Services We Provide

   Stephen P. Watters, Esq.
   Law Offices of Stephen P. Watters
   5101 Thimsen Avenue
   Suite 200
   Minnetonka, MN  55345
   (952) 224-2855

Aviation Litigation

Losing a loved one or suffering an injury in an airplane
crash is a tragedy that no one expects or is prepared
for. The survivors’ suffering and families’ grief is
compounded by the many questions that quickly arise in
the confusing crash aftermath. Answering those
questions and advising a survivor or family regarding
their rights is a complex undertaking in aviation cases.
The lawyers and their firm must be committed to
conducting an extensive investigation, have familiarity
with the federal regulations and their interplay with
various state laws, while being sensitive to the needs
and goals of the survivor or victim’s family. There are
few lawyers who bring all these qualities to their
representation of air crash survivors or victim’s
families. Our experience can be trusted to provide
answers following an air disaster.

Why Watters Law Office

In choosing a law firm, consider experience and
strength. Stephen Watters of the Watters Law Office has
the aviation trial experience you need that few lawyers
or law firms have. We have a national reputation for
handling complex aviation cases throughout the United
States.   Stephen Watters has over 28 years of proven
aviation crash litigation experience.  This experience
includes trials  of not only general aviation, but also
commercial aircraft, Federal Tort Claim cases and
military aircraft and helicopters cases.  We handle cases
throughout the country including Alaska. We have
experience with wrongful death and injury cases in  
different states. This experience gives us the ability to
determine what happened and to hold responsible
parties t accountable.  Compare Watters Law Office’s
strength and experience when choosing a law firm.

Attorneys & Clients Choose Watters Law

In deciding on legal representation following an aircraft
accident, referring attorneys and clients who retain
Watters Law Office will be working with an Aviation Team
that gives them personal attention. Our arrangements
with referring attorneys are flexible, and we encourage
their input and assistance on case development. We
understand the value and importance of referring
attorneys when we file suits in different jurisdictions.  
Our top priority is to satisfy our clients and referring
attorneys. We value a solid relationship with referring
attorneys who repeatedly refer clients to Watters Law

Commercial Accident Litigation Experience

The crash of a scheduled commercial, commuter or
charter aircraft generates significant public interest. The
information provided by the media often focuses on the
sensational aspects and is rarely a sufficient or accurate
basis for bringing a claim. These cases require an
enormous amount of investigation and evidence
analysis that we are committed to undertaking. Watters
Law Office possesses knowledge of the international,
federal and state laws and recent developments in
complex cases to effectively plan and try these claims.
Commercial Aviation cases handled by Stephen Watters
and Watters Law Office include:

•        $3,000,000 verdict in runway crash of TWA MD-80
and Cessna 441, Lambert St. Louis International Airport
(STL), Missouri Federal Court; Stephen Watters was lead
Plaintiff’s counsel, and total verdicts exceeded

•        Verdict in excess of $600,000 against NWA for
passenger’s hearing loss in one ear caused by
pressurization problems on a DC-9, Minnesota State
Court, Hennepin County.

•        Multi-million dollar confidential settlements in
crash of Boeing 737 Aircraft, involving a Pratt & Whitney
jet engine, Cameroon, Africa, Minnesota and
Connecticut Federal Courts.

•        Multi-million dollar settlement in runway collision
between U.S. Air Boeing 737 and Sky West Airlines
aircraft, Los Angeles (LAX), California Federal Court.

•        Taxiway Collision between Federal Express MD-80
and DC-8 BAX Global cargo aircraft, Minneapolis,
Minnesota Federal Court.

In order to obtain a fair settlement that is in the best
interest of our clients, the defendants and their insurers
often require the settlement amounts to be kept
confidential. Under certain circumstances, it is also in
the client’s best interest to negotiate confidential
settlements in order to protect their privacy. Where
settlements are listed as confidential, we are not able to
provide more information because of these
confidentiality requirements.

General Aviation Crash Litigation Experience

Our experience with general aviation litigation matters
has involved various models of single engine and twin
engine aircraft, turbo-props, and various models of
helicopters, as well as agricultural, experimental and
home-built aircraft. These cases involve Piper, Beech
and Cessna aircraft and other manufacturers and
manufacturers of aircraft engines such as Lycoming and
TCM,  propellers and other aircraft systems and
components. We have extensive experience with claims
and liability issues involving pilots, flight instructors,
aircraft owners, operators, charter companies, fixed
base operators (FBO), insurers, aircraft repair and
maintenance facilities, FAA certified repair stations and
the FAA Air Traffic Control Systems. Recent cases

•                Confidential multi-million dollar settlement of
wrongful death claim from the crash of Piper Saratoga
aircraft involving issues of piloting, weather,  accident
reconstruction for the claims against the pilot estate and
crashworthiness testing of the Piper restraint system
including actual testing of the Piper restraint system
under crash loads in an exemplar fuselage with an
exemplar restraint system.

•        Lead trial counsel in a 4 week trial of crash of
Beech Bonanza V-35 aircraft from engine failure due to
improper maintenance. Insurance policy limits only
$200,000 per person, total judgment for injuries to pilot-
rated passenger and pilot over $1,600,000. Settlement
after notice of bad faith claim against insurer for over

•        Settlement for severe injuries to flight instructor
from crash of Piper Warrior after engine failure due to
broken Lycoming crankshaft. Improper overhaul by
Plaintiff’s employer. Employer and aircraft owner were
two separate corporations, but had common ownership.
Claim against owner-overhaul entity barred by workers
comp. Claim against the aircraft owner corporation.
Prevailed on summary judgment for claim against
corporate owner and confidential settlement during trial.

•        Lead counsel in multi-party wrongful death cases
involving Piper Saratoga that crashed into Mississippi
River as a result of structural failure resulting in
confidential settlements in excess of 3.5 million
including establishing coverage under a commercial
general liability policy.

•        General aviation aircraft crash and wrongful death
as a result of muffler failure and carbon monoxide
poisoning. Substantial confidential seven figure policy
limits settlement.

•        Counsel for families of four businessmen returning
from Canadian fishing trip. Piper Malibu crashed in
severe weather. Significant multi-million dollar
confidential settlement in complex cases involving FAA
Center Air Traffic Controllers and FAA En Route Radar
System failure. This involved sophisticated
reconstruction of weather, ATC radar of route of flight,
aircraft systems and Air Traffic Control Center and radar
data processing system procedures.

•        Mid-air collision of Cessna aircraft and sightseeing
helicopter in Juneau, Alaska resulting in confidential
million dollar plus settlement for wrongful death.
Established by summary judgment motion that pilot rated
instructor passenger had legal status as a passenger
and no duties based on pilot status.

•        Claim by the pilot of a Cessna 140 against the fixed
base operator regarding aerodynamic issues and annual
inspection requirements.

•        Cessna 421 crash in the Florida Everglades as a
result of an in-flight fire. Representation of passengers
against aircraft manufacturer and third parties.
Confidential wrongful death settlement.

•        Representation of a passenger of a Cessna aircraft
that crashed near the Rush City, Minnesota, airport.
Policy limits settlement for personal injuries.

•        Personal injury representation of the pilot of an
aircraft that crashed attempting to takeoff in St. Cloud,
Minnesota, as a result of engine failure due to fuel

•        Representation in connection with severe burn
injuries related to a ground re-fueling accident of ag
spray aircraft.

•        Representation of a pilot of a Bell Helicopter used
in agriculture spraying. Wrongful death claims against
helicopter seller and fixed base operator.

•        Property damage cases involving Beechcraft and
local fixed base operator involving A-36 and F- 35

•        Representation of ground personnel in connection
with the crash of Beech F33 aircraft after takeoff from
local airport.

•        Claim resulting from the crash of a Bell Jet Ranger
and involving the pilot restraint system. Confidential
settlement for severe personal injuries.

