Steven Raffaele is a partner in the Litigation Practice Group of Holland & Knight's New York office. Mr. Raffaele concentrates his practice on complex commercial litigation and dispute resolution, with an emphasis on aviation, contract, and product liability matters. Mr. Raffaele also counsels start-up and closely-held businesses regarding corporate structure, contract negotiation and interpretation, and litigation avoidance.

Mr. Raffaele is dedicated to being a trusted counselor and advisor and clients seek out his business judgment, client-driven focus and results. He has represented clients across myriad industries in federal and state courts, including New York's Commercial Division, and has litigated commercial disputes to verdict.

From the start of his career, Mr. Raffaele has represented foreign and domestic air carriers and manufacturers (and their insurers) in state and federal courts throughout the country in all stages of litigation and dispute resolution. He has extensive experience litigating aviation claims, including those involving federal aviation statutes and international treaties, breach of contract and warranty, passenger injury and mass casualty, privacy and consumer protection, delay, denied boarding, discrimination, and class action. Mr. Raffaele also has represented his airline clients in regulatory enforcement proceedings brought by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Mr. Raffaele is strongly committed to charity and community, including working with 9/11 charities, volunteering with the American Red Cross, and mentoring inner-city high school students. Mr. Raffaele also maintains an active pro bono caseload focused on helping those in need.

While at Fordham Law School, Mr. Raffaele was a member of the Fordham Environmental Law Journal and worked at the New York District Attorney's Office, Queens County, Appeals Bureau.

While at Boston University, Mr. Raffaele studied Psychology and Italian Studies and also completed a course of study at the Università degli Studi di Padova in Padua, Italy, where he studied Italian language and literature. Mr. Raffaele graduated from Boston University with distinction for his academic achievement, and was awarded the College Prize for Excellence for graduating first in his class in Modern Foreign Language and Literature.

Born and raised in Queens, NY, Mr. Raffaele is a graduate of Regis High School in New York City.

Representative Experience

  • Represents JetBlue Airways Corporation in state and federal litigation nationwide
  • Represented foreign and domestic airlines in hundreds of tort and commercial actions
  • Defended an airline client in a putative class action alleging invasion of privacy in connection with a California wiretapping statute
  • Defended an airline client in a New York federal court alleging breach of purchase agreement, unjust enrichment, and fraud. Obtained dismissal of an action in favor of client
  • Defended a leasing company client in a New York federal court action alleging a breach of a lease agreement. Obtained summary judgment and the return of a commercial aircraft in favor of client
  • Negotiated the return of commercial aircraft and payment of past rents and interest owed on behalf of an aircraft leasing company client in a New York state court action
  • Defended an aircraft manufacturer client in a breach of contract and warranty action in New Jersey federal court

  • Serves as nationwide counsel to an importer and manufacturer of specialty food products with annual revenues in excess of $400 million
  • Serves as counsel to a New York-based restaurant group with annual revenues in excess of $10 million
  • Represented the plaintiff in New York federal jury trial against a Fortune 500 company involving breach of contract. Obtained $8 million jury verdict on behalf of the plaintiff; affirmed on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • Represented a railroad client in an appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit stemming from alleged nonpayment of unemployment and retirement benefits
  • Defended a pharmacy benefits manager client against a TRO/preliminary injunction in New York Article 78 proceeding challenging amendments to New York's social services law. Defeated TRO/preliminary injunction in favor of client
  • Defended a long-term care pharmacy client in a New York federal court action involving alleged violations of the False Claims Act and fraud. Obtained dismissal in favor of client
  • Defended a media company client in a breach of contract action in New York's Commercial Division. Obtained dismissal in favor of client
  • Represented a pharmaceutical client in a breach of contract action in New York's Commercial Division involving the nonpayment of licensing fees from sales of pharmaceutical products
  • Represented a consumer product manufacturer client in a breach of contract action in New York federal court for nonpayment of commissions
  • Defended a contractor client at municipal hearing for breach of contract and prevailing wage violations
  • Represented a chemical company client in a patent infringement action pending in federal district court

  • Defended a food flavoring client in nationwide toxic tort litigation arising out of Diacetyl exposure. In case of first impression, defeated exposure claims in consumer context.
  • Defended an aircraft engine manufacturer client in a product liability and indemnity dispute with a downstream maintenance provider

  • Represented a parent in a Hague Convention child abduction case in New York federal court
  • Represented an abused woman in New York family court . Obtained order of protection and divorce decree on behalf of client
  • Obtained charity status on behalf of a nonprofit client based on its mission to create affordable and sustainable housing in Haiti following Earthquake in 2010
  • Defended a charter school client in a breach of contract action brought by real estate brokerage company alleging nonpayment of commissions
  • Represented a Methodist church in connection with the sale of property requiring court approval
  • Represented the board of directors of a charter school in drafting and negotiating contract with governing body


  • Fordham University School of Law, J.D.
  • Boston University, B.A., magna cum laude
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • New York
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • All State Courts in New York
  • American Bar Association, Litigation Section
  • American Bar Association, Forum on Air & Space
  • American Bar Association, Tort, Trial, and Insurance Practice Section
Honors & Awards
  • Chambers USA – America's Leading Business Lawyers guide, Transportation: Aviation: Litigation, 2021-2023
  • The Legal 500 USA, Transport: Aviation and Air Travel - Litigation and Regulation, 2020-2022
  • The Best of the Best USA, Aviation, Legal Media Group's Expert Guides, 2017
  • Guide to the World’s Leading Aviation Lawyers, Legal Media Group’s Expert Guides, 2017-2020
  • Holland & Knight Pro Bono All-Star, 2020, 2021
  • Recognition for commitment to pro bono


Speaking Engagements