Cozen O’Connor: Litigating Your Aviation Disputes

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Litigating Your Aviation Disputes

Cozen O’Connor prevailed on behalf of our client, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in a commercial case against Air Capital Group (ACG), a Miami-based  aviation company, and its principals.  During a 14-day jury trial in Miami, our team of litigators led by Rick Dunn and Raquel Fernandez obtained a verdict in favor of the DRC and awarded our client more than $2.2 million (not including the pre-judgment interest, costs and attorney’s fees that will likely be awarded under Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act). When Cozen O’Connor became involved in the case, the aircraft was in disrepair, was the subject of a mechanic’s lien, and being detained at Miami International Airport at a rate of $19,000 per month. Further complicating the matter was the fact that the firm’s clients were unfamiliar with the judicial process, and the ACG claimed that DRC representatives had simply misunderstood alleged misrepresentations since none of the DRC representatives spoke English as a primary language. After removing the lien and obtaining possession of the aircraft, Cozen O'Connor presented evidence of fraud, breach of contract, and unfair trade practices, establishing that ACG vastly overstated its capabilities, used unauthorized subcontractors, falsified work reports, and engaged in overbilling. According to Dunn, this case sends the clear message that foreigners can come to the U.S. courts and get a just result.  Fittingly, representatives of the DRC were able to use the aircraft to attend a meeting of the United Nations in New York this fall.


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