Litigation Areas


At Motley Rice, we work to help aviation disaster survivors and victims’ families, as well as victims of passenger rights violations. Our aviation attorneys have handled a wide variety of aviation cases, representing plane crash victims, both passenger and crew, from the United States and abroad. We recognize that survivors and family members of victims have many concerns following an aviation disaster and may face considerations of complex legal rights and actions. We approach each case with the goals of:

  • Reassuring our clients that we can handle the intricacies related to investigating and litigating their cases
  • Relieving our clients of as many burdens as we can
  • Giving our clients a voice at a time in their lives when they feel the most vulnerable.

We not only seek justice and compensation for our clients, but also seek accountability from defendants and improvements in aviation safety and security standards.

Aviation Brochure

Download our aviation brochure for background on our experience, approach to cases and attorneys in the aviation practice group.

Our Aviation Litigation Team

As one of the largest plaintiffs’ firms in the United States, Motley Rice has the professional experience and financial resources to investigate, litigate and resolve aviation crash cases in the U.S. court system on behalf of clients residing virtually anywhere in the world. We also work with foreign lawyers on cases outside of the U.S. Motley Rice has represented victims in litigation against airlines, manufacturers, maintenance contractors, airports, air traffic control and government entities.

Attorney Mary Schiavo, who often serves as a CNN Aviation Analyst and is the former U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General, leads our aviation team, which includes attorney Jim Brauchle, a former navigator, as well as other attorneys and support staff. Motley Rice also employs three jet pilots, an aviation maintenance expert, a former flight attendant and multilingual translators. When an air tragedy occurs, we conduct our own extensive research for the litigation process as well as thoroughly analyze government investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the aviation investigative agency on location for an international crash.

See all Aviation Cases

Recognized for bringing one of the largest aviation cases in history on behalf of 9/11 victims' families, our aviation attorneys remain at the forefront of the complex legal and technical aspects of aviation law. We stay on top of recent aviation incidents and investigations, using our experience and resources to research and analyze all aspects of an aviation disaster. See all news about aviation crashes under review.

International, Multinational and Cross-Border Litigation
Motley Rice, along with foreign co-counsel in the country of each crash, has been involved in international cases concerning crashes in countries such as Brazil, France and Canada. We believe that seeking improvements in aviation safety standards in our own country is important and that the same safety standards should be in place regardless of flight location and destination.

Our aviation attorneys have worked with clients and/or on crashes in all 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, as well as the countries shown in blue on the map.

Compassion, Guidance and Support
Through our work with our clients and our aviation-related experience prior to joining Motley Rice, we understand the pain, confusion and questions that often follow tragic events and know that many clients feel overwhelmed by the emotional circumstances which brought them to us. While coping with the loss of a loved one or the devastation of a permanent injury, survivors and family members face numerous other obstacles such as medical expenses, loss of income and other important decisions that must be made. The option to pursue legal action may be a last consideration.

Our attorneys recognize that the idea of bringing a lawsuit can be daunting — but it doesn’t have to be. We consider it an essential part of our job to guide our clients through every step of the process, helping to lessen any anxiety they feel, and giving them the support, information and means to take control of terrible circumstances.

Contact an Aviation Attorney

If you or someone you know is interested in seeking legal recourse due to wrongful death or personal injury as a result of a plane crash, please contact Motley Rice aviation attorneys Mary Schiavo or James Brauchle by email or call our 24-Hour Aviation Hotline at 1.800.868.6456.

The Motley Rice Aviation Team Represents:

  • Passengers and their families
  • Airport and airline workers
  • Flight attendants
  • Pilots
  • People on the ground injured by incidents involving:
    • Charter planes
    • Commercial airlines
    • Helicopters
    • Private aviation
    • Small planes
    • Balloons
    • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) / Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) / Drones  

Types of Aviation

Motley Rice seeks to hold accountable those responsible in personal injury or wrongful death cases that involve aviation crashes or incidents. Cases that we have litigated or are currently litigating include the following types of aviation:

Major Commercial Airlines

  • Includes both domestic and foreign flights
  • Encompasses typical fare paying, scheduled flights
  • Also includes chartered flights, air taxis and private planes for hire

Regional Carriers

  • May be owned by or have a code-share agreement with a major airline
  • May fly under major carriers’ names, paint and logos
  • Often fly small, foreign-built jets
  • May pay employees and contractors substantially less than the major carriers

General Aviation

Aviation lawsuits can include wrongful death, personal injury, product liability, strict liability, class actions and multinational and cross-border litigation. Our team works with families and family probate attorneys to resolve these and other complex legal issues.

Facing Tough Opposition

Motley Rice is determined to hold accountable airlines, airports, maintenance companies and manufacturers around the globe when their services and equipment result in injury or death. When dealing with air crashes, injuries and/or deaths, plaintiffs’ attorneys must litigate against some of the most well-funded defense teams in the world. Motley Rice attorneys have litigated cases against defendants that include:

Airlines and Charters

Aeromexico Malaysia Airlines
Air France Midway Airlines, Corp.
AirTran Airways, Inc. National Airlines, Inc.
Alaska Airlines, Inc. Northwest Airlines Corp.
American Airlines Pinnacle Airlines
AMR Corporation Rico Airlines
Asiana Airlines Co. Ltd. Singapore Air
Chalk’s Ocean Airways  Southwest Airlines
Colgan Air, Inc. Spirit Airlines
Comair, Inc. SwissAir
Continental Airlines, Inc. TAM Airlines
Delta Air Lines, Inc. TEM Enterprises, d/b/a Casino Express
EgyptAir UAL Corporation
JetBlue United Air Lines, Inc.
Jet Logistics, Inc. US Airways, Inc.
Kalitta Air, LLC US Airways Group
MK Airlines West Caribbean Airways


Airbus Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Beechcraft Northrup Grumman
The Boeing Company Parker Hannifin
Bombardier/Canadair Piper
Cessna Pratt & Whitney Canada
Cirrus Aircraft Pratt & Whitney Engine Services
Continental Motors Raytheon
Eclipse Aviation Corporation Rolls Royce
Embraer Thales 
General Electric Aviation TIMCO
HAECO United Technologies
Honeywell International Inc.  


Ports and Security

Argenbright Security, Inc. .Metropolitan Airports Authority
Burns International Security Services Corporation Pinkerton’s Inc
Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, France Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Congonhas Airport, São Paulo, Brazil Securicor, PLC
Globe Aviation Services Securitas AB
Halifax International Airport Toronto Pierson International Airport
Huntleigh USA Corporation Washington, D.C. Airports Authority
ICTS International NV The Federal Aviation Administration
Massachusetts Port Authority Various state and federal governmental authorities


Our Commitment


We are here to protect the interests of our clients and their loved ones, and will invest the resources and time necessary to work toward the best possible outcome. Each air crash has its unique set of facts and circumstances, but the common thread among all the families we have represented is the desire to know why this happened, and we strive to help them get answers.