Our law firm represents client interests and counsels clients on matters before a variety of government agencies. Because we are focussed on US Federal and worldwide aviation government agencies, we are not restricted to any particular geographic location. Following is a partial list of agencies before whom we have represented clients in legal and policy matters:
We advise and represent clients on aviation safety and compliance matters as well as trade matters (such as U.S. export compliance involving ITAR (DDTC), EAR (BIS) and Treasury regulations (OFAC)). We also represent parties in civil and criminal matters. Although most of our clients are from the aviation industry (persons, companies, and trade associations), we also have some non-aviation clients.
- U.S. Department of Commerce
- Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)
- Census Bureau
- International Trade Administartion (ITA)
- U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- U.S. State Department
- Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC)
- U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
- Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
- Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA - formerly RSPA).
- U.S. Independent Agencies
- General Services Administration (GSA)
- National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
- National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
- European Agencies
- European Aviatino Safety Agency (EASA)
- Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA - no longer exists)
- UK Environmental Agency
We Provide Aviation Business Support
Our firm provides support and guidance on matters that affect aviation businesses. Our practice areas include:
- Certification and approval programs
- Manufacturing (Part 21 Design and Production)
- Repair Station (Part 145 Air Agency)
- Strategic planning and consulting for new programs
- Regulatory support and optimization for existing businesses
- Delegations and ODA
- Distribution and inventory transactions (including AC 00-56 programs)
- Documentation & traceability
- Drug and alcohol programs
- Event (accident/incident) management
- FAA Enforcement defense
- Air Carriers
- Aircraft Parts Distributors
- FAA Designees
- Manufacturers (TSOA, PC, PMA)
- Repair Stations
- FAA and EASA regulatory compliance (distribution, maintenance and manufacturing)
- Compliance auditing
- Compliance systems
- Compliance procedures
- Continued Operational Safety (COS) and Safety Management Systems (SMS)
- Maintenance compliance systems and IA Training
- Manufacturing compliance systems and development of aviation manufacturing strategic plans
- Policy development
- Quality systems
- Regulatory change
- Suspected Unapproved Parts (SUPs)
- Contracts and Transactions
- Aircraft (including end-of-life aircraft)
- Aircraft parts inventories
- Contracts, negotiations, standard procedures, standard terms and conditions
- Contract enforcement and remedies
- Competition and Business Torts
- Antitrust compliance
- Antitrust defense
- Responses for victims of anti-competitive behavior, unfair trade practices or other business harms (plaintiffs)
- Relationship between aviation regulations and standards, and competition law
- Corporate inception
- Corporate structuring
- Corporate compliance
- Merger and acquisition support (with a special focus on maintaining FAA certifications)
- Defense of enforcement matter
- Compliance consulting for particular exports
- Licensing and license exceptions
- Compliance programs
- Hazardous Materials / Dangerous Goods
- Enforcement defense
- Compliance programs
- Enforcement defense
- Compliance programs
- Intellectual Property
- IP infringement claims defense
- Systems for avoiding infringement of the IP of others
- Systems for protecting and enforcing your own IP
- Labor and Employment
- Trade Association Support and Management
Global Practice Area
Most of our U.S. work involves federal law so we have a nation-wide practice. Attorneys from our firm are admitted in DC, Virginia and New York. They are also admitted before the appropriate federal courts (including the U.S. Supreme Court). The rules governing administrative actions permit our attorneys to represent clients accused of FAA or other federal administrative law violations in any state.
- Our law firm represents companies in FAA enforcement proceedings. We can advise you on both the financial ramifications and the business ramifications of your options, and we can help give you the information you need to make a decision about the best way to approach the enforcement action.
- Our law firm consults on a variety of compliance matters. Ask us how we can help you to avoid future enforcement actions through proactive auditing and quality systems.
- Our law firm assists with transactional matters. We can advise your company on how to protect your legal rights in transactions within the aviation industry, and we can draw up the agreements to make it happen smoothly.
- Our law firm advises companies on how to approach potential safety issues (from accidents to SUPs) in a manner calculated to maximize safety and minimize liability while also protecting the business' reputation.
- Our law firm assist clients in changing the regulations and policies that affect aviation safety. If you have recognized a safety practice that can be improved, the let us help you find the right strategy to make those chanegs in laws, regulations, or policy/guidance. And Yes - changing safety rules can also sometimes have a positive business benefit as well.