•        Claim against aircraft manufacturer for fuel vapor
lock. Confidential settlement for wrongful death.

•        Federal tort claim act case against the FAA Air
Traffic Control Tower in Montana for wrongful death.

•        Confidential personal injury settlement of behalf of
the pilot of a small aircraft against the U.S. Air Force, Air
Traffic Control, Rapid City, South Dakota, during an air
show for denying emergency permission to land.

•        Property damage cases involving models of
agricultural helicopters and aircraft including Ag-Cat,
Bell and Cal-Air.

Military Aviation, Fire Fighting and Special
Use Litigation Experience

Military aviation accident litigation is a highly specialized
area in which Stephen Watters of Watters Law Office has
successfully represented members of the United States
armed services, their surviving family members or non-
military plaintiffs in actions involving military aircraft,
helicopters, or training aircraft  has prosecuted claims
against manufacturers of military aircraft, engines,
helicopters, component parts and private contractors
who provide maintenance and overhaul to the U.S.
military under government contracts. One of the many
challenges in any aircraft accident case is  knowing how
to obtain and locate evidence to reconstruct the
accident and obtain all necessary technical information,
including information from the FAA and the aircraft or
component manufacturer. Watters Law Office utilizes
nationally recognized expert witnesses to assist in the
preparation and trial of these and all of its aviation

•        Fire Fighting Tanker Crash.  Center wing structural
failure of Lockheed C-130A used by Hawkins and Powers
for the Forest Service, June 2002, Walker, California.
Confidential settlement from crash of surplus military C-
130A from military contractor that performed ‘depot” or
major overhaul on center wing in early 1980s while
aircraft in Air Force service. Aircraft retired by Air Force
and eventually transferred to Forest Service contractor
for use as a Tanker.

•        Significant confidential settlements of three
wrongful death claims and two severe burn injury cases
arising out of a crash of a C-130 military aircraft. Claims
involving Air Force contract overhaul facility,
Hayes/Pemco. Case settled after significant evidence
was presented to the court, including a claim for
punitive damages for falsifying maintenance records.

•        Two wrongful death actions against the engine
manufacturer, Pratt Whitney, and the overhaul facility
relating to engine failures on a Air Force C-141 aircraft
which crashed in Italy. Our early involvement allowed for
preservation of critical evidence.

•        Successful trial result involving the crash of a
Sikorski CH-53D Helicopter in Arizona. Trial in State
Court in Minnesota relating to tail rotor gear box failure.

•        Representation of clients in the air disaster at
Gander, Newfoundland, December, involving air military
charter which crashed on a refueling stop.

•        Three wrongful death cases involving the crash of
an Air Force C-130E model aircraft as a result of throttle
cable failures in State Court in Minnesota and the U.S.
District Court in Arkansas.

•        Wrongful death action from crash in North Carolina
involving a Sikorski UH 60 helicopter action in U.S.
District Court.

•        Representation of 14 families in connection with a
crash of a C-130 H aircraft in Turkey relating to an engine
mount failure and engine failure. Successful confidential
settlements reached in all 14 wrongful death cases. At
the time, some of the largest settlements in Minnesota.

•        Crash of a T-38 military training aircraft as a result
of wing fatigue failure. Claim against both the aircraft
manufacturing contractor, Northrop Corporation, and
service contractor, Texas.

•        Crash of military transport aircraft as a result of
lightning strike. Representation of families of crew

Watters Law Office’s  experience provides a family with
security in knowing what to expect during an
investigation and how the various federal law can be
used to answer their many questions following an
aviation disaster. Watters Law Office can also provide
assistance to the family and answer questions in the
areas of wills, probate, trusts, estates, estate tax, and
related matters.

If you have any questions, please contact Stephen P.
Watters of the Watters Law  Office at (952) 224-2855, 5101
Thimsen Ave, Suite 200, Minnetonka, MN  55345:  or
email at the following: