McAfee & Taft’s Aerospace Industry Group provides comprehensive legal and business consulting services to the aerospace and aviation industries. Our clients include aircraft and component manufacturers, service and repair companies, developers of aerospace technology, airlines, aircraft owners and operators, airparks, fixed base operators, private and commercial pilots, mechanics, buyers and sellers of aircraft, and aircraft sales, leasing and financing companies.
Comprehensive Legal and Business Services
Corporate, Business and Growth Strategies
While the firm’s business and corporate attorneys are available to provide ongoing counsel on a variety of day-to-day and operational matters, they are most frequently called upon to use their collective experience and skills to handle important business negotiations and complex transactions designed to achieve their clients’ profitability and growth objectives. Our lawyers routinely assist clients with business formation, business financing, mergers and acquisitions, real estate and development, long-term supply and distribution contracts, purchase orders and purchase agreements, regulatory issues, business restructuring and workouts, debtor and creditor rights, antitrust and trade regulation, taxation, and tax-advantaged activities such as business incentives, tax credits and federal and state deductions. Our collective experience also includes the handling of government/military contracts, agreements and grants.
Litigation and Dispute Resolution
- Commercial Disputes – With more than 60 litigators, McAfee & Taft boasts considerable experience, expertise and bench strength helping clients resolve a broad range of business disputes through aggressive advocacy and strenuous negotiations, trials, arbitration and mediation. Issues common to the aerospace industry include those involving contracts and other business agreements, collections, lien priority disputes, unfair trade practices, public contracting, corporate governance and complex business relationships.
- Aviation Accident and Crash Litigation – Over the years, the firm has developed specific expertise defending aircraft owners, pilots, mechanics and fixed base operators in numerous lawsuits arising from aviation crashes and other accidents, including bird strikes. The firm also has experience defending airlines against passenger personal injury claims.
- Products Liability – McAfee & Taft has one of the most active products liability defense practices in the area and is experienced at representing manufacturers of aircraft and engines in lawsuits alleging defective products and wrongful death.
- Federal Agency Matters – In addition to representing pilots, mechanics and repair stations in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) enforcement actions and inquiries, we also have experience representing clients in FAA licensing issues.
- Intellectual Property – The firm assists aerospace industry clients in protecting and enforcing their rights in patented inventions and technology, trademarked products and services, copyrighted works, confidential and proprietary trade secrets, negotiated license agreements and other business agreements involving intellectual property assets.
- Qui Tam Lawsuits and Governmental Investigations – The firm has particular experience defending clients, including government contractors in the aerospace industry, in qui tam lawsuits brought by “whistleblowers” on behalf of the government under the federal False Claims Act and similar statutes enacted by states and municipalities. We have also represented clients in criminal investigations brought by federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, Department of Transportation and Department of Defense.
Environmental, Safety and Security
A significant portion of our work in the aerospace industry involves representing clients in a broad range of regulatory matters, particularly as these relate to the ground-based aviation activities. For example, our environmental experience includes representing aerospace clients in administrative proceedings before state and federal regulatory agencies as well as handling litigation involving contaminated sites, cost recovery litigation, and insurance recovery related to environmental clean-ups. Our litigators are assisted by environmental lawyers degreed in technical areas, some with extensive prior experience as staff of federal environmental enforcement agencies. More importantly, our lawyers have the experience to counsel clients to avoid and manage environmental issues.
Safety issues are handled similarly, with auditing programs to detect and prevent violations, combined with the skills to manage all types of OSHA issues.
With the ever-growing emphasis on security, our team is at the forefront of advising clients on compliance with security requirements, and providing a trusted interface with the regulating agencies.
Employment, Labor and Employee Benefits
Our firm represents and counsels employers on a wide spectrum of matters involving employment and labor law, employee benefits and workplace safety. For the aerospace industry, this frequently encompasses such issues as Fair Labor Standards Act compliance, hiring and interviewing techniques, employment-based immigration matters and I-9 compliance, discipline and termination, independent contractor agreements, discrimination and retaliation claims, drug and alcohol testing, occupational safety and health compliance, management and supervisor training, and the defense of workers’ compensation claims.
As part of our labor practice, we represent unionized companies in negotiating collective bargaining agreements with labor unions, defend unfair labor practice claims before the National Labor Relations Board, handle strike-related labor disputes, and counsel employers on discipline and discharge grievances as well as arbitrate and litigate such claims. We also counsel non-unionized employers on union avoidance strategies and union organizing campaigns.
Our employee benefits attorneys assist clients of all sizes on group health and welfare plans, qualified and nonqualified group retirement plans, and executive compensation, including equity compensation programs (such as stock option plans, phantom stock plans, and restricted stock award plans), long-term incentive awards and supplemental retirement plans. We also counsel clients on legal compliance, funding and taxation issues, litigate ERISA claims, and handle the employee benefits and compensation aspects of transactions for which the firm provides corporate and securities services.
Inventions, Trademarks and Licensing
McAfee & Taft’s intellectual property attorneys assist clients in enhancing revenue, protecting competitive positions, and maximizing brand value by securing and defending their rights to valuable inventions and technology, trademarks and copyrights, and license agreements. In addition to preparing and prosecuting patent applications both in the United States and worldwide, our patent attorneys provide industry clients with infringement, freedom to operate, and other legal opinions relating to intellectual property rights and frequently counsel clients on how best to protect their confidential and proprietary information as trade secrets.
Aircraft Transactions and FAA Regulations
Our Aircraft Transactions group, which is based in Oklahoma City just miles from the Federal Aviation Administration Aeronautical Center, is known both nationally and internationally in the field of aviation law as having one of the largest and most experienced FAA aviation groups in the United States. We actively represent local, national and international clients – from individuals to leaders in industry – on a wide spectrum of aviation matters, including the documentation of aircraft transactions, aircraft title matters, registration of interests in aircraft with the FAA and International Registry, fractional ownership and operational issues, Section 1031 tax-deferred like-kind exchanges, escrow closings, closing and post-recordation opinions, and aircraft title insurance considerations for both owners and lenders.