Baum Hedlund's Aviation Profile
Baum Hedlund was established more than 30 years ago and has offices in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. The firm focuses a large part of its practice on aviation accidents resulting in wrongful death and serious personal injury. The firm has been handling aviation cases since the Arrow Air crash in Gander, Newfoundland on December 12, 1985. Our aviation attorneys have represented airline passengers in some of the nation's most highly-publicized cases, including 57 airline disasters. In all we have been involved in 75 commercial aviation accidents and over 100 general aviation aircraft accidents. Any aviation-related lawsuit may well involve more than one state's law or court system, and numerous complex choices and decisions may have to be made to maximize recovery or streamline procedures. Baum Hedlund has played a major part in complex aviation litigation for many years and has represented over five hundred victims from major airline and general aviation accidents that have occurred both inside and outside the United States. Our efforts to improve aviation safety through trials, appeals and hundreds of litigated cases has addressed aircraft design, flight crew conduct, and air traffic control. We regard litigation as an incentive to improve aviation safety.
Two of Baum Hedlund's attorneys have pilot experience
Ronald L. M. Goldman, a Board Certified Civil Trial Advocate and pilot, handled his first aviation case in 1969 representing air traffic controllers to improve working conditions and reduce dangerously excessive stress levels. He litigated the 1972 British European Airways Trident crash near Heathrow Airport that killed all 118 onboard. Throughout his career Ron has litigated many aviation accidents, as lead counsel, including airline disasters. Based on his experience, Professor Goldman developed courses in Aviation Accident Law and became an adjunct professor of Aviation Accident Law & Torts at Pepperdine School of Law. He taught as an adjunct professor for 21 years. Ron is AV(r) rated through Martindale Hubbell, is listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers and is published in Million Dollar Verdicts by the Masters. Recently he was lead counsel for victims' families in the commuter airline crash of Air Midwest Flight 5481 where he led the firm's aviation team which successfully negotiated a public apology in addition to substantial compensation.
John Greaves is an airline-transport pilot and flew for several airlines during his professional pilot career, including Comair, for which he also served as a captain. He has flown 10,000 + hours total flight time since 1966 and received the Air Line Pilots Association, Counsel 37, Distinguished Service Award. Since becoming an aviation lawyer in 1994, John has worked on every airline disaster for the firm (about 35). John has been appointed to several Plaintiff Steering Committees in that time and is listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in American Law, Who's Who in America and Aviation Counsel Magazine's List of Recommended High Flyers, He also received the National Air Disaster Foundation Safety Award in 2002.
All Baum Hedlund's aviation lawyers are AV® rated through Martindale Hubbell (a highly respected international legal directory) and are listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. The firm's airline accident attorneys have the aviation experience needed to solve the problems presented by accidents involving aircraft. Aviation lawyers, Michael Baum, Paul Hedlund and John Greaves have litigated dozens of air crashes and have served on multiple steering committees investigating commercial air cases. Clark Aristei, a former law professor, has litigated many airline cases as well, including having served as Lead Plaintiffs' Counsel for the Coordinated Discovery Cases following the Southwest Airlines Flight 1455 accident in Burbank, California, 2000. Several aviation attorneys of Baum Hedlund have been recognized to be among the best aviation lawyers in the world by the aviation legal community and are listed in Aviation Counsel Magazine's list of Recommended High Flyers, considered by International Air Transport Association's (IATA) Legal Department "to be one of the most elite lists of aviation law practitioners ever produced." The firm's long history of educational and professional excellence continues with its approach to the cases it is entrusted to handle.
Baum Hedund has handled a wide range of sophisticated litigation in federal and state courts across the country. The firm has represented wrongful death and personal injury victims in every state in the United States as well as from 5 of the 7 continents. Our attorneys have served on 17 Plaintiffs' Steering Committees in mass tort litigation, 11 of which were for commercial aviation/airline crashes.
One of our most significant aviation litigation achievements came about when, as part of the settlement agreement from the January 8, 2003 Air Midwest Flight 5481 Crash in Charlotte, North Carolina, the companies accepted responsibility and publicly apologized to the families for the crash. Our clients' case was the last to resolve. Although a substantial monetary settlement was also involved, our clients primary focus had been to require accountability by the defendants, either by trial or by public apology, for the operation, maintenance and design deficiencies that caused the aircrash. A trial was avoided as a result of the apology. Baum Hedlund's lead negotiator and trial counsel for this settlement was aviation attorney Ronald L. M. Goldman. Michael Baum, Paul Hedlund and John Greaves also worked on this case.
One of our most recent aviation trials (co-tried by Clark Aristei) was against a Burbank-based charter jet company, Avjet Corp., in which a $11.7-million settlement was reached for families of three people killed in March of 2001 in a plane crash in Aspen, Colorado. The settlement was reached as a Los Angeles jury was about to begin the punitive phase of the trial. Our clients received $9.5 million.
Just recently we tried a case against Bell Helicopter in which we represented the families of three firefighters killed in a crash during a medical rescue operation. Before trial we won a key aviation appeal which established an exception to the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994 (GARA--which bars legal action against manufacturers of general aviation aircraft if the part that allegedly caused the accident is more than 18 years old) so that paramedics' surviving families were able to go forward with trial against Bell Helicopter.
Aviation Accident Settlements and Trials
We at Baum Hedlund always do what is in the best interests of our clients. Some clients prefer to have their case resolved before trial while others desire to see their case result in a trial. Regardless of the final outcome, we always prepare each one of our cases as if it were going to trial. This has a great impact on the behavior of the defendants in settlement negotiations and trial.
Attorneys at Baum Hedlund are very dedicated to their clients and love their jobs. Read why our attorneys like being plaintiff attorneys, what they want to achieve for their clients, and why they like working at this firm in particular.
*AV® Rating Explanation: Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the Judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell Ratings fall into two categories - legal ability and general ethical standards. "CV, BV and AV are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies." "An AV® rating reflects an attorney who has reached the heights of professional excellence. He or she has usually practiced law for many years, and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity."