Stuart R. Fraenkel

Mr. Fraenkel has a broad range of experience in civil litigation, including complex, high profile