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ERIC C. STRAIN

Eric Strain represents foreign and domestic companies in all phases of litigation in federal and state courts throughout the United States and is a graduate of the 2010 National Trial Academy sponsored by the American Bar Association and the American Board of Trial Advocates.

What do you focus on?

I bring more than 14 years of experience acting as national products liability litigation counsel for some of the world’s largest aviation companies, many of which are located abroad. I also provide regulatory and risk avoidance advice to my clients.

As a litigator, I have successfully tried wrongful death cases to verdict in federal and state courts. Most recently, I obtained a defense verdict for a French aviation company that was sued in Texas state court in El Paso in a case involving the crash of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter.

I have also successfully argued before several United States Courts of Appeals. In 2012, I argued before the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the dismissal of a $25.5 million contribution claim against my clients in connection with a tour helicopter crash in Hawaii.

As a client advisor, I draw on my litigation experiences to counsel my clients through formal risk avoidance seminars to help them understand the risks they face in U.S. courts and how by adopting institutional behaviors they can minimize their exposure. I also advise them on maximizing litigation protections in their contracts.

Finally, I counsel my aviation clients during investigations, including public hearings, conducted by governmental authorities, such as the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration and their foreign counterparts.

What do you see on the horizon?

Until the Supreme Court provides some clear answers regarding the “stream of commerce” theory for personal jurisdiction, I see this as an issue that will continue to be hotly litigated as lawsuits bring increasing numbers of foreign litigants into U.S. courts. I have successfully obtained multiple personal jurisdiction dismissals and appellate wins for my foreign clients, and I look forward to working with them on new strategies to minimize their exposure.  

Publications

  • “Personal jurisdiction: Is no news from the Supreme Court good news for foreign product manufacturers?” Nixon Peabody Aviation Law Alert, June 30, 2011
  • “The ‘Nexus’ Requirement for Specific Jurisdiction in Product Liability Cases: What Do Federal Courts Require Before a Forum Can Exercise Specific Jurisdiction Over a Foreign Manufacturer Who Did Not Place the Product Into the Stream of Commerce in the United States,” Product Liability 360, March 2009 (co-author)
  • “Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act: Assessing the Immunity of Foreign States in U.S. Litigation,” published in the American Bar Association’s The Brief, Fall 2004
  • “Recent Developments in Aviation Law,” Southern Methodist University Journal of Air Law and Commerce, Winter 1999
  • Editor of Nixon Peabody Aviation Law Alert

Presentations

  • Panel Moderator: “The View from the Regulators: NTSB and FAA Speak Out on the Latest Aviation Litigation Trends,” ACI Third Annual Forum on Defending and Managing Aviation Litigation, June 22, 2011, Boston, Massachusetts
  • “The Nexus Requirement for Specific Jurisdiction Over Foreign Aircraft Manufacturers,” Speech Presented at 44th Annual Southern Methodist University Air Law Symposium, February 26, 2010, Dallas, Texas

Representative Experience

  • Takacs v. American Eurocopter Corp., Texas State Court, El Paso (November 2012).

    Obtained defense verdict for helicopter distributor on product liability wrongful death and serious personal injury claims arising from the crash of a U.S. Border Protection helicopter.

  • National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania v. American Eurocopter Corp., 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 18152 (5th Cir. 2012).
    Obtained unanimous decision for  Eurocopter and its U.S. affiliate, American Eurocopter, from a three-judge Fifth Circuit panel in a published opinion that fully affirmed the summary judgment dismissal by the Northern District of Texas of a multi-million dollar contribution claim against them.

  • Martinez v. Aero Caribbean, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56041 (N.D. Cal., Apr. 20, 2012).
    Obtained dismissal on personal jurisdiction grounds of Avions de Transport Régional (ATR) in connection with wrongful death lawsuit arising from the November 5, 2010, crash of Aero Caribbean S.A. Flight #883, an ATR-72-212 turboprop aircraft, near Guasimal in Sancti Spiritus Province, Cuba, which resulted in 68 fatalities.

  • . . . View all . . .
  • Harry Newman, et al. v. European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company EADS N.V., et al., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63503 (D. Mass., June 16, 2011).
    Represented Socata SAS; Socata North America, Inc.; European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company EADS N.V.; EADS North America, Inc.; Compagnie Daher, S.A.; Daher, Inc. in a product liability and negligence lawsuit arising from the fatal crash of a Socata TBM-700 airplane in bad weather during an attempted landing at an airport in Massachusetts. The court granted motions to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction for each client.

  • Counsel for ATR-42-320 Empire Airlines (Federal Express) accident at Lubbock, Texas on January 27, 2009. Accident involved flightcrew error in icing conditions resulting in two injuries and a hull loss.
    Counsel for ATR-42-320 Empire Airlines (Federal Express) accident at Lubbock, Texas on January 27, 2009. Accident involved flightcrew error in icing conditions resulting in two injuries and a hull loss. Represented the manufacturer ATR for the NTSB Public Hearing. The ATR aircraft was completely exonerated.

  • Jerpe v. Aérospatiale Helicopter Corporation, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California (September / October 2008).
    Obtained a complete defense jury verdict for helicopter distributor that was the sole defendant in a wrongful death case arising from an emergency medical services helicopter crash.

  • Mezaki v. Eurocopter, S.A.S., U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona (July 2008).
    Obtained a complete pretrial dismissal of all claims brought against a French aircraft manufacturer and its U.S. distributor who were the sole defendants in a wrongful death case arising from a tour helicopter crash in the Grand Canyon.

  • Watson v. Société Nationale Industrielle Aérospatiale, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 225 Fed. Appx. 716, 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 7246 (9th Cir., Mar. 23, 2007).
    Successfully argued personal jurisdiction and agency issues to obtain affirmance of district court’s dismissal of French aircraft manufacturer from wrongful death litigation.

Media Clips

  • Bay Area People
    San Francisco Business Times | February 2, 2012

    This news brief notes that San Francisco Labor & Employment attorney Paul Lynd and San Francisco Products attorney Eric Strain have been promoted to the firm’s partnership.

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Eric C. Strain