Jeffrey Ellis focuses his practice on aviation, insurance, products liability, commercial, litigation and appellate matters. Jeffrey represents airline carriers in connection with the various liability and regulatory issues confronting the aviation industry on both the domestic and international fronts. In this regard, he consults with airlines, manufacturers, insurers and industry groups to analyze the legal and regulatory implications of issues related to the federal and/or international preemption of aviation safety and security standards, code share and alliance relationships, connecting carrier relationships, the Montreal/Warsaw system, the Chicago Convention and regulation of drones.

Jeffrey represented the interests of United Airlines in the litigation arising from the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He also represented the interests of Delta Air Lines in the Swissair/Delta Flight 111 crash, Continental Airlines in the Air France Concorde crash, Delta/Northwest in the litigation arising out of the Underwear Bomber incident, GAMA in product preemption litigation and CTA and AUVSI in drone preemption litigation.

In conjunction with his practice, Jeffrey argued the first cases to recognize that:

  • an airline’s compliance with federal aviation standards is a complete defense to any liability claims asserted against it;
  • federal jurisdiction can be acquired in cases arising out of alleged violations of aviation safety standards, irrespective of whether diversity jurisdiction exists;
  • federal law preempts airline warning and seat requirements and in the absence of a breach of a federal standard requires dismissal of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) claims;
  • an airline’s liability for an alleged wrongful removal, breach of contract and/or false imprisonment arising out of a refusal to transport is immunized by federal law and can be limited by the terms of the contract of carriage to a refund of the unused portion of the ticket; and
  • federal law pre-empts local laws seeking to regulate drone operations.

In addition to his substantial aviation practice, Jeffrey represents insurance companies in claim disputes and manufacturers in complex products liability cases. He has more than 30 years of experience trying and arguing cases in various state and federal courts. He is listed in the Guide to the World’s Leading Aviation Lawyers.


  • New York
  • US District Courts of the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
  • US Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third, Fifth, Seventh and Ninth Circuits
  • Supreme Court of the United States


  • J.D., St. John's University, 1978
  • B.A., Albany State University, 1975