Kevin Sutherland has 25 years of experience representing clients in commercial, aviation and product liability matters. His practice includes representing airlines; airports; municipalities; government contractors; manufacturers of commercial, aviation, space and military products; and their insurers. He has acted as lead counsel in numerous high-value cases involving a variety of products, including telecommunications satellites, satellite launch vehicles, municipal and consumer generators, gas turbine and carbureted aircraft engines, camshafts, consumer and commercial tools, fuel control units, fastening systems and avionics, as well as general aviation, experimental and sub-orbital aircraft. These cases have included significant wrongful death, catastrophic personal injury and property damage claims. His practice includes assisting domestic and foreign clients in a variety of complex disputes with significant cross-border issues, including commercial, regulatory and compliance issues involving US federal and state regulations.
Kevin has been recognized as one of the best lawyers in the United States by a number of leading legal and trade publications. He has held leadership positions in the Defense Research Institute and the American Bar Association. Kevin has published articles and lectured at conferences on a variety of issues, including US regulation of unmanned aircraft systems, liability and insurance implications arising from development of autonomous vehicles, the use of accident reconstruction and virtual reality evidence, risk management and litigation strategy. Kevin has represented clients in litigation pending in several states throughout the United States.
In addition to his role as chair of the Global Aviation Practice Group, Kevin is also the Managing Partner of the San Francisco Office.
- New York
- District of Columbia
- US Supreme Court
- J.D., Syracuse University School of Law, 1992. Executive Editor of the Syracuse Journal of International Law and Commerce.
- B.A., Philosophy, University of California, Los Angeles, 1988
- American Bar Association
- Aviation Insurance Association
- Defense Research Institute
- Air Law Association of Australia and New Zealand
- Helicopter Association International
- Scholey v. CAE – Representing manufacturer of full flight simulator in product liability litigation pending in US District Court for the District of Arizona.
- Gould v. Harbor Freight Tools – Representing product retailer in litigation pending in US District Court for the District of Nevada alleging sale of defective electric generator.
- Kenville v. Harbor Freight Tools – Representing product retailer in litigation alleging sale of defective consumer tool.
- Crash of Robinson R-44 Raven II in Ten Mile Lake, Minnesota – Representing manufacturer of helicopter engine in defense of litigation arising from crash of a Robinson R-44 Raven II helicopter.
- Crash of Mi-8 MTV Helicopter in Afghanistan – Representing operator of Mi-8 MTV helicopter in litigation arising from crash in Afghanistan.
- City of Anaheim v. Air New Zealand – Represented engine overhaul service provider in litigation arising from alleged failure of GE LM5000 industrial gas turbine engine.
- Crash of US Navy Sikorsky MH-60S Helicopter off Coast of California on January 26, 2007 – Secured dismissal of fastening system manufacturer in a lawsuit arising from the crash of a US Navy helicopter engaged in a training mission.
- Crash of US Army Chinook 427 Helicopter in Afghanistan on February 17, 2007 – Represented and obtained dismissal of manufacturer of Full Authority Digital Engine Control Unit in litigation arising from the crash of a US Army helicopter carrying 22 servicemen engaged in a combat mission with the 2nd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.
- Crash of Beechcraft King Air 200 near Punto Chivato, Mexico – Secured dismissal of gas turbine overhaul and repair service provider in case arising from crash of aircraft shortly after take-off from Punto Chivato Airport.
- Bullock v. Aviat Aircraft, Inc. – Secured dismissal of experimental aircraft manufacturer in wrongful death actions filed by representatives of the estates of the pilot and passenger.
- Crash of Rockwell 112 TC Aircraft in Los Angeles – Counsel for the County of Los Angeles in wrongful death actions filed by representatives of the estates of the pilot and passenger alleging crash was caused by defective design of airport runway. Defense verdict in favour of County obtained at trial.
- Astrium, S.A.S. v. TRW, Inc. – Represented Fokker Space against product liability and commercial claims for US$135 Million in damages arising from alleged degraded performance of telecommunications satellite.
- Zacher v. Robinson Helicopter – Represented manufacturer of helicopter in appeal of dismissal of wrongful death litigation arising from crash of a Robinson R-44 Raven II helicopter at Ten Mile Lake, Minnesota. Dismissal affirmed on appeal. 2017 WL 6333908 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018).
- Percy v. Serco, Inc. – Represented private provider of air traffic control services in litigation arising from midair collision at San Diego Brown Field Airport on August 16, 2015.
- Ko v. EVA Airways – Secured dismissal of air carrier in multi-million-dollar case alleging that air carrier wrongfully participated in international child abduction.
- Field v. Philippine Airlines – Represented airline in a lawsuit arising from the arrest of a passenger after making a bomb threat in the airport. Case dismissed and fees awarded to airline based on California Anti-SLAPP statute.
- In Re Deep Vein Thrombosis Multi District Litigation – Represented air carriers dismissed on summary judgment in lawsuits filed throughout the country and consolidated before the United States District Court, Northern District of California. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal under Montreal Convention of 1999 of plaintiffs’ allegations that the air carrier defendants failed to warn them of the risk of developing DVT while passengers.
- Kwon v. Singapore Airlines – Represented air carrier in multi-million-dollar action filed by an ophthalmologist for disabling injuries he allegedly sustained on board the aircraft. Trial resulted in defense verdict enforcing limitation of liability under Article 20 of the Warsaw Convention.
- "US Regulation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles," 12th Beaumont International Aviation Conference, London, June 2014
- "The Right to Fly: The Evolution of Airline Liability in the US for Parental Kidnapping and "No-Fly" Lists," Aviation Law Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference, Sydney, Spring 2013
- "Preemption and Removal Jurisdiction in the United States," 11th Beaumont International Aviation Conference, London, June 2012
- "Major Airline Accident Claims Handling in Asia and the US," 2011 Aon Asia Pacific Aviation & Aerospace Seminar, Bangkok, September 2011
- "Forum Non Conveniens Dismissal in the United States," Willis IATA Asia Pacific Aviation Insurance Conference, Singapore, March 2011
- "Social Media and the Law," Lloyd's Library Market Seminar, London, January 2011
- "Products Liability in the US – What You Need to Know," Lloyd's Library Market Seminar, London, January 2011
- Co-presenter, "Hot Topics in the US and Canada," 10th Beaumont International Aviation Conference, London, June 2010
- "Getting The Deal Through," Aviation Liability 2018, Law Business Research Ltd., 2018
- "The Continuing Evolution of US Aerospace Product Liability Litigation," Guide to the World's Leading Aviation Lawyers, Ed. Euromoney Trading Limited, September 2011
- Co-author, "Litigating the Aviation Case – From Pre-Trial to Closing Argument," Third Edition, ABA/TIPS, 2008