Our law firm represents companies in litigation, but we also recognize that there are often less expensive ways to settle dispute, and our aim is to provide the client with the best possible resolution. We will strive to find you the most expedient, cost-effective, satisfactory solution to your issue.
While we try to avoid litigation when there is a better solution for your company, unfortunately, sometimes litigation is unavoidable as a practical matter. When the court system gets involved, we represent our clients interests vigorously and actively seek the best possible resolution for our clients. NOTE: The following past cases are cited to demonstrate the scope of our practice. They are not a measure of whether we can be successful in your case. Success in your case will be based on the actual facts of the case and our use of the applicable law.
SOME PAST CASES
- Babbitt v. Surratt. Represented two pilots accused of airworthiness violations. All charges dismissed at trial. The FAA appealed and then sought reconsideration. We prevailed at every level.
- In Re Stark Avionics. Represented a repair station accused by the FAA of misclassifying work as minor, when the FAA argued it had been major. Much of the case was dismissed on summary judgment and the remainder was dismissed by the FAA before trial; client obtained EAJA Attorneys Fees from the government.
- Bell Helicopter Textron v. Able Engineering & Component Services. Represented a repair station accused of trademark infringement and unfair competition. Case dismissed on summary judgment.
- In Re Lafayette Avionics. Represented a repair station accused by the FAA of violations of federal aviation regulations. Case dismissed by the FAA after we demonstrated tha the charges were baseless.
- In Re Custom Essence. Represented a manufacturer accused by the FAA of hazardous materials violations. Case dismissed by the FAA.
- United States v. Sickler. Represented a repair station and its President in criminal charges related to unapproved parts allegations. The government had brought charges under 18 U.S.C. section 371, claiming that the completion of FAA 8130-3 tags represented fraud on the U.S. government. We were able to show that the FAA 8130-3 tags were properly completed and these charges were dropped.
OTHER REPRESENTATIVE PROJECTS
- Advised on the FAA compliance and intellectual property aspects of several mergers and acquisitions, including the acquisition of a major tier one supplier to an OEM.
- Negotiated and developed contracts for purchase of aircraft and for sale/purchase of aircraft parts inventories.
- Negotiated a favorable change to an airport construction plan on behalf of a repair station.
- Assisted companies with export compliance.
- Worked with manufacturing companies to educate their personnel about intellectual property - how to protect each company's own IP and how to avoid infringing another company's IP.
- Represented several PMA companies and repair stations in negotiations with several different PC holders to end the PC holders' allegations of intellectual property malfeasance (copyright, trademark and trade secret claims).
- Drafted contracts for manufacturers, repair stations and distributors reflecting issues like inventory consignment, sales/supply, repair service, development and manufacturing joint ventures.
- Assisted PMA applicants in establishing PMA development and application programs, and in overcoming discrete approval issues.
- Assisted repair stations in obtaining FAA Part 145 certificates.
- Successfully petitioned the FAA to delay implementation of repair station rules, and training rules, until proper advisory guidance could be published.
- Worked with the FAA to rescind the "FOR DOMESTIC SHIPMENT ONLY" limitation on domestic airworthiness approval tags for aircraft parts.
- Helped to develop and maintain the ASA-100 quality system (compliant with FAA AC 00-56).
- Helped to develop and maintain the AFRA BMP standards for disassembly of aircraft and for recycling.
- Advised PMA/TSOA manufacturers, distributors, repair stations and air carriers on matters ranging from securing transactions to hazmat compliance.
- Successfully obtained dismissal by the prosecutor of numerous aviation enforcement matters against our clients.
- Negotiated settlements in hazardous materials allegations raised against companies by FAA and RSPA (now known as PHMSA).
- Served on various advisory committees for both the FAA and EASA.
Have You Been Served?
If you have been served with a notice of proposed civil penalty, complaint, or other notice of violation, you should contact an attorney immediately to be sure that you protect your interests. Timelines for protecting your rights can be quite short. An appeal of a FAA emergency certificate action, for example, must be filed with the NTSB within 10 calendar days of the day that the FAA mailed the notice to you. This can leave you with less than a week to respond by the time the notice reaches you. If you intend to appeal the question of whether the matter is an emergency (often necessary to avoid being shut down, pending the hearing) then you only have two days to file the appeal!