Recent Developments in Aviation Liability & Insurance

Recent Developments in Aviation Liability & Insurance

A review of contemporary laws, jurisprudence and developments in international air law and liability insurance.

Chair : Rod D. Margo (Condon & Forsyth Llp, Los Angeles)

- Air Carrier Liability: Laura Safran, QC (Davis Llp, Calgary)
- Manufacturers’ Liability: Thomas J. McLaughlin (Perkins Coie LLP, Seattle)
- Air Navigation Service Provider Liability: Roderick Van Dam (EUROCONTROL, Brussels)
- Insurance: Kathy Posner (Condon & Forsyth Llp, New York)
- Lessor Liability: Gerald C. Sterns (Sterns & Walker, Oakland)


Lessor Liability; or Absence thereof Federal Immunity or not for Lessors of Commercial Aircraft?

Pictures (click here)

Rod D. Margo

Rod D. Margo Roderick D. Margo joined Condon & Forsyth LLP in 1980 and is a partner of the firm. Rod advises and represents airlines and their insurers in connection with the litigation and resolution of aviation claims and commercial disputes. He also acts for airlines in the negotiation and documentation of commercial transactions, including aircraft leases and financing arrangements. Rod also is involved in aviation regulatory and aeropolitical matters, aviation risk management, aviation insurance, competition and antitrust, environmental law, and labor and employment.

Recent assignments include acting as lead counsel to several IATA carriers in environmental litigation concerning the application of Proposition 65, the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986; representing a number of air carriers in connection with litigation over claims for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), including acting for the prevailing foreign carriers in Twardowski v. American Airlines, Inc., et al, 32 Avi Cas 16,585 (9th Cir. 2008), Rodriguez v. Ansett Australia Ltd, 383 F. 3d 914 (9th Cir. 2004) and Blotteaux v. Qantas Airways Limited, 2006 WL 47548 (9th Cir. 2006); acting as lead counsel to an Asian airline in U.S. litigation arising out of the crash of a B-747 in Taipei in October, 2000; representing employers in connection with claims for wrongful termination and discrimination; representing air carriers in disputes with aircraft lessors over obligations under aircraft leases, including maintenance requirements and return conditions; acting for air carriers in connection with passenger claims involving injury on board aircraft, and in airport terminals; advising on the implications of the entry into force of the Cape Town Convention of 2001 and its aircraft equipment protocol; and advising air carriers on the implications of the entry into force of the Montreal Convention of 1999, including the amendment of conditions of carriage.

In addition to his legal practice, Rod is actively involved in alternative dispute resolution. He serves as a mediator for the Los Angeles Superior Court, and is a member of the aviation law panels of the International Mediation and Arbitration Center (IMAC) in Los Angeles, and ACI (A Commercial Initiative for Dispute Resolution) in London.

Rod taught aviation law at the UCLA School of Law from 1981 to 1998. He currently teaches international aviation law at IATA's Training & Development Institute in Montreal and Geneva and also serves as an adjunct professor of law at McGill University's Institute of Air & Space Law in Montreal.

Rod has published and lectured widely on legal issues affecting the airline and insurance industries. He is the author of Aviation Insurance (3rd ed., 2000, Lexis Nexis, London), a co-editor of Shawcross & Beaumont on Air Law (4th ed. rev., 2009, Lexis Nexis), a co-editor of Montreal Convention, published by Kluwer & Co in 2006, and the editor and co-author of The Liability Reporter, published jointly by IATA and Condon & Forsyth LLP (13th ed., 2010). He is a member of the board of advisors of Air & Space Law, published by Kluwer & Co., The Netherlands and serves on the board of editors of the Annals of Air & Space Law, published by the Institute of Air & Space Law.

Rod is admitted to the Supreme Court of California (1981), the U.S. District Court for the Northern, Central, Southern and Eastern Districts of California (1981), the U.S. Supreme Court (2005), the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (1985), the District of Columbia (1995), the Supreme Court of Georgia (1979), the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Australia (2004), and the Supreme Court of South Africa (1974).

