On the Pulse…Our Aviation & Complex Litigation Practice Group

By J. Bruce McKissock, Esq.*

The Aviation & Complex Litigation Practice Group at Marshall Dennehey is led by three attorneys with a combined experience of over 70 years in litigating aviation-related matters. One member of the team is a professional pilot, and a second has flown actively for almost 40 years as a private pilot. More importantly, each has extensive experience in litigating a broad range of claims involving various aspects of the aviation industry. This team consists of me, Jim Connors and Jim Lare.

I chair the Aviation & Complex Litigation Practice Group and have been handling aviation matters for over 35 years. Admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Pennsylvania and the Third Circuit, I have handled cases on a pro hac vice basis in over a dozen other jurisdictions, from Texas to Massachusetts. In 2004, I was elected as a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

After heading the aviation practice at the Jones, Hirsch, Connors firm in New York for almost 30 years, Jim Connors brought his practice to Marshall Dennehey in 2014. He is admitted to practice in all courts in New York and Pennsylvania, and he has also appeared on a pro hac vice in numerous other states. Jim has also litigated the full range of aviation cases during his career, including representation of a major party in the 9/11 air disaster.

After initially flying in the air charter and commuter airline industry, Jim Lare joined American Airlines as a First Officer shortly prior to 9/11. After the cutbacks in aviation in 2001, Jim became a paralegal in my aviation practice while pursuing a law degree at Widener Law School. After a federal clerkship and working at two major Philadelphia law firms, Jim joined Marshall Dennehey in 2007 and was elected a partner in 2013. Jim currently splits his time between flying for American Airlines (First Officer – Airbus 321) and serving as counsel to our firm in the Aviation Practice Group.

In addition to the various associates who assist in litigating aviation matters, based on the degree of complexity, the aviation group has the support of the firm’s appeals group in the preparation of various motions and other court submissions in complex cases. With 20 offices in five states, our group is poised to handle matters in state and federal court throughout the eastern United States.

This group’s experience ranges from the handling of multi-million dollar product recall and catastrophic injury and death claims, to the mundane soft tissue injuries that arise out of airline and airport operation. We have litigated against some of the top attorneys in the country, and we are experienced with the tools for presenting complex evidence and theories to a jury, who may have little understanding of aviation operations.

Through training and/or hands-on experience, we have knowledge of:

  • flight procedures and techniques;
  • ground operations;
  • manufacture of aircraft and airframe and engine components;
  • repair and maintenance of aircraft;
  • cargo handling and transportation;
  • airport operations ranging from hub airports to small regional and local airports; and
  • Federal Air Regulations and FAA oversight.


We have worked with and have quick access to not only many of the leading aviation experts in the world, but also various technical expertise at preeminent universities, and materials testing and analysis facilities throughout the country.

*Bruce works in our Philadelphia, Pennsylvania office. He can be reached at 215.575.4553 or jbmckissock@mdwcg.com.


Defense Digest, Vol 22, No. 2, June 2016

Defense Digest is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING pursuant to New York RPC 7.1. © 2016 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm. For reprints, contact tamontemuro@mdwcg.com.