Best's Insurance Professionals and Claims Resource

Your Online Portal for Claims Industry Information

Best's Insurance Professionals and Claims Resource

Your Online Portal for Claims Industry Information



Best's Recommended Insurance Attorneys

General Defense


US Bank Tower, 633 West Fifth Street, 60th Floor, Los Angeles, California 90071

Practice Areas

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Appellate Practice
  • Arbitration
  • Aviation
  • Class Actions
  • First and Third Party Defense
  • Insurance Litigation
  • International Law
  • Mediation
  • Product Liability
  • Reinsurance
  • Toxic Torts
  • Mass Disasters

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About Us

Fitzpatrick & Hunt specializes in product liability defense and claims prevention. The firm actively litigates some of the most complex cases facing clients today. These cases are both technically and legally complex and our experienced team of lawyers combines legal acumen with technical expertise to take these cases to conclusion. Whether the case calls for disposition on a motion, alternative dispute resolution or advocacy at trial, our lawyers are prepared and able to defend clients at every stage. Indeed, not only have our lawyers tried these complex cases, but we have taken our representation to the highest level on appeal, including to the United States Supreme Court.

For more than 30 years our lawyers have provided advisory consultation to worldwide insurance markets and product manufacturers in a range of industries. Our lawyers focus on delivering clients a defense strategy that is custom tailored to their needs and remain cognizant of the delicate balance that is the defense of litigation with our clients’ business interests and goals. Lawyers in our firm have successfully led the defenses of sophisticated product manufacturers including engine and aircraft manufacturers, satellite systems manufacturers, avionics manufacturers and suppliers and medical device manufacturers. Our case experience extends from defending clients against stand alone personal injury claims to consolidated cases and multidistrict litigation around the country and abroad. Our range of representations includes clients small and large and our lawyers are equipped to address the specific needs of each in any litigation that may arise.

Our team is well-versed in litigation avoidance techniques and preparedness. We work with clients to establish preventative practices and corrective action protocols, and provide risk assessment and advise them on loss prevention plans to reduce risk and exposure. We focus on product integrity, providing seminars at our clients’ facilities directed to the specific needs of each individual client. Our lawyers have learned there is no one size fits all approach to litigation preparedness and avoidance, and respond to our clients’ needs accordingly.

Communication is critical to our success. Our clients entrust us to provide early and honest case assessment in order to provide them guidance on how to proceed with their claims. We ensure our clients are involved in decision making every step of the way. From initial notice of claim to claim resolution, our clients are our partners in the defense of the litigation and we try to meet their concerns and needs. We also understand the costs and benefits of litigation and offer our clients counsel on these subjects. We appreciate the financial burdens that often accompany defending complex claims and realize litigation to the end does not always fulfill every client’s needs. Our team has the necessary experience in alternative dispute resolution to successfully resolve cases in advance of trial and have successfully mediated high exposure cases to the best interest of our clients.

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Personnel Information

Equity Partners


James W. Hunt

Los Angeles, CA

Admitted
  • New Jersey, 1976
  • New York, 1977
  • California, 1986
Jim has been litigating aviation-related cases for in excess of 30 years, and has been lead trial counsel on numerous large and complex cases during that time, including both multi-district and class action cases. Among them are the Air Canada in-Flight Fire Litigation, Covington, Kentucky; the TWA 843 rejected take-off accident at JFK; the American Airlines accident at Cali, Colombia; the Pepcon "AP" fires and explosions resulting in large subrogation claim in Las Vegas, Nevada; the Astrium telecommuncation satellites solar array litigation; the U.S. Air Force CT-43A (Ron Brown) crash at Dubrovnik, Croatia; the TAM Fokker 100 "thrust reverser" crash, Sao Paolo, Brazil; the Alaska Airlines Flight 261 "jackscrew" accident off-shore of California; a series of teetering rotor system helicopter "mast-bumping" cases; and different class actions involving damage to numerous general aviation engines.


