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Vedder Thinking | News Vedder Price Aviation Attorneys Win Enforcement Victories

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Vedder Price Aviation Regulatory Enforcement attorneys led by David M. Hernandez, Shareholder in the Washington, DC office, achieved three consecutive victories for three different clients arising from various alleged violations of the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) regulations. In each of the cases, the FAA could have proposed civil penalties in excess of $100,000.

The first case involved a client’s alleged improper shipment of hazardous materials, which was processed by a third party freight forwarder. Vedder Price assisted the client by analyzing the facts and nature of the hazmat shipment, including involvement by various third parties, in the context of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs). Vedder Price attorneys determined that the client’s actions did not constitute a violation of the HMRs. After reviewing Vedder Price’s comprehensive response to the FAA’s Letter of Investigation (LOI), the FAA closed the matter without pursuing further enforcement action.

The second case involved a client who allegedly operated an aircraft in an un-airworthy condition in violation of Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 43. The client relied on a third-party maintenance provider to perform various maintenance following client’s purchase of the aircraft. Vedder Price assisted the client by analyzing the facts, reviewing the maintenance logs, and assessing the involvement by various third parties. Vedder Price attorneys concluded that the client’s actions did not constitute a FAR violation. After the Vedder Price team responded to the FAA LOI, the FAA withdrew the matter with the Warning Letter, and decided not to pursue legal enforcement action.

The third case involved a client with an alleged violation of FAR Part 125 large aircraft operations. The FAA alleged that the client was holding out to the public by providing unauthorized transportation to third parties in common carriage. Vedder Price assisted the client by analyzing the facts and circumstances and responding forcefully to the FAA’s allegations. Although Vedder Price prepared a response to the FAA’s LOI, the FAA decided to pursue enforcement action. After the FAA issued a Notice of Proposed Civil Penalty, Vedder Price was able to review the FAA enforcement investigative report, which revealed fatal flaws with the FAA’s case. At a subsequent settlement conference, Vedder Price presented a multi-facetted argument regarding the specific reasons why the FAA should not pursue further enforcement. One month later, the FAA withdrew the matter without pursuing enforcement action.

For more information, please contact David M. Hernandez at (202) 312-3340 (office); (202) 403-1678 (mobile); or e-mail at

Vedder Price is one of the nation’s leading aviation regulatory and finance law firms. Its aviation regulatory attorneys have extensive hands-on experience and expertise in all aspects of aviation and aerospace regulatory matters, which makes Vedder Price unique among its peers. David M. Hernandez, a shareholder in the firm’s Washington, DC office, is the Co-Chair of the Regulation Practice Group and a member of the Equipment Finance Practice Group and adds a valuable skill set well suited for a wide range of aviation and regulatory issues. A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and Northwestern University School of Law, Mr. Hernandez is a former U.S. Department of Transportation Honors Attorney and a former FAA trial attorney/prosecutor. Mr. Hernandez also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Monmouth University, while serving on active duty as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer in the U.S. Air Force.


David M. Hernandez