.C, National Settlement Services Trade Association, the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Aviation & Law Insurance Symposium, Dombroff Gilmore & French “An Airplane is Down” Symposium, SMU Aviation & Law Symposium, Aviation Insurance Association (AIA), Joan Lunden’s Camp Reveille, Bereavement Training Program, the American Bar Association (ABA), Hospice, Harvard Brigham & Women’s - Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Center for Grieving Children, Circle of Care Children’s Bereavement Center, Kara Bereavement Center, William Allonson White Institute, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and Stanford Hospital.  After 9/11 Heidi designed and implemented counseling workshops for the loved ones of the victims and for those who witnessed the events of 9/11 and trained crisis responders in New York City and Boston. Heidi is a consultant and provides evaluation services during full-scale air disaster emergency response exercises, including water landing drills at San Francisco International Airport and JetBlue Airways emergency air disaster response drills at JFK Airport.

Assistant Vice President, AIG Aerospace

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.

Counsel, Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis

Mr. Stern brings to the law practical experience in, and knowledge of, the aviation industry. He has worked as an aviation research analyst, writing amendments to the Federal Aviation Regulations, a flight instructor, preparing students for their private and commercial pilot and instrument rating exams, and an air traffic controller, guiding airliners to a safe landing at Washington National Airport. Since transitioning to the practice of law in the mid-1980s, Mr. Stern has represented airlines, aerospace manufacturers, aerospace insurers, airmen, and other aviation businesses and individuals. In addition to handling product defect, premises liability, personal injury, negligence, and civil rights cases, he counsels clients on difficult insurance coverage and claims handling issues.

Mr. Stern has been ranked in Chambers for the last several years. Comments have included: "Clients say he is 'responsive and highly skilled.'" (2018); "very, very bright and articulate. He knows the ins and outs of cases and is quite formidable in oral argument" (2017); "He draws upon his significant industry experience to provide excellent representation to a client base of airlines, insurers, manufacturers and other aerospace entities" (2017); "highly professional and competent" (2016); "noted for his knowledge of federal pre-emption, insurance coverage disputes and civil rights claims against airlines" (2016); "outstanding [with an] ability to communicate persuasively and credibly and to demonstrate the salient factors of the case" (2015); a "trusted advisor" to his clients (2014). 

The Legal 500 USA has listed Mr. Stern since 2014, describing him as a "highly experienced aviation law attorney" who "brings a depth of knowledge to bear." Mr. Stern is a frequent guest speaker and prolific author of articles and books on aviation and the law. He focuses his pro bono efforts on the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, and, as a member of the Project's Screening Committee, reviews claims of actual innocence by incarcerated persons. He also volunteers his time to Oasis, where he teaches senior citizens on uses of technology.

Counsel, LeClairRyan

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.

Founder and Managing Member, Torricella Law

Robert is the founder and managing member of Torricella Pastor, PLLC, a Miami-based civil and commercial litigation firm with aviation defense and aviation commercial litigation among its practice emphases. Torricella Pastor is a law firm member of the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF) and is an associate member of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).

Robert has been involved in the litigation of aviation-related disputes for over 20 years. Throughout his career, he has represented passenger and cargo airlines, aircraft and aircraft engine owners and lessors, product manufacturers, MRO facilities, ground handlers, fuel suppliers, flight schools and other aviation interests in the defense of personal injury, wrongful death and other tort claims, as well as in connection with the litigation of business disputes. He has participated in the defense of several commercial and general aviation crash matters, most notably including the August 7, 1997 crash of Fine Airlines Flight 101 in Miami, Florida and the September 29, 2006 crash of GOL Airlines Flight 1907 in Mato Grosso, Brazil, both of which involved post-accident criminal investigations running parallel to ongoing civil accident investigations and litigation. In connection with the Flight 1907 accident, Robert served as counsel to ExcelAire and its pilots, managing aspects of the legal and public relations response from Brazil during the lengthy detention of the ExcelAire pilots as part of the criminal accident investigation.

Robert is admitted to practice in the State of Florida, before the United States District Courts for the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida and before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. He is rated AV-Preeminent® by Martindale Hubbell and is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, a trial lawyer’s honorary society. He is a member of the American Bar Association’s Tort and Insurance Practice Section and its Forum on Air and Space Law, as well as the Aviation Insurance Association and the Greater Miami Aviation Association. He is fluent in Spanish.

Vice President - Claims Attorney, USAIG

Maura is a Vice President and  Claims Attorney at USAIG  in New York with over 10 years of litigation experience in the aviation, aerospace and defense industries. She currently manages litigation and claims for USAIG's Airline department.  She has also worked with general aviation and products liability claims and continues to assist in those areas.  
Prior to joining USAIG, Maura worked in private practice as an aviation attorney in New York and New Jersey.  Maura was an attorney with Mendes &  Mount, LLP and Fitzpatrick & Hunt, LLP focusing mainly on products liability cases for international aircraft parts manufacturers.  She earned her J.D. from Seton Hall Law School and was a Presidential Merit Scholarship recipient.  Maura is licensed in the states of New York and New Jersey and is admitted to practice in the Southern and Eastern districts of New York.  She has B.A from the  College of  William and Mary in Virginia and taught English in Japan prior to attending law school.   Maura is a mentor for Camp G.O.A.L.S. for girls which focuses on STEM.  She is also a member of Women in Aviation and IAWA.


Partner, LeClairRyan, LLP

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.

Diane has represented international airlines in multiple U.S. Supreme Court cases, including EL AL Israel Airlines.in the landmark multilateral treaty case establishing that the Montreal Convention is the exclusive cause of action, barring recovery under any other alternative theory of liability. She regularly represents product manufacturers and airlines in litigation throughout the U.S.

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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