Randal Robert Craft Jr. heads the firm's National Aviation Industry Team. Mr. Craft's practice is devoted primarily to providing advice and conducting litigation concerning aviation, product liability, mass disaster and insurance matters.
Mr. Craft has more than 35 years of experience primarily devoted to advising and representing aviation clients, especially as lead counsel in major air crash cases and National Transportation Safety Board investigations throughout the United States, including, among major crashes, the TWA Flight 800 B747 crash near Long Island, the American Airlines MD82 accident at Little Rock, the USAir F28 crash at New York City, the runway collision between a USAir B737 and a Skywest Metroliner in Los Angeles, the United Airlines DC10 crash at Sioux City, and the American Airlines DC10 crash in Chicago. He provided further advice and representation for related investigations by the Federal Aviation Administration and Congress. As to major overseas accidents, he was co-lead counsel for Pan American on the Tenerife B747 collision and lead counsel for UPS in connection with the Flight 6 B747 crash in Dubai, and he was U.S. lead counsel for Air France on the Concorde crash and for Turkish Airlines in connection with the Flight 1951 B737 crash in Amsterdam. He has also advised clients in connection with NTSB investigations of various less-well-known U.S. crashes and foreign governments' investigations of foreign accidents.
Because of his extensive experience in dealing with the NTSB, Mr. Craft was invited by the NTSB to be the moderator of the panel on accident investigation, proprietary information, and tort litigation at the NTSB Symposium on Transportation Safety and Law in Washington, D.C., in 2000, where he also served on the final panel discussing solutions for safety. In December 2007, Mr. Craft spoke at NTSB headquarters to NTSB technical staff members on the roles and concerns of outside counsel of parties in NTSB investigations, and he was invited back to give the same presentation to NTSB Board members and other staff members in October 2008. In February 2015, Mr. Craft was a leading participant in the NTSB General Counsel’s Listening Session. Much earlier, he was one of two defense counsel who participated in the by-invitation-only NTSB forum on the function of NTSB accident investigations sponsored by the RAND Institute of Civil Justice in Santa Monica, California in 1998. Also in 1998 (November), he was featured in an Air Transport World strategic management article, "In Disaster's Wake," which addressed airlines' readiness to respond properly to an accident.
Mr. Craft has spoken on numerous other occasions about handling NTSB investigations. In 2005, he was a speaker on what airline risk managers need to know about NTSB investigations at the International Air Transport Association Airline Insurance Conference in London. In 2003, he was the moderator of a panel on NTSB accident investigations at the American Bar Association Aviation Litigation Seminar in New York City. As earlier examples, he spoke on this topic at the ABA Forum on Air and Space Law Conference in San Francisco in 1998, at the European Aerospace Risk Management Seminar in Amsterdam in 1994, and at the Air Line Pilots Association Attorneys' Accident Investigation Course in Washington, D.C., in 1990.
In non-aviation cases, Mr. Craft has extensive experience as lead counsel in numerous product liability cases across the United States, including mass disaster cases for manufacturers of all kinds of products, including industrial machinery, railcars, chemicals, electrical equipment, engines, toys, medical equipment and household consumer products, and he has counseled these manufacturers on preventive measures. In insurance cases, he has advised and represented insurers in dealing with the interpretation of policies, coverage issues and claims settlement procedures.
In June 2015, Mr. Craft was given the rare honor of presenting the Spring Lecture at the New York State Court of Appeals (New York State’s highest court), and he has been a frequent speaker and writer on the handling of aviation and space issues, mass disaster cases, product liability and insurance. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Air Law and Commerce, The New York Times, the National Law Journal, the Journal of Space Law, and various bar association and foreign publications. He was a founder and the first Chairman of the Council of New York Law Associates, now renamed the Lawyers’ Alliance for New York, the nation’s leading pro bono provider of business and transactional legal services for nonprofit organizations.
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