Thomas L. Gemmell
Transportation & Logistics
Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Advanced Robotics
Polsinelli’s attorneys support virtually all aviation law practice areas. Our multi-disciplinary team combines significant transactional and litigation capabilities and regulatory knowledge, with specialized industry insight that public and private clients need in navigating this complex and highly-regulated environment. Drawing from hands-on action as pilots, operation specialists, engineers, technical advisors, and investigators, and from decades of experience as counsel to aviation businesses, our team utilizes its in-depth knowledge and skills to efficiently address our clients’ legal needs.
Whether brought in to serve as outside general counsel for ongoing support or as special aviation counsel to address specific needs, we represent a diversity of industry participants, including:
FAR Part 121 commercial airline carriers
Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) owners and operators
FAR Part 91 general aviation owners and operators
FAR Part 135 on-demand air charter operators
Developers of airframes, systems, components and major modifications
Aircraft manufacturers, dealers and distributors
Military and government air mobility contractors
Commercial lenders and finance lease firms
Aerial survey, air medical, and air catering providers
Private airport security contractors
Aerospace engineering firms
Hangar owners and hangar development companies
Aircraft fractional ownership program managers
FAR Part 145 repair stations and fixed base operators (FBO)
Our clients rely on our aviation team to handle a broad range of transactional, regulatory, and litigation services, including:
Aircraft Ownership and Use
: handling the purchase and sale of single aircraft to large portfolios, counseling on structures involving aircraft ownership, sales tax and federal aviation tax, and dry and wet lease operating arrangements.
Manufacturing and Certification
: supporting virtually all phases of development, certification (including TC and STC), and product distribution of airframes, systems, and components, and parts.
Acquisitions, Financings, and Lending
: handling both buy- and sell-side mergers and acquisitions including industry roll-ups, planning and executing transactions involving capital-raises, debt and equity financings, senior and subordinated loans, and capital tax leases.
advising on carrier certifications, code share agreements, compliance of commuter and cargo, fractional, acute air medical, and maintenance operations, labor and employment concerns with safety sensitive function crew, risk management, and voluntary and directed disclosures.
Government, Defense, and Airborne Support Operations
: supporting contracting of domestic and foreign airborne operations, including aerial surveillance, emergency response, mission-critical and national security operations such as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), effects delivery, critical infrastructure and border security, communications relay, low-level surveying and other “high risk” operations in austere environments.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems
: counseling on federal and state regulatory compliance, operator and airworthiness certifications, use exemptions, insurance, commercialization strategies, and international trade objectives.
: personal and business use policies, import/export compliance under the ITAR and EAR, domestic and foreigner compliance concerns, national airspace obstruction hazards, and assisting in aviation policy outreach and legislative advocacy.
Litigation, Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution
: handling all manner of accident and incident disputes including counseling on plane crash investigations and loss mitigation, class actions, and Multi District Litigation, as well as claims under products liability and recalls, airworthiness and compliance irregularities, delay and impact, redelivery condition variances, and contract and indemnity including the recovery and replevin of aviation assets.
: assisting with the prosecution and protection of clients’ intellectual property, including the prosecution and enforcement of patent and trademark interests and aircraft technology licensing.
: helping policyholders maximize their insurance coverage investment and minimize long-term costs and risk.
Represented airline in multi-million dollar defective-design and breach of contract lawsuit against designer and developer of automated baggage system.
Represented airline in multi-million dollar breach of contract lawsuit against designer and developer of “flying network” in-flight entertainment system for 777 aircraft.
Represented worldwide consumer products company in business jet crash investigation.
Publications & Presentations
Trying the Aviation Case: Ethical and Practical Pitfalls from Experienced Aviation Counsel
Speaker, Aviation Insurance Association Annual Conference
May 2, 2017
Polsinelli On Drones and Robots: UAS/AR Blog
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