Jim is a frequent lecturer at legal seminars (e.g., the ABA, Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association, American Insurance Association, Embry Riddle, the American Conference Institute, and the Aircraft Builders Council), and his advice is sought by many clients regarding litigation, product integrity and loss prevention. He has been an instructor on legal subjects at the USC Aviation Safety Course. He has been designated as an Outstanding Advocate by the Public Council Law Center for Public Council's Children's Rights Project, and is rated AV by Martindale Hubbell.

Jim is admitted to practice in state and federal courts in New Jersey, New York and California, as well as the United States Supreme Court.

Jim served in the U.S. Army from 1966 through 1970 and was a Helicopter Platoon Commander and Captain with the First Cavalry Division in 1968 – 1969.
Education:
  • Siena College, B.S., 1966
  • Seton Hall University School of Law, J.D., 1976

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Garth W. Aubert

Los Angeles, CA

Admitted
  • California, 1992
Garth focuses his practice on the defense of product manufacturers, airport service providers, aircraft maintenance facilities and airlines in litigation throughout the United States and the world. Garth's practice also includes the defense of toxic tort litigation. Garth defends his clients in matters ranging from multi-state complex litigation and nationwide class actions, to local litigation in California. He represents his clients in both state and federal courts throughout the United States, in addition to proceedings before the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board. He is also responsible for directing the defense of his clients in litigation overseas.


Notable prior cases have included: the defense of a maintenance facility against lawsuits arising from the crash of a DC-8; the defense of a geosynchronous satellite component manufacturer against claims relating to the manufacture of parts for nine telecommunication satellites; the defense of a publisher in federal multi-district litigation arising from the crash of a U.S. Air Force aircraft in Dubrovnik, Croatia; and the defense of a major oil company against litigation throughout the United States arising from an allegedly defective general aviation lubricant.

Garth's practice also includes counseling clients in loss prevention programs, product integrity seminars, contractual provisions and electronic discovery. Garth has presented at numerous professional conferences, including the American Bar Association, Defense Research Institute, Aircraft Builders Council, American Conference Institute, and in the London insurance market. He has published a number of articles with these same organizations on subjects including complex litigation, technology and aviation. He also authored a chapter for Litigating the Aviation Case, 3rd Edition, published by the American Bar Association. Garth is a past Chair of the Aerospace Committee of the Defense Research Institute. He is recognized by Who's Who as one of the leading aviation attorneys in the State of California, and is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell.
Education:
  • University of Southern California, B.A., 1989
  • University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, J.D., 1992

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Partners


Stephanie N. Gonzalez

Los Angeles, CA

Admitted
  • California, 2007
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern, Northern and Southern Districts of California, 2008
Stephanie has represented domestic and international manufacturers, military contractors, and multi-national service and transportation providers in federal and state courts nationwide. She has experience litigating issues confronting both small and large companies, including defense against claims of strict liability, negligence, fraud, breach of warranty and premises liability. Her litigation experience ranges from complex product liability matters and mass tort litigation to contract disputes and property damage claims.


Stephanie's practice covers all phases of civil litigation, including mediation, trials and appeals, and she works closely with clients throughout the litigation process on complex discovery issues, including electronic discovery. She has obtained summary judgment on behalf of her clients in several jurisdictions, and has successfully defended motions based on jurisdictional issues, including the Montreal Convention, as well as discovery disputes and evidentiary matters.

Stephanie published an article on personal jurisdiction over foreign corporations in The Brief, a national publication of the American Bar Association, and has authored articles on the Montreal Convention, preemption in the field of air safety, and recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding personal jurisdiction for the Aircraft Builders Council. Stephanie is a member of the American Bar Association, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and International Aviation Womens Association. Prior to joining the firm in 2007, she externed for the Honorable William Q. Hayes, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of California, and interned with the Appellate Division of the San Diego City Attorney's office.
Memberships:
  • American and Los Angeles County Bar Associations
Education:
  • University of Washington, B.A., 2002
  • University of San Diego School of Law, J.D., 2007

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Christopher S. Hickey

Los Angeles, CA

Admitted
  • California, 1998
Chris has defended numerous aviation industry manufacturers and maintenance providers in litigation stemming from aircraft accidents and aircraft-related incidents. These matters have ranged from simple personal injury and property damage cases to major air disasters, and include: the defense of a major petroleum company against claims stemming from the crash of Alaska Airlines Flight 261, defense of a Japanese aircraft component manufacturer against tort and contract warranty claims arising from nose landing gear collapse incidents, and defense of various helicopter manufacturers in matters stemming from accidents in the U.S., Canada, China, Turkey and Russia. Chris has experience representing both U.S. and international manufacturers and has defended cases at both the trial and appellate levels.


Chris' representation of the firm's clients also entails providing advice as to contractual warranty provisions and assisting clients during contract negotiations. He also periodically presents seminars designed to help aviation companies take steps to prevent and adequately prepare for litigation and has also written articles on recent developments in the areas of electronic discovery, spoliation of evidence and international treaties impacting aviation litigation.

Chris is a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, Aviation Insurance Association, Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association, and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots' Association.

Chris is also a major in the reserve component of the United States Air Force, currently serving as a Judge Advocate. Through his military duty, Chris has gained significant experience in Military Courts-Martial litigation and environmental, personnel and government contracts law. He has also completed the USAF's Accident Investigation Board course and has served as the legal advisor to USAF aircraft accident investigations.
Education:
  • University of California, Los Angeles, B.A., 1990
  • University of San Diego School of Law, J.D., 1998

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Mark Irvine

Los Angeles, CA

Admitted
  • California, 1988
Mark's practice focuses on defense of aviation product manufacturers at the trial and appellate levels, in both state and federal courts. Representative cases include obtaining summary judgment for a military defense contractor arising from the crash of a Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan; defense of a successor product manufacturer resulting in a favorable published appellate opinion; defense of a multi-million dollar attorney-fee claim under a private attorney general theory; and an administrative challenge to the National Transportation Safety Board, resulting in reversal of an adverse probable cause finding.


Mark also has experience in insurance coverage matters in defense of bad faith/declaratory relief actions. Mark has worked as a Court Attorney in both the California State Court of Appeal and the California Superior Court. While attending McGeorge School of Law, Mark served as Articles Editor of the Pacific Law Journal.
Education:
  • University of California, Los Angeles, B.A., 1985
  • University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, J.D., 1988

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Suzanne N. McNulty

Los Angeles, CA

Admitted
  • California, 1989
Suzanne defends aviation assureds in complex litigation matters from major aircraft disasters to private aircraft cases. She has also defended aviation manufacturers in toxic tort litigation involving asbestos, benzene, beryllium and lead exposure. Other aviation matters include: the defense of a satellite manufacturer arising from an alleged power loss on nine telecommunication satellites; the defense of a solid rocket manufacturer arising from the explosion of a rocket fuel plant; defending component part manufacturers in airplane crashes involving skydiving, crop dusting, experimental test flight and combat operations; and defending other aviation matters pending throughout the United States and South America.


Suzanne also handles insurance coverage matters representing the London Market in declaratory relief and bad faith actions, and provides assistance and counseling in the area of California claims handling practices.

Suzanne has presented at many conferences on various aviation and insurance related issues across the U.S. as well as in Canada and Europe. Suzanne is a member of the International Aviation Womens Association and Women in Aviation, International and is admitted in all state and federal district courts in California, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.
Education:
  • University of Massachusetts, B.A., 1982
  • University of San Diego School of Law, J.D., 1988

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Associates



Courtney P. McIntire

Jasmin Motlagh

Ashley D. Rose


Loss Prevention

Conferences and Events

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(See profile under New York, NY for additional information)


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