Eric Strain is an experienced litigator. He represents clients from North America, Europe and Asia through all stages of dispute resolution in the U.S.―including mediation, trial and appeal. He is well known for his work on complex aviation and other matters, and for his ability to visualize and execute legal and technical strategies that have resulted in numerous client successes and important legal precedent. He has nearly two decades of experience representing foreign clients and is particularly skilled at guiding them through the U.S. litigation experience.
Eric works diligently to ensure that his clients’ needs are effectively met, whether their goal is an early cost-efficient resolution or a full and aggressive defense. He has presented and cross-examined countless witnesses in depositions and at trial, regularly briefs and argues important motions in federal and state trial and appellate courts, and has tried cases to verdict in federal and state courts.
Mr. Strain also draws on his aviation industry knowledge to counsel aircraft manufacturing and air carrier clients on U.S. regulatory issues involving the Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration, and during National Transportation Safety Board investigations.
What do you focus on?
I am counsel for some of the world’s largest aviation companies, many of whom are located abroad. In this role, I have developed the skills necessary to counsel foreign clients through the often unfamiliar U.S. litigation system and to protect them from burdensome and intrusive discovery, using the full array of U.S. and foreign laws and international treaties. My courtroom experience is extensive and includes arguing numerous successful motions to dismiss, obtaining jury trial defense verdicts in state and federal courts, arguments before several U.S. Courts of Appeal, and briefings in the U.S. Supreme Court. I am a member of NP Trial®, an international team of our firm’s most experienced trial attorneys.
What do you see on the horizon?
The U.S. court system continues to draw claimants from around the world, even in cases having little or no connection with this country. In many cases, well-executed forum and jurisdictional challenges can result in significant early dismissals or strategic advantages. I closely monitor legal developments in this area, and have become known for establishing important judicial precedents favoring defendants on such issues.
- National defense counsel for some of the largest aircraft manufacturers and distributors in the world located in France, Germany and the United States.
- Defense of $100M commercial claims brought against European aircraft manufacturer following an accident in Norway and a subsequent temporary worldwide fleet grounding, including summary judgment dismissal of fraud and negligent misrepresentation claims.
- Personal jurisdiction and forum non conveniens dismissal of commercial claims brought against French company as adversarial proceeding in U.S. bankruptcy court for Northern District of Texas―ECN Capital (Aviation) Corp. v. Airbus Helicopters, SAS (In re CHC Group, Ltd.), 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60174 (March 28, 2017, U.S. Bankr., N.D. Tex.).
- Counsel for multinational French industrial gases and services company and its U.S. subsidiary against intellectual property claims in the United States.
- Counsel for two Hong Kong airlines for U.S. regulatory and international treaty matters.
- Obtained dismissal on personal jurisdictional grounds of claims brought in United States against French aircraft manufacturer over airline crash in Laos; briefed and argued in the district court and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for complete dismissal, resulting in important published personal jurisdiction precedent―Martinez v. Aero Caribbean, 764 F.3d 1062, 1069-70 (9th Cir. 2014), cert. denied, 135 S. Ct. 2310 (2015) (wrote the brief resulting in the U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of plaintiffs’ petition for review).
- Obtained jury trial defense verdict for French and United States aviation clients against product liability claims brought in Texas state court.
- Obtained unanimous decision from the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals resulting in a published opinion that affirmed the summary judgment dismissal by the U.S. Northern District of Texas of a multimillion-dollar contribution claim brought against United States and European aircraft companies―Nat’l Union Fire Ins. Co. v. Am. Eurocopter Corp., 692 F.3d 405 (5th Cir. 2012).
- Obtained personal jurisdiction dismissal for Texas company in lawsuit in Oklahoma State Court, and defended the dismissal through appeal to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, resulting in favorable precedent for defendants― Montgomery v. Airbus Helicopters, Inc., 2018 OK 17 (2018).
- Defended personal jurisdiction dismissal of French client from California federal court lawsuit on appeal to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals―Watson v. Societe Nationale Industrielle Aerospatiale, 225 Fed. Appx. 716 (March 23, 2007).
- Defended Swedish aviation cold storage provider from commercial claims, resulting in the plaintiff’s voluntary dismissal of client without settlement money paid.
- Defended French client from claims in U.S. federal court lawsuit, resulting in voluntary dismissal by opponent without settlement money paid.
- Obtained personal jurisdiction dismissals for foreign manufacturing clients from federal court in Massachusetts.
- Obtained federal court jury trial defense verdict for aviation client in a wrongful death lawsuit arising from a helicopter crash in California.
Publications and Presentations
- “The FAA releases long awaited proposed rules for small Unmanned Aircraft Systems,” NP Aviation Law Alert, February 20, 2015.
- “The end of general jurisdiction over out-of-state defendants?” NP Aviation Alert, January 23, 2014.
- “Personal jurisdiction: Is no news from the Supreme Court good news for foreign product manufacturers?” NP Aviation Law Alert, June 30, 2011.
- 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 (Boston, MA), June 22, 2011.
- Presenter: “The Nexus Requirement for Specific Jurisdiction Over Foreign Aircraft Manufacturers,” 44th Annual Southern Methodist University Air Law Symposium (Dallas, TX), February 26, 2010.
- “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.
- “Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act: Assessing the Immunity of Foreign States in U.S. Litigation,” American Bar Association’s The Brief, Fall 2004.
- “Recent Developments in Aviation Law,” Southern Methodist University Journal of Air Law and Commerce, Winter 1999.