Scope of Practice
Aviation Litigation generally encompasses any legal, business or real estate matter involving aircraft, airports, air space, pilots, aircraft mechanics, or anyone else with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-issued certificate. It includes voluntary transactions among private parties as well as litigation in state and federal courts, and before the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). It also includes all state and federal regulation of aviation activities.
In short, if airplanes are in anyway involved, the matter falls within our Aviation Practice. Here are some specifics, not intending an exhaustive listing.
- Defense of FAA Enforcement Proceedings
Alleged violations of Federal Aviation Regulations by FAA certificate holders are prosecuted by the FAA through non-criminal administrative proceedings before the NTSB, and also in civil and criminal prosecutions in the federal courts. Our Aviation Practice offers comprehensive legal defense services in all venues.
- Purchase and Sale of Aircraft
Unlike other kinds of personal property, aircraft are subject to federal regulations governing the forms used in conveyancing, and the manner and method by which security interests are perfected and enforced. Title searching is also a federal process. Aircraft are accompanied by extensive operational and maintenance records required by federal law, the presence, completeness and accuracy of which can have a dramatic effect on value, and even on whether or not an aircraft is airworthy and may legally be flown. Our Aviation Practice offers comprehensive legal services focused on preventing surprises, and on legally accomplishing our clients’ intentions in buying or selling aircraft.
- Airport Development and Management
Publicly-owned airports are complex organizations, subject to many local, state and federal regulations, and deriving funding from numerous sources at all three levels of government. They are the sites of an array of aviation activities, such as scheduled airline operations, military flights, chartered air taxis, and personal and business flight operations. In addition to being the venues of government-conducted activities, airports are often the bases for a large assortment of aviation-related private businesses, such as restaurants, maintenance shops, flight schools, and aircraft fueling operations. Our Aviation Practice offers comprehensive legal services to assist in negotiating these complexities on behalf of our clients, whether they are the public entities that own the airport, or private parties operating there. These services include attendance at public meetings, contract preparation, and negotiations.
- Private Airport Development and Management
Although generally much less complex than publicly-owned airports, private airports, which might or might not be open to the public, are much more numerous across the country, and are presented with their own particular legal challenges. Without the power of eminent domain and other legal rights to protect the surrounding airspace, private airfields are often threatened by competing land uses surrounding them, such as the erection of cell towers and other tall obstructions. These airports are often home base to recreational and residential aircraft uses, giving rise to special legal needs such as leasing and condominium development. Our Aviation Practice offers comprehensive legal services to address all these issues pertaining to the development and on-going management of private airports.
- Civil Litigation
In addition to disputes which do occasionally arise from the legal, business and real estate transactions described already, and which sometimes result in lawsuits, people might find themselves pursuing or defending civil claims for other aviation-related reasons as well. Most tragic are aviation accidents which result in property damage, personal injury or death. Our Aviation Practice features seasoned civil litigators who offer our clients the highest degree of expertise in pursuing or defending against such claims when the need arises.