Dave’s practice is primarily focused on aviation and aerospace law, including accident investigation and litigation.
Dave has significant experience representing numerous aviation and aerospace companies, including foreign and domestic air carriers and aircraft manufacturers in complex civil litigation, in cases involving claims for wrongful death and personal injury, product liability, premises liability, breach of contract and breach of warranty. In addition, he has significant experience in handling accident investigations, complex liability issues, damages assessment and settlement negotiations. Having litigated claims governed by the Warsaw and Montreal Conventions, Dave is also well versed in international aviation treaties and federal aviation statutes. Dave has been lead trial counsel in a major mass disaster trial, has been lead counsel in an international arbitration, argued in the appellate court, and has mediated numerous cases.
Dave has extensive and practical knowledge of National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation procedures and is highly experienced with the Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act of 1996. He has advised numerous air carriers and aircraft manufacturers on how to prepare for and what to expect during an NTSB investigation and was asked by the NTSB to give a special presentation to its Board Members and investigators on the role of outside counsel during the course of an NTSB accident investigation.
His practice area has now expanded into the field of UAS/UAV/drone law and he also is experienced in space law, having been lead counsel in an international arbitration related to a satellite loss. He has successfully taken a lead role in the settlement negotiations of more than 250 wrongful death cases arising from the 2001 American Airlines Flight 587 accident, the second-worst aviation disaster in U.S. history. Dave has defended a foreign aircraft manufacturer in a military jet accident that involved the government-contractor defense, as well as having represented airline pilots, on behalf of an air carrier, in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) enforcement proceedings and working alongside corporate aviation departments in various regulatory matters, including finance and leasing negotiations and Part 121 and 135 start-up activities.
Dave was counsel for American Airlines during the NTSB investigation and multi-district litigation arising from the 1999 Flight 1420 accident at Little Rock, Arkansas and was counsel to UPS (United Parcel Service) in the NTSB investigation of the DC-8 accident at Philadelphia International Airport that was the subject of an NTSB Public Hearing in July 2006. Most recently, Dave was lead trial counsel for Colgan Air in the February 12, 2009, crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407, near Buffalo, NY.
Prior to entering private practice, Dave served in the United States Navy for 10 years as a naval aviator, flying the F-14B Tomcat, as well as performing operational intelligence work for the Office of Naval Intelligence, personally developing and delivering threat capability briefs to numerous Navy and Marine Corps units as well as to senior Naval leadership. He also holds a commercial pilot’s license as well as a mechanical engineering degree.
Dave is an active member of the American Bar Association (and was formerly the Chair of Aviation and Space Law Committee of the Torts Trial and Insurance Practice Section), the Defense Research Institute and the Tailhook Association.
Dave is consistently recognized for his expertise by independent evaluators such as Chambers USA, The Legal 500 United States, and Who’s Who Legal: Transport – Aviation Contentious. Most recently, the 2023 edition of WhosWhoLegal: Aviation lists Dave as a U.S. “Thought Leader” in aviation litigation and has previously stated that Dave “receives plaudits from international peers who commend his superb work representing air carriers, manufacturers and aviation companies in relation to complex claims.” Dave was described in The Legal 500 United States as being “hugely experienced in both litigation and NTSB related matters.” He also is listed as Leading Aviation Attorney by Aviation Expert Guides.
Newsletters and Bulletins
Published Works and Presentations
Speaker, “UAM/AAM: Cleared for Take-Off or Line Up and Wait?,” American Bar Association, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, Aviation and Space Law Committee, Washington, D.C. (October 27-28, 2022).
Speaker, “Avoiding the Pitfall of an NTSB Investigation,” 4th Annual International Conference of Pilot Unions (ICPU), presented by the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, Arlington, Texas (October 11, 2022).
Moderator, “Operator & Broker Jeopardy!” National Business Aviation Association, NBAA-BACE, Las Vegas, Nevada (October 23, 2019).
