Moot Court Argument on Forum Non Conveniens

A Pre-Trial Moot Court Argument on Forum Non Conveniens

Should domestic courts hear claims for accidents arising in foreign jurisdictions? Listen to a lively debate that may include a discussion of the five (six) jurisdictions under the Montreal Convention of 1999, the West Caribbean Airways case, the Helios case, the Gol midair collision and others.
Following the Moot Court argument, the lawyers will turn to the audience for a candid discussion of their strategic and tactical considerations in advocacy. These two prominent aviation tort lawyers will argue the motion before an appellate judge, a former Dean of the McGill University Faculty of Law.

Judge: Hon. Nicholas Kasirer (Court of Appeal of Québec, Montreal)


For the Plaintiff: Steven Marks (Podhurst Orseck P.A., Miami)

For the Defendant: Allan Mendelsohn (Cozen O’Connor, Washington, DC)


Forum Non Conveniens and Mock Trial Fact Pattern
All Along the Watchtower: Forum Non Conveniens in International Aviation

Pictures (click here)

Hon. Nicholas Kasirer

Hon. Nicholas Kasirer Justice Kasirer is a graduate of University College (B.A. (hons)) at the University of Toronto, McGill University (Bachelor of Civil Law and Bachelor of Laws) and the Université de Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne) (D.E.A. 3e cycle). A member of the Bar of Quebec since 1987, he was appointed to the Court of Appeal on July 29, 2009.

After articling at the law firm of Stikeman Elliott, Nicholas Kasirer began his career as a law clerk to Justice Jean Beetz of the Supreme Court of Canada. In 1989, he joined the Faculty of Law as an Assistant Professor, and was appointed James McGill Professor of Law in 2002. In 1996 he was named Director of the Quebec Research Centre for Private and Comparative Law to succeed the Centre’s founder, Professor Paul-André Crépeau. In 2003, Nicholas Kasirer was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Law at McGill and served in that position until 2009. He was Chair of the Conseil des doyens des facultés de droit du Québec from 2005 to 2008 and is a past President of the Association des professeurs de droit du Québec. He has served on the editorial boards of several legal periodicals, including the Revue internationale de droit comparé (Paris), the Estates and Trusts Reports, the Canadian Legal Education Annual Review, the Canadian Journal of Law and Society, the Revue de droit de l’Université de Sherbrooke, The Philanthropist and the Journal of Civil Law Studies (Louisiana) among others. He has been a visiting professor at the Université de Paris I and the Université de Montréal, among others.

As a law professor, Nicholas Kasirer taught principally in the fields of family law and property in both the civil law and common law traditions. He served for many years as Secretary to the Editorial Committee of the Dictionnaire de droit privé and Private Law Dictionary and has been co-editor, with Professor Jean-Maurice Brisson, of a widely used Critical Edition of the Civil Code of Québec. Over the course of his career, he was awarded several prizes for his university activities including the Prix de la Fondation du Barreau, the Hessel Yntema Prize of the American Society of Comparative Law, the David Johnston Medal from McGill University and the John W. Durnford Teaching Prize from its Faculty of Law. He was elected a Titular Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law in 2006. Justice Kasirer is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.


Steven Marks

Steven Marks Steven C. Marks holds a BA from the University of Florida (cum laude) and a JD from the University of Miami (cum laude), where he was editor–in–chief of the Law Review. He is currently an alumni editorial-board member of the University of Miami Law Review. Steve is admitted to the Florida Bar. He is a member of the Bar and Gavel Law Society and the Order of the Coif, and is on the Board of Directors of the University of Miami Law School Alumni Association (2003 to 2006).

He is a member of the Dade County Bar Association, American Bar Association (Aviation & Space Law Committee, Program Planning Committee for National Institute on Aviation Litigation, editorial board member, Torts and Insurance Practice Section and Tort and Insurance Law Journal Committee, and The Brief); The Florida Bar; Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers; The Association of Trial Lawyers of America (Aviation Law Section, Aviation Section); Dade County Trial Lawyers; Lawyer–Pilots Bar Association; American Board of Trial Advocates (Miami Chapter); Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America, Trial Lawyers Honorary Society, and the Inns of Court.

Listed in Florida Trend's "Florida Legal Elite," 2009; Florida Super Lawyers, 2006-2010; Lawdragon 500 Leading Litigators "New Star" 2006 and 2007; South Florida Legal Guide, Top Lawyers, 2007-2011; The Guide to the World's Leading Aviation Lawyers, 2008-2010; Best Lawyers in America 2007-2010; Chamber's USA's Guide to Leading Lawyers for Business (2008, 2009, 2010).

Steve focuses on personal injury and wrongful death litigation, product liability, aviation litigation, commercial litigation, class actions, premise liability and admiralty.

He has acted as lead counsel, appointed court counsel and/or counsel representing victims in a number of commercial major airline crashes, including: acting as lead Plainiff's 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 multi–district 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.

