Representative Aviation Cases

At Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., the firm's aviation negligence lawyers have represented aircraft disaster victims and their families in legal venues across the country. Our attorneys' experience with aviation litigation spans a broad range of commercial, corporate and recreational aircraft incidents. Our aviation negligence lawyers' understanding of aviation safety regulations, operation, maintenance, procedure, structure and design facilitates our ability to effectively represent our airplane accident clients. The firm's aviation litigation team includes a former Deputy Director of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). David E. Rapoport was the lead trial attorney in both of the last two contested commercial air disaster liability trials against airlines in the United States. In both cases, the jury ruled against the airline. Mr. Rapoport has been selected as a Leading Lawyer in Aviation Law by the Law Bulletin Leading Lawyers Network.

Read Frequently Asked Aviation Accident Lawsuit Questions and Answers for information about your rights following an airplane crash or aviation accident.

Representative Commercial Aviation Negligence Cases:

American Airlines Flight 331 (Kingston, Jamaica December 23, 2009) The aviation lawyers at Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., have been retained by multiple passengers injured aboard American Airlines Flight 331, which crash-landed in Kingston, Jamaica, on December 23, 2009. While attempting to land in heavy rain at Norman Manley International Airport, Flight 331 skidded its way down the runway and across a road, coming to rest on a beach just feet from the ocean, with its fuselage cracked apart. More than 40 passengers were injured, many sustaining serious personal injuries.

Continental Airlines Flight 1404 (Denver, Colorado December 20, 2008) Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., has been retained by a passenger who was injured when Continental Airlines Flight 1404 crashed following takeoff from Denver International Airport in Colorado.

Comair Flight 5191 (Lexington, Kentucky August 27, 2006) In December 2009, Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., aviation attorneys obtained a $7.1 million jury verdict for the family of a 39-year-old man who was killed when a regional jet operated by Delta Connection crashed while attempting to take off from the wrong runway at Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky. A punitive damages trial in this case is scheduled to begin on February 1, 2011.

Southwest Airlines Flight 1248 (Chicago, Illinois December 8, 2005) A confidential settlement was reached on behalf of 11 passengers who were onboard Southwest Airlines Flight 1248, a Boeing 737 airplane bound for Chicago's Midway Airport during a snowstorm. After landing, the aircraft ran off the end of the runway crashing through fences and colliding with vehicles before coming to a stop. Passengers suffered fear, pre-impact terror, distress and physical harm. An important ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit paved the way for a favorable settlement.

Air Midwest/U.S. Airways Express Flight 5481 (Charlotte, North Carolina January 8, 2003) A settlement, subject to confidentiality, was reached in this case in which Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., represented the family of the co-pilot who was killed when the Beechcraft 1900 aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff from Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

American Airlines Flight 587 (Belle Harbor/Queens, New York November 12, 2001) An Airbus A300-600 crashed shortly after takeoff from New York's Kennedy International Airport. Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., attorneys represented the family of the first officer. The terms of the settlement remain confidential.

EgyptAir Flight 990 (Nantucket Island, Massachusetts October 31, 1999) Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., represented the families of four passengers killed in the crash of EgyptAir Flight 990 on October 31, 1999. Flight 990, a Boeing 767 bound for Cairo from New York, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean about 60 miles south of Nantucket Island while en route from New York to Cairo. The cases proceeded to a bench trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, and judgment was entered in favor of the plaintiffs. On appeal, the cases settled for confidential amounts.

American Airlines Flight 1420 (Little Rock, Arkansas June 1, 1999) As a member of the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee in this airplane crash case, David E. Rapoport, who was assisted by Paul D. Richter, obtained a $14 million aggregate settlement for the victims and families that the firm represented. The terms of each individual settlement are confidential.

Swissair Flight 111 (Nova Scotia September 2, 1998) David E. Rapoport served as a member of the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee in this case and was assisted by Paul D. Richter. A $13 million aggregate settlement was obtained for the victims' families the firm represented. The terms of each individual settlement are confidential. The MD-11 airplane crashed off the coast of Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, while en route from New York to Geneva.

United Express Flight 5925 (Quincy, Illinois November 19, 1996) Representing the family of a pilot who died in this Beechcraft 1900C airplane crash, Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., obtained a $3 million jury verdict with a finding of 20 percent contributory negligence and later obtained the largest portion of an interpleaded fund of $1 million in federal court.

American Eagle Flight 3379 (Morrisville, North Carolina December 13, 1994) This tried case arose out of the crash of an American Eagle British Aerospace Jetstream aircraft. The verdict obtained with interest was approximately three times higher than the best pretrial offer of settlement by the airline's insurer.

USAir Flight 1016 (Charlotte, North Carolina July 2, 1994) USAir Flight 1016, a DC-9 aircraft, was struck by a microburst while attempting to land, killing 37 passengers and injuring the other 20 people on board. After the United States admitted liability for negligence by an air traffic controller who failed to promptly disseminate information about the deteriorating weather, a six-week jury trial was held in Columbia, South Carolina, addressing USAir's liability, if any. USAir denied pilot negligence caused the crash, but the jury disagreed, finding USAir was negligent. As a result, all remaining cases settled soon thereafter. For example, a $10 million aggregate settlement was reached for the victims and families Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., represented. Individual amounts cannot be revealed due to a confidentiality agreement. David E. Rapoport served as lead trial lawyer for the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee in this case.

USAir Flight 405 (LaGuardia Airport, New York March 22, 1992) As lead trial lawyer, David E. Rapoport obtained an $8.1 million jury verdict in the first damages case tried arising out of the crash of USAir Flight 405, setting a record in Ohio.

United Flight 232 (Sioux City, Iowa July 19, 1989) In this case involving the crash of a United Airlines DC-10 aircraft, Mr. Rapoport was selected to serve as lead trial attorney in the consolidated federal cases. These cases were settled just before jury selection began in the federal court in Chicago. He represented several crew members in their product liability cases. The settlement amounts are confidential.

United Flight 811 (Hawaii February 24, 1989) Mr. Rapoport represented the three pilots in this case involving the failure of a cargo door on a 747 aircraft, causing explosive decompression at 23,000 feet off the coast of Hawaii. The case was eventually settled for an amount that is confidential.

Representative General Aviation Negligence Cases:

Cirrus SR22 (Rock Springs, Wyoming August 8, 2008) Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., is representing the family of a Chicago-area cardiovascular thoracic surgeon and pilot who was killed in a midair collision involving two single-engine aircraft in Wyoming. The family retained Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., to investigate, and if warranted, prosecute those responsible for the surgeon's untimely death following a midair collision of two single-engine aircraft. A lawsuit has been filed alleging the crash was caused by a defective SkyWatch avionics system.

Piper PA-32R-301T (Wheeling, West Virginia July 8, 2004) In 2006, Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., The Wolk Law Firm and Landye Bennett Blumstein filed a lawsuit in the state court in Chicago on behalf of the families of three Illinois citizens who lost their lives in the crash of a single-engine aircraft while attempting to land at Wheeling, West Virginia. The lawsuit alleges the crash was a result of mechanical failures involving the altimeter, autopilot and instrument landing system. The defendants in the lawsuit included the manufacturers of the altimeter and autopilot, along with a company that performed maintenance on the aircraft. The defendants argue pilot error explains the crash. In a separate lawsuit that was recently settled, the three law firms also sued the United States in a federal court in Pennsylvania, arguing the crash was caused in part by a malfunctioning component of the instrument landing system at the airport. Settlements have now been reached with all of the defendants other than the manufacturer of the autopilot. The plaintiffs expect to take this manufacturer to trial in 2011.

Sino Swearingen SJ30-2 (Loma Alta, Texas April 26, 2003) The firm settled a case for the family of a test pilot who was killed testing a prototype of this aircraft.

Gates Learjet 25C-XR (Lexington, Kentucky August 30, 2002) The firm represented the family of a woman who died, as well as her husband who sustained serious personal injury, when an air ambulance overran the runway and crashed at Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky. In a lawsuit filed in Florida, it was alleged the crash occurred as a result of a combination of pilot error and poor maintenance. During discovery, the co-pilot admitted his last check ride before the crash was documented, but never happened. On the basis of this admission, the court allowed a claim for punitive damages to be added, and shortly after this, when Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., reported the record falsification to the Federal Aviation Administration, a settlement was reached for more than the full insurance policy limit of $2 million. This case was featured in Forbes Magazine.

Piper PA-32RT-300T (Valparaiso, Indiana April 19, 2002) Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., represented a passenger who sustained serious personal injury as a result of the crash of a single-engine aircraft shortly after takeoff at the Porter County Airport in Valparaiso, Indiana. The investigation revealed the cause of the crash was pilot error. The case settled for the pilot's full insurance limit.

Swearingen SA227-AT Crash (Beaver Island, Michigan February 8, 2001) Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., represented the family of a pilot occupying the right seat of a Metro that crashed as it circled to land at the Beaver Island airfield. The flight was an on-demand charter from Chicago's Midway Airport to Beaver Island operated by Northern Illinois Flight Center. The pilot occupying the right seat was a flight instructor for NIFC hoping to become a charter pilot for NIFC who was riding along on the flight to build hours. In defense, NIFC argued it was immune from liability under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act. After summary judgment on this defense was denied twice, the case settled for $1.45 million.

EMS (Quincy, Illinois January 22, 2001) Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., obtained a $1.5 million verdict for the family of a hospital security guard who was struck and killed by the tail rotor of an Air Evac medical helicopter while in violation of his own work rules. This award was reduced by 49 percent for the security guard's contributory negligence. The security guard was supposed to be keeping people off the helipad while the helicopter engine was on; instead he was hurt while rolling the helicopter battery pack back to the hangar after the engine was started. The collectible verdict was three times greater than the defendant's highest offer to settle this case.

Big Island Air Flight B157 (Hilo, Hawaii August 25, 2000) The firm has reached a settlement of $2.325 million in this case involving the crash of a Piper PA-31-350 (Piper Navajo Chieftain) scenic tour aircraft.