AVIATION LAW


Aviation Accident Attorneys

Aviation accidents often arise from a complex chain of events. Breaking down the cause of an airplane or helicopter crash takes hard work and experience.

Your aviation attorneys should have a firm grasp of:

  • pilot training and performance
  • technical issues involving aircraft design and function
  • weather
  • air traffic control
  • maintenance and inspection requirements
  • ground operations
  • airport procedures and responsibilities

In addition to understanding science and technology issues, including engineering, aerodynamics, human factors, and aircraft operational limitations, your aviation attorneys must have a depth of knowledge and experience to make informed choices about where to bring a claim or file suit.

Our attorneys have handled cases across America, involving both domestic and international travel. It requires judgment, experience, and expertise to navigate the various federal, state, and international laws and regulations that govern aircraft operations and aircraft litigation.

The attorneys at Pierce Sauer are experienced and committed to investigating and proving root causes of airplane and helicopter crashes that result in injuries and death to pilots, passengers, and persons on the ground.

It is frequently said that “pilot error” is the leading cause of airplane crashes and helicopter crashes. Pilot training, proficiency, and decision-making are often factors in aircraft accidents. See Mark Pierce’s paper entitled “Is Your Pilot Legal and Safe?” here. However, aircraft accident reconstruction and analysis requires critical thought and a deep level of sophisticated investigation to determine the links in the chain of causation involved in an aircraft crash.

Whether from pilot error, aircraft malfunction, air traffic controller mistake, ground handler negligence, dangerous weather conditions, or other causes, Pierce Sauer’s attorneys, working with their world-class retained experts as well as the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board investigators, serve their clients by digging for the truth and the “why,” not only to obtain compensation for injured parties and their families but to help prevent future accidents and system failures.


Aviation Professionals

Mark Pierce leads the Pierce Sauer aviation litigation group. Mark is a commercial rated pilot and FAA-certified flight instructor as well as a renowned aviation trial lawyer.

With over 20 years of experience as a professional in aviation, Mark has been a leader as both a trial attorney (with a record of numerous substantial jury verdicts for his clients) and an aviation safety advocate.

Mark’s leadership roles as an aviation attorney have included:

  • President of the Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association, an international non-profit organization dedicated to aviation safety and aviation law
  • Chair of the Aviation Section of the American Association for Justice, a national organization of attorneys who fight for justice and accountability
  • Chair of the Aviation Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, which studies recent developments of law, legislation and regulations in the field of aviation law
  • Teaching student pilots, private pilots, and commercial pilots the knowledge and skills necessary to safely operate aircraft and to comply with Federal Aviation Regulations regarding the responsibilities of a pilot-in-command
  • Speaking to attorney groups on aviation law, aviation accidents, and the unique trial skills that top-flight aviation lawyers need for presenting large, complex aviation accident cases to courts and juries

Business Aviation Disputes

Aircraft owners often ask for Mark Pierce to represent them in claims arising from damage to aircraft and in business disputes.

Mark was a featured speaker at a webinar on “Buying and Selling Private Aircraft: What Could Go Wrong?” and outlined the types of controversies that, in his experience as a business aviation litigator, require legal help.

Some of the issues that Mark has helped aviation business clients with include:

  • Claims for breach of contract, deceptive trade practices, or fraud
  • Insurance claims for damage to aircraft
  • Breach of express and implied warranties in buy-sell agreements

You can read Mark’s paper Transactions Gone Bad: Litigation Between Buyers and Sellers of Aircraft” here.

Attorneys Mark Pierce and Kurt Sauer have over 75 years of combined experience in business litigation. Their experience, good judgment, and expertise will be brought to bear on your aviation-related business claim.