General and major commercial airline crashes he has handled include, among others: Central American Airways Flight 731, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, 2011; Conviasa Airlines, Flight 2350, Bolivar, Venezuela, 2010; Aires Airlines Flight 8250, San Andres Island, Colombia, 2010; Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409, Mediterranean Sea, 2010; American Airlines Flight 331, Kingston, Jamaica, 2009; Air France Flight 447, Atlantic Ocean, 2009; Colgan Air - Continental, Flight 3407, Buffalo, New York, 2009; Aeroflot-Nord, Flight 821, Perm Airport, Russia, 2008; SpanAir, Flight 5022, Barajas Airport, Spain, 2008; TACA Airlines, Flight 390, Tegucigalpa,Honduras, 2008; Santa Barbara Airlines, S.A., Flight 518, near Merida, Venezuela, 2008; TAM Airlines, Flight 3054, Congonhas Airport, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2007; Comair Flight 5191 on take off from Lexington, Kentucky, 2006; Sibir Airlines Flight 778 from Moscow Russia, 2006; GOL Airlines, Flight 1907, mid–air collision in the Amazon, Brazil 2006; Chalk′s Ocean Airways Flight 101 air disaster, Miami, FL, 2005; Helios Airways air disaster near Cyprus, 2005; Tropical Air, LET 410, Cap Haitian, Haiti, 2003; mid–air collision over German airspace involving Bashkirian Airlines Flight 2937 and DHL Flight 611, 2002; American Airlines, Flight 587, crash in Belle Harbor, Queens, N.Y., 2001; Papillon Airways, Inc. Eurocopter AS350–B2 helicopter in the Grand Canyon, AZ, 2001; Scandinavian Airlines at Linate Airport, Milan, Italy, 2001; Air France Concorde tragedy 2000; Bell Helicopter BH 407 in Brazil, 1999; Cubana Air, Flight 3010, YAK–42, Valencia, Venezuela, 1999; TAESA Airlines Flight 725 from Uruapan, Michoacan, Mexico, 1999; Hot Air Expeditions, near Cave Creek, AZ, 1999; Occidental Petroleum′s chartered Boeing 737 in Peru′s northern jungle, 1998; American Airlines, Flight 1420, Little Rock, Arkansas, 1999; TAME Flight 422 near Bogota, Colombia, 1998; Swissair, Flight 111, Atlantic Ocean near Hailfax, Nova Scotia, 1998; Silk Air, Flight MI185, Palembang, Indonesia, 1997; Fine Air, Flight 101, Miami, FL, 1997; Bell 407 helicopter in the Andros Islands, 1996; Millon Air Flight 406 en route to Miami, Florida from Manta, Ecuador, 1996; ValuJet, Flight 592, Florida Everglades, 1996; Aero–Peru Flight 603 en route to Santiago, Chile from Lima, Peru, 1996; Aviation Development Corp. Airlines, Nigeria, 1996; Tarom Airlines, Flight R0371, Bucharest, Romania, 1995; El Al cargo, Amsterdam, Holland, 1992; Surinam Airways Flight PY764 in Paramaribo, Surinam, 1989; Grand Canyon Airlines, Grand Canyon National Park Airport, AZ, 1989; and Independent Air Flight 1851, Bergamo, Italy, 1989.

He also acts as lead trial counsel for countless victims of general aviation and military accidents, many involving foreign claimants, ranging from air balloons, flight training, ground school, air ambulances, banner planes, aerobatics, helicopters, and propeller, turbo–prop and jet–powered aircraft, including, but not limited to, Cessna, Cirrus, Beechcraft, Piper, Bellanca, Lear Jets, Citation Jets, Bell helicopters, Sikorsky helicopters, Robinson helicopters, Aerospatiale helicopters and countless other aviation manufacturers, operators, maintenance facilities and private & public air traffic control centers.

Allan Mendelsohn

Allan Mendelsohn Allan Mendelsohn is of counsel to the firm where he represents companies involved in transportation industry matters before the courts, federal agencies and departments, and the Congress. He has also litigated transportation related and other cases in the federal district and appellate courts and regularly works with the Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Agency, and the Department of State in connection with both transportation and general international legal issues. He has extensive experience as an arbitrator in both single and tripartite arbitrations involving both domestic and international issues.

In addition to serving as deputy assistant secretary of state for transportation affairs during 2000 - 2001, Allan served as an attorney in the State Department’s Legal Advisor’s Office from 1963-1968. During both periods, he was deeply involved in all areas of aviation and maritime law and policy. He worked on the 1963 Tokyo Convention on hijacking, on amendments to the liability provisions of the Warsaw Convention, on the 1966 Montreal Intercarrier Agreement, on the 1968 Visby amendments to the Hague Rules, and on many other related issues. During his most recent service at State, he led the team of American negotiators that concluded the world's first multilateral open skies passenger and cargo agreement, now known as the APEC Multilateral Accord. Since leaving State, he has participated as a member of the OECD’s Panel of Experts in drafting the text of a proposed multilateral open skies all-cargo agreement.

Prior to his work at the State Department, Allan spent three years as a judge advocate general officer in the U.S. Army in Germany and four years at the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C., where he was involved in all phases of appellate litigation for the Board. He was admitted to the bar in 1955 in Illinois and has been a member of the District of Columbia bar since 1966. He was a partner in several Washington, D.C., law firms during the years when he was not in U.S. Government service.
He has also been an adjunct professor at the Georgetown Law Center where he has taught International Transportation Law since 1980 and, more recently, International Conflicts of Law.


Click on the thumbnail to view a larger version of the pictures.

Steven Marks
Allan Mendelsohn

IASL LL. M. Students (left to right): Rudranshu Singh, Rodrigo de la Puente, Luis Aguilar, Auguste Hocking, Sungmin Jung, Milan A. Plücken and Mithun Pemmaiah
Attendees to the conference

Justice Nicholas Kasirer
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