Speaker and Moderator, “Orbital Space Debris: One Person’s Junk is Not Another Person’s Treasure.” American Bar Association, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, Aviation and Space Law Committee, Washington, D.C. , Washington, DC (October 25, 2019).
Speaker, “Quantity, Quality and Qualifications: The Effect of the “1,500 Hour Rule” after Colgan,” American Bar Association’s 25 Annual National Institute on Aviation Litigation in New York, New York (June 13, 2019).
Co-Author, Chapter 3, “Disclosure,” Preparing For and Trying the Civil Lawsuit, 2nd ed. (NYSBA, 2018 revision).
Moderator, Aviation Insurance Roundtable panel discussion on Recent Trends Affecting Aviation Insurance at the American Conference Institute’s (ACI) Aviation Claims & Litigation held in New York (June 27-28, 2016).
Author, “3-D Printing: The Future of Aircraft Manufacturing.” ExpertGuides Aviation, 2016.
Co-Author, “Toxic Cabin Air Litigation Continues to Recirculate Through the Courts.” The Brief (Summer 2016).
Speaker, ABA TIPS Aviation and Space Law Annual CLE Seminar, Washington, D.C. (October 22-23, 2015). Dave spoke on a panel regarding Additive (3D) Printing: The Future of Aircraft Manufacturing.
Co-Author, “The Odd Man Out: An Air Carrier’s Obligation to Ground Victims under the Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act.” The Brief. (Spring 2014).
Speaker, ABA TIPS Aviation and Space Law Annual CLE Seminar, Washington, D.C. (October 17-18, 2013). Dave spoke on a panel regarding nanotechnology. “Nanotechnology: Very Little Things that May Cause Really Big Problems.”
Speaker and Moderator, ABA Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (August 8-12, 2013). Dave moderated and spoke on the CLE panel “How to Handle an NTSB Investigation: Avoiding Pitfalls and Protecting Your Client.”
Speaker, 83rd Annual Association of Transportation Law Professional, Chicago, Illinois (June 14-15, 2012). Dave gave a presentation on how to assist your client through an investigation by the NTSB.
Wrongful Death Litigation Arising Out of the Continental Connection Flight 3407 Accident: A Federal Court Compels Plaintiff to Produce a Broad Array of Damages Discovery, Including Social Media. Condon & Forsyth LLP Client Alert (December 2011).
The Odd Man Out: An Air Carrier’s Obligation to Ground Victims Under the Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act. ABA TIPS Disaster Preparedness Teleconference Series, Aviation and Space Law Committee (September 6, 2011).
Court Holds that the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 Preempts State Law Standards of Care. Condon & Forsyth LLP Client Alert (July 2011).
Toxic Cabin Air Litigation Continues to Recirculate Through the Courts. Condon & Forsyth LLP Newsletter (Winter 2011).
Contributor, The Liability Reporter, published jointly by IATA and Condon & Forsyth LLP. (14th ed., February 2011).
Toxic Cabin Air Litigation Continues to Recirculate Through the Courts. The Air & Space Lawyer, v.23, no. 2 (2010).
Top Ten Safety Recommendations When Representing a Party to an NTSB Investigation. 43rd Annual SMU Air Law Symposium, Dallas, Texas (February 27, 2009).
Speaker, Ethical Issues Arising in Aviation Accident Litigation. ABA TIPS Aviation and Space Law Litigation National Program (October 17, 2008).
Speaker, Presentation to NTSB Board Members, legal department, and investigators regarding the role of outside counsel in NTSB investigations (October 15, 2008).
Speaker, Dealing with the NTSB, Patterson MacDougal and Alexander Holburn 8th Annual Aviation Conference (February 8, 2007).
Speaker, Critical Cases in Aviation Litigation, ABA, Section of Litigation, Aviation Litigation Seminar (June 1, 2006).
Speaker, Recent Developments in Aviation Discovery. ABA-TIPS, Aviation & Space Law Committee Seminar (October 1, 2004).
Speaker, NTSB Family Assistance Issues. ABA, Section of Litigation, Aviation Litigation Seminar (June 1, 2003).