Quirk & Bakalor


Quirk and Bakalor’s Aviation Group is a recognized leader in the practice of aviation law with more than 30 years of experience. Attorneys in this practice area represent various sectors of the aviation industry including major airlines, manufacturers, insurers and industry groups in domestic and international matters related to areas such as regulation, compliance, safety, federal preemption, insurance, crashes and mass disaster, property damage, negligence and commercial disputes. This experience coupled with the collaborative multi-disciplinary team approach we take in serving clients’ needs translates into strength and results.

The aviation industry is a fast changing and highly regulated environment which demands constant navigation. We not only excel in the practice of aviation law but we also help shape it in areas such as preemption, safety and security standards, and on many other regulatory and litigation issues. Our track record has earned us a reputation as a "go to" firm for aviation. The attorneys in this practice area have extensive experience counseling clients on the legal and regulatory implications pertaining to preemption of aviation safety and security standards, code share and alliance relationships, connecting carrier relationships, the Warsaw/Montreal system and the Chicago Convention. Our attorneys deal regularly with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Aviation Association (FAA), Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and other governmental agencies.

Unlike many firms that primarily "handle" aviation matters, we pride ourselves on the actual results we achieve on behalf of our clients in adversarial settings. We successfully argued the first cases to recognize that:

• an airline’s compliance with federal aviation standards is a complete defense to any liability claims asserted against it;

• federal jurisdiction can be acquired in cases arising out of alleged violations of aviation safety standards, irrespective of whether diversity jurisdiction exists;

• federal law preempts airline passenger health warnings and aircraft design claims and in the absence of a breach of a federal standard requires dismissal of deep vein thrombosis claims;

• an airline’s liability for an alleged "wrongful removal," breach of contract and/or false imprisonment arising out of a refusal to transport is immunized by federal law and can be limited by the terms of the contract of carriage to a refund of the unused portion of the ticket.

Quirk and Bakalor's attorneys have significant experience guiding clients through all stages of major airline disasters from critical early accident investigation, crisis communications and liability assessment to handling the myriad of insurance, regulatory, environmental and litigation issues. The firm represents the interests of United Air Lines in the litigation arising from the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The firm also represented the interests of Delta Airlines in the Swissair/Delta Flight 111 crash and Continental Airlines in the Air France Concorde crash.

The attorneys in this practice area frequently team up with the attorneys who practice in the firm’s Commercial, Insurance and Products Liability practice areas in complicated aviation cases involving coverage, products liability and premises liability claims. While the attorneys in the Aviation practice area bring industry-specific knowledge, skills and experience to clients, the overall breadth and depth of Quirk and Bakalor enable the firm to add immeasurable value to all matters. Our attorneys participate in key aviation industry groups such as the International Aviation Women’s Association and lecture extensively on related topics before legal and claims groups of airline carriers. Our attorneys are also actively involved with the American Bar Association’s Aviation section conducting seminars and contributing to aviation practice manuals.

Our attorneys regularly advise clients on all types of matters, including those related to:

Accident investigation
Airport premises liability
Breach of contract
Catastrophic personal injury
Commercial aircraft lease litigation
Crisis management & communications
Employment disputes or discrimination claims
Enforcement matters
Environmental & pollution claims
Federal & international jurisdiction
Ground handling incidents & cargo/baggage claims
Hull claims
Insurance coverage
Liability assessment
Major airline & mass disaster litigation
Major consumer disputes
Maritime issues
Products liability
Refusal to Transport
Regulatory compliance
Wrongful death
Wrongful removal & false imprisonment

Our attorneys represent a broad base of businesses involved in the aviation industry such as:

Cargo airlines & freight forwarders
Cargo operators
Component manufacturers
Domestic, regional & international airline carriers
Electronics & avionics manufacturers
Financiers, investors & lessors
Fixed base operators
Flight schools
Ground handling companies
Helicopter operators
Industry associations
Insurers & reinsurers
Maintenance & overhaul businesses