Client-Recommended Attorneys, Adjusters, Experts and TPAs
Client-Recommended Attorneys, Adjusters, Experts and TPAs

Best's Recommended Insurance Attorneys

General Defense

Tower 49, Twelve East 49th Street, 31st Floor, New York, New York 10017

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

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.

Additional Locations

  • Stamford, Connecticut
  • 1 Landmark Square, 21st Floor
  • Stamford, Connecticut 06901
    • Telephone: 203-580-4000
    • Fax: 203-580-4350
  • Los Angeles, California
  • US Bank Tower
  • 633 West Fifth Street, 60th Floor
  • Los Angeles, California 90071
    • Telephone: 213-873-2100
    • Fax: 213-873-2125
  • Princeton, New Jersey
  • Forrestal Village
  • 116 Village Boulevard, Suite 200
  • Princeton, New Jersey 08540
    • Telephone: 609-624-4000
    • Fax: 609-624-4780
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • 10 South LaSalle Street, Suite 3400
  • Chicago, Illinois 60603
    • Telephone: 312-728-4000
    • Fax: 312-728-4950

Client Information

Insurance Clients

Personnel Information

Managing Partner

Garrett J. Fitzpatrick

New York, NY

  • New York, 1974
Gary is the Managing Partner of Fitzpatrick & Hunt, Tucker, Pagano, Aubert, LLP and has been practicing aviation law for over 35 years, representing various aviation companies all over the world. Gary has defended his clients in claims and litigation arising from major airline catastrophes, military crashes and general aviation accidents.

Gary was lead defense counsel for a major defendant in the litigation arising out of the Florida Everglades, ValuJet DC-9 crash in May 1996. His expertise in the aviation field played an instrumental role in creating and adopting of the Government Contractor Defense in military defense litigation. One of the cases he handled was the first to uphold this defense at the Federal Appellate Court level.

Gary also serves as the legal head of the Aircraft Builders Council Program, which is one of the longest running aviation product insurance programs anywhere in the world. In addition to handling the defense of claims and litigation of the numerous companies insured under this Program, he has been instrumental in providing a variety of claims prevention services to these companies, including aviation product liability seminars. These seminars are conducted at each company's facilities across the United States as well as abroad. Gary has also lectured on aviation law at various legal and insurance conferences, and is the author of articles published in both legal and insurance journals and periodicals.
  • University of Dayton, B.S., 1970
  • St. John's University School of Law, J.D., 1973

Equity Partner

Ralph V. Pagano

New York, NY

  • New York, 1993
  • New Jersey, 1993
  • Pennsylvania, 1993
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1993
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, 1993
  • Supreme Court of New Jersey, 1993
  • Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 1993
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 1994
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern and Southern Districts of New York, 1996
Ralph's practice is mainly focused on complex legal matters involving aviation disputes. He has represented engine and component part manufacturers, avionics manufacturers, maintenance providers, airlines, airports and airport ground service providers, in litigation and various forms of Alternate Dispute Resolution throughout the United States and the world. Ralph is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell.

Before changing careers to become a lawyer, Ralph was an engineer with Western Union, RCA/GE American Communications and AT&T Bell Laboratories, making him well suited for the complex aviation and satellite matters in which the Firm is engaged. Ralph furthers his interest in aviation by actively exercising his privileges as a licensed pilot.

Ralph has obtained the highest distinction from his peers and clients by being bestowed an AV Rating from the renowned rating service, Martindale-Hubbell.

Ralph earned both Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Engineering degrees from Stevens Institute of Technology. He received his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law, and subsequently earned an LL.M. in trial advocacy from Temple University, where he later served as an Adjunct Professor for that program.

Ralph regularly writes and delivers papers and speeches on aerospace law for major conferences and journals sponsored by, among others: ABA - Torts and Insurance Practice Section, ABA - Aviation Litigation Section, AIA, Embry Riddle University, Aircraft Builders Council, Lawyer Pilots Bar Association, and the International Society for Optical Engineering. In addition, he has been cited in the U.K. Parliament's Select committee on Trade and Industry, relating to space regulatory matters. Ralph is a registered patent attorney before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
  • Stevens Institute of Technology, B.E., 1984
  • Stevens Institute of Technology, M.E., 1988
  • Fordham University School of Law, J.D., 1993
  • Temple University, LL.M., 1997


Tara E. Nicola

New York, NY

  • New Jersey, 2003
  • New York, 2005
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, 2003
  • Supreme Court of New Jersey, 2003
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 2005
  • Supreme Court of New York, 2005
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York, 2009
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, 2014
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado, 2015
Tara has represented clients in the aviation industry in a variety of complex product liability and negligence actions throughout the United States. 

Tara has significant experience defending airframe manufacturers and component manufacturers in complex product liability cases in both state and federal courts. She also has represented air carriers in personal injury, property damage and complex wrongful death multi-district litigation. Tara has experience in all phases of litigation including discovery, motion practice, trial, mediation and appeals.

She also has worked extensively on e-discovery issues for air carriers and airframe manufacturers, counseling clients on both document retention and preservation policies as well as leading electronic discovery collection, retrieval and production for these clients.

Tara is a member of The American Bar Association, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice, Aviation Committee Vice-Chair of Membership.
  • University of Connecticut, B.A., 2000
  • Seton Hall University School of Law, J.D. (cum laude), 2003
Order of the Coif

Thomas R. Pantino

New York, NY

  • New York, 1993
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern and Southern Districts of New York, 1996
Prior to entering the legal side of the Aviation field, Tom enjoyed a technical career at Grumman Aerospace Corporation, working as a systems design and development engineer on the U.S. Navy F-14D fighter jet program. His work included design of the stores management (weapons) system; the crew's data entry computer; and the Infra-Red Search and Track System (IRSTS). Working closely with U.S. Navy pilots, Tom participated in flight testing of the F-14D during its development program.

In his career as an aviation attorney, Tom has handled claims and litigation throughout the U.S. and abroad. The vast majority of these cases involve claims for wrongful death, personal injury and property damage, arising out of commercial, military and general aviation incidents and accidents. Tom successfully represented a defendant in the litigation arising out of the ValuJet Flight 592 crash into the Florida everglades. Coming full circle, Tom found himself representing Grumman Aerospace in wrongful death claims involving U.S. Navy aircraft, including the F-14. Tom has since represented numerous airframe and aircraft component part manufacturers and aviation-related service providers. He has also successfully defended aviation product manufacturers in litigation arising out of asbestos exposure.

In addition to the state courts in New York, Tom is admitted to the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. Tom has written several articles in the products liability area, and has made product integrity presentations to clients. He is a member of the New York City Bar Association, the American Bar Association and the Aviation Insurance Association. Tom is also registered as a patent attorney before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
  • Stevens Institute of Technology, B.E., 1984
  • St. John's University School of Law, J.D., 1992

Jason L. Vincent

New York, NY

  • New Jersey, 1996
  • New York, 1997
  • Connecticut, 1998
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern and Southern Districts of New York, 2002
Jason has over a decade of experience litigating a multitude of aviation cases arising out of commercial, general and military aviation accidents. Throughout his career, Jason has represented component part manufacturers, airlines and service providers in litigation in both the United States and Europe.

Jason is admitted to practice in the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, in both state and federal courts. Additionally, he has appeared pro hac vice on behalf of several of the firm's clients in both state and federal courts throughout the United States.

Jason is a member of the New York State Bar Association, the New York County Lawyers Association, the American Bar Association and the Aviation Insurance Association.

Jason has been recognized by his peers with the prestigious AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating a lawyer can obtain.
  • University of Connecticut, B.A., 1993
  • Seton Hall University School of Law, J.D., 1996

Special Counsel

James C. Stroud

New York, NY

  • Texas, 1973
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 1977
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania, 2000
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, 2013
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas, 2017
After graduating from law school, Jim served four years active duty in the U.S. Navy JAG Corps mostly on aircraft carriers home ported in Norfolk, Virginia. He then associated with the firm of Rawle & Henderson in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he practiced for over thirty-six years before coming to Fitz Hunt.

Jim's diverse litigation practice has included the defense of numerous product manufacturers, insurers and professionals in multiple fields, including class actions in health care settings, toxic and environmental litigation, marine insurance and general liability coverage litigation. Additionally, Jim has represented Japanese clients in a variety of litigation scenaria. He has tried to verdict over a hundred cases and presented oral argument in multiple appellate courts. With this experience, he was elected to the American Board of Trial Advocates and the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel.

Jim is licensed in Texas and Pennsylvania and admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Court of Military Appeals (U.S. Court of Appeal for the Armed Forces), the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 3rd and 5th Circuits, the U.S. States District Courts for the Eastern and Middle Districts of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and the Southern District of Texas.
  • The University of Texas, B.A., 1970
  • The University of Texas School of Law, J.D., 1973

Joseph A. Franceski

New York, NY

  • Telephone: 203-580-4000, 212-937-4028
Practice Areas
  • Automobile Tort
  • Product Liability
  • Municipal Liability
  • Professional Liability
  • Connecticut, 1976
  • New York, 1985
  • University of Connecticut, J.D., 1976


  • Nora C. Devitt
  • Stefanie A. Cerrone
  • Mitch Zyserman

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