Representative aviation cases in which attorneys at Pierce Sauer have served as counsel:
  • Lead counsel in jury trial for the family of an aircraft mechanic killed because of negligence of a corporate airplane operator who failed to depressurize the airplane during ground operations, causing explosive opening of a cabin door on a Hawker Beechcraft King Air B200.
  • Lead counsel in jury trial for a United States Border Patrol agent against a helicopter manufacturer and a component manufacturer, arising from a crash causing serious injuries to the agent and the death of the pilot.
  • Prosecution of a claim for breach of contract and fraud arising from a business owner’s purchase of three Bombardier Challenger 600 jets for a price in excess of $16 million.
  • Prosecution of an aviation insurance claim for the owner of a Learjet 35 whose airplane was vandalized while in a hangar.
  • Wrongful death claim for the family of a passenger on an air ambulance helicopter who was killed while being evacuated from the scene of an automobile accident.
  • Prosecution of a breach of contract claim against a charter jet operator for failing to honor contract obligations.
  • Prosecution of a product liability claim against a helicopter manufacturer for a U.S. Army helicopter instructor pilot who suffered traumatic amputation of an arm in a rollover crash after loss of control during a training flight.
  • Defense of the seller of a twin-engine Cessna 414 airplane for claims arising out of representations made at the time of sale.
  • Prosecution of a wrongful death case for a pilot who was given inadequate information from air traffic controllers, resulting in flight into a severe thunderstorm and a subsequent in-flight breakup of his twin-engine Piper Aztec airplane.
  • Prosecution of a wrongful death claim for the family of a passenger in a Piper Saratoga airplane who was killed when the aircraft went out of control in instrument meteorological conditions and crashed near Jacksonville, Maryland.
  • Prosecution of a wrongful death claim for the sons of a patient being transported on an air ambulance flight in a Cessna 421 which crashed because of mis-fueling of the airplane by ground personnel.
  • Prosecution of a claim for diminution of value against airframe and engine manufacturers for failure of an engine in a nearly-new business jet aircraft.
  • Prosecution of a claim against a repair station for damage to a Lear jet arising from an explosion that damaged the airplane as a result of improper servicing procedures.
  • Prosecution of a fraud, breach of contract, and breach of warranty case against a repair station for overcharging and overbilling on maintenance and repairs to a corporate jet.
  • Lead counsel in jury trial for a pilot who was seriously injured in an airplane crash caused by catastrophic engine failure in a Twin Commander 685.
  • Defense of the seller of a Boeing 727 executive jet who was sued for claims arising out of representations at the time of sale.
  • Prosecution of a claim for diminution of value of an airplane caused by a factory-authorized repair shop’s causing additional damage to the aircraft during a repair.
  • Prosecution of a claim against a manufacturer’s authorized repair station for allowing damage to occur to a corporate jet during routine maintenance and inspection.
  • Prosecution of a product liability claim against a helicopter manufacturer for a defect that caused injuries to a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
  • Defense of a co-owner of a Challenger jet against claims of a business partner related to accounting for costs and profits of the partnership.
  • Prosecution of a claim against an airline for injuries to a trainee in a flight attendant training program.
  • Prosecution of wrongful death claims for a pilot and flight instructor who were killed after an engine failure on takeoff in a Piper P28R Arrow.
  • Prosecution of an injury claim against an airline for injuring a passenger who needed wheelchair assistance.
  • Prosecution of claims against an airline for injuries to ground personnel resulting from the crash of a military cargo airplane (Boeing 747).
  • Prosecution of claims against an airline under the Montreal Convention for serious injuries to a passenger on an international flight.
  • Prosecution of claims against an airline for defective maintenance practices that resulted in an emergency landing that led to injuries to passengers evacuating the airplane.
  • Prosecution of a claim against a government air traffic control facility for the wrongful death of a minor girl resulting from a controller issuing improper instructions to a pilot of a Cessna 195 during an engine-failure emergency over the coastal waters of Florida.
  • Prosecution of a claim against the manufacturer of avionics in a Piper Meridian that crashed and killed all aboard when the pilot lost control of the airplane in instrument meteorological conditions.
  • Prosecution of a claim against an airline in Belize for a passenger’s serious injuries resulting from an engine failure and a crash landing in a Cessna Caravan.
  • Wrongful death claims for the families of a U.S. Army instructor pilot and an enlisted soldier who were killed in a war zone because of a manufacturing defect in a helicopter power control assembly.
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Pierce Sauer represents injured passengers, pilots, and families across America