Rod is a graduate of McGill University Canada (Doctor of Civil Laws, 1979) and the University of Witwatersrand School of Law, Johannesburg, South Africa (B.Com., 1970; L.L.B., cum laude, 1973), and studied international law at Cambridge University on an Elsie Ballot Scholarship (1974-75). He is a commercial pilot and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Rod is listed in Asialaw's Leading Lawyers in Asia (2006-2009); Chambers USA America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2006-2009); Who's Who in the World (2005 - 2009); Who's Who in America (2005 - 2009); International Who's Who of Aviation Lawyers (2005 - 2011); Who's Who in American Law (2003-2009); "The Best of the Best," (Aviation Law) Euromoney Publications, (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007-09); Euromoney Guide to the World's Leading Aviation Lawyers (1999 - 2009); Euromoney Guide to the World's Leading Insurance and Reinsurance Lawyers (1999, 2000, 2004, 2006-2009); Who's Who Legal: California's Leading Business Lawyers (2009); and Who's Who Legal: California's Aviation Lawyers (2009). Rod was selected as a California SuperLawyer in 2008 and 2009.

Rod Margo Is Aviation Lawyer of the Year 2010: Rod Margo has been named the leading aviation lawyer in the world in the Who’s Who Legal Awards. Editor in chief Callum Campbell said, “In a highly competitive field, receiving the Who’s Who Legal Aviation Lawyer of the Year Award is an outstanding achievement. Rod Margo received more votes from clients and peers worldwide than any other lawyer in our research. This is the first time he has won the award, and the consistently positive feedback we received from our sources across the globe reflect his exceptional talent and pre-eminence in the field. We have no hesitation in declaring him the leading lawyer in the world for Aviation expertise.”

Laura M. Safran, Q.C.

Laura M. Safran, Q.C., is a partner in the firm's Calgary office and the head of the firm's national Aviation Law practice group.

Ms. Safran held the position of Vice-President, Law and Corporate Secretary of the former Canadian Airlines International for a number of years, culminating a distinguished legal career with the airline industry. Since returning to private practice a number of years ago, she has represented a wide variety of aviation-industry clients, including fixed-wing and helicopter carriers, aircraft leasing companies, charterers, international aviation associations, foreign carriers, aviation underwriters, manufacturers, aircraft maintenance and repair facilities, aviation employee associations and aircraft financiers and has handled a variety of aviation law matters, including aircraft purchases, sales, leases and financings, airport related issues, aviation safety issues, aviation claims work, aviation employment issues, airline operational matters, fractional ownership issues, Canadian aviation regulatory issues (including licensing and certification) and international air law issues. Ms. Safran has also advised on numerous aviation claims matters.

Recently, Ms. Safran completed the update to the Canadian Encyclopedia Digest (4th ed.) on "Aviation" (Carswell), the first update since 1998. She also was the sole contributor from Canada to Aviation Law, "Getting the Deal Through" for a number of years. Ms. Safran taught aviation law at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law and has been a contributor and speaker at numerous legal seminars and symposiums in Canada and internationally.

Ms. Safran is consistently noted as a leading lawyer by all of the noteworthy legal directories, including the Guide to the World's Leading Aviation Lawyers (since 2005), the International Who's Who of Aviation Lawyers, Best Lawyers in Canada and L'Expert. She has also been named one of Canada's Most Powerful Women (2004) by the W.E.N. and Globe & Mail as well as one of the Leading Women Lawyers in Canada (2009) by L'Expert.

Tom McLaughlin

Tom McLaughlin Tom McLaughlin, a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School is a partner at Perkins Coie LLP. Mr. McLaughlin has more than 30 years of experience in the areas of product liability litigation and counseling. He has defended clients in litigation arising from commercial and general aviation accidents and litigation related to medical and recreational products.

In addition, Tom has worked with manufacturers on product liability prevention counseling for various types of products and advised clients on state and federal legislation relating to tort and product liability.

Major aviation incidents in which Mr. McLaughlin has provided manufacturer defence representation include the September 11 litigation, the Boeing 747 Accident over the Taiwan Strait, and the Boeing 737 Accident near Mangalore, India.

Roderick D. van Dam

Roderick van Dam (LLM International Law and Air and Space Law) started his career at the Netherlands Department of Civil Aviation (RLD) where he headed the Legal and Institutional Affairs Division until 1990, when he joined ICAO as a Senior Legal Officer in the Legal Bureau. End 1995 he was appointed Head of Legal Service of the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL) in Brussels.

He has published numerous articles on Air and Space Law related subjects; inter alia, in Air and Space Law, ICAO Journal, Revue Française de Droit Aérien et Spatial and McGill Annals of Air and Space Law.

He is a guest lecturer at the International Institute of Air and Space Law of Leiden University and regularly teaches on Air and Space law subjects at number of postgraduate courses. He has been the rapporteur to the ICAO Legal Committee for the creation of the 1988 Montreal Protocol on Acts of Violence against International Aviation.

Roderick van Dam is a Member of the International Advisory Board of the International Institute of Air and Space Law of Leiden University, a Member of the Board of Editors of the Annals of Air and Space Law of McGill University and a Member of the Brussels Branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

He is presently actively involved in a number of EUROCONTROL activities in the legal and institutional domain such as the regulation and provision of ATS in Europe in the context of ICAO and the EC Single European Sky legislation, ATM liabilities, Functional Airspace Blocks, Cross Border Service Provision, GNSS and Galileo and developments in the aviation safety domain such as the creation of a Just Culture concept.

Kathy Posner

Kathy Posner Katherine B. Posner joined Condon & Forsyth in 1977 and has been a partner in the firm's New York Office since 1984. Kathy concentrates her practice in the areas of insurance and reinsurance law and all phases of commercial litigation concerning aviation, product liability, mass disaster, employment and insurance matters.

Kathy has considerable experience in mediation and arbitration of commercial disputes in both state and federal forums. She is a trained mediator in commercial matters and also a trained facilitator on behalf of NYC-Parents-in-Action, a not for-profit organization that provides services and support to the independent school system in New York City. Kathy also is in the process of becoming a certified insurance and reinsurance arbitrator through AIDA Reinsurance and Insurance Arbitration Society (ARIAS - U.S.).

Kathy is admitted to the bar of New York (1978), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (1980) and the District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York (1978).

She is a member of the American Bar Association (Member, Sections: Business Law, Litigation, Tort and Insurance Practice, and Law Practice Management), the Association Internationale De Droit Des Assurances (AIDA International Association for Insurance Law) (Member, Reinsurance Working Party Committee), the New York Women's Bar Association Foundation, Inc. (Immediate Past President), the International Aviation Women's Association (Past President and member of the Advisory Board), The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC), the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC), the International Bar Association (IBA), the Aviation Insurance Association, and The Association of Professional Insurance Women, Inc. (APIW).

Kathy is a graduate of the University of Wyoming (J.D., 1977) and McNeese State University (B.A., magna cum laude, 1974).

Kathy is listed in Euromoney's Guide to the World's Leading Aviation Lawyers, a listing of prominent aviation attorneys throughout the world, and in the Legal 500 editions on litigation for her work in Insurance and Reinsurance. Kathy has published articles on a variety of issues relating to aviation and insurance law and has participated as a speaker at numerous conferences sponsored by the American Bar Association, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the Aviation Insurance Association and various bar and other organizations around the world. She is the author of chapters on aviation insurance in the New York State Bar Association’s Insurance Law Practice and in the ABA Litigating the Aviation Case. Kathy also co-authors the firm's newsletter, client bulletin and client alert.

Gerald Sterns

Gerald, Sterns Gerald Sterns is senior attorney at Sterns & Walker, a Californian firm specialized in handling major aviation, product liability, Warsaw Convention and related cases on behalf of accident victims and their families. Mr. Sterns is admitted to the Bars of the Supreme Court, the State of California and the State of Hawaii and a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.

Mr. Sterns was a Faculty member at the San Francisco Law School for almost 20 years and served as Chair of the Aviation Section of the Torts and Insurance Section of the American Bar Association in 2003.

Mr. Sterns has received wide acclaim for his practice and is regularly invited as an expert speaker at prestigious global conferences.

Major recent aviation cases in which Mr. Sterns has served as counsel include the GOL 2006 midair collision over the Amazon, the 2005 Helios Air crash, he 2004 Flash Air crash over the Red Sea and the SQ006 runway incursion at Taipei Airport in 2000.

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

Left to right: Kathy Posner, Gerald Sterns, Roderick van Dam, Thomas McLaughlin, Laura Safran, Rod Margo, Paul Dempsey
Left to right: Kathy Posner, Gerald Sterns, Roderick van Dam, Thomas McLaughlin, Laura Safran
Jiefang Huang and Jessika Ko (DCL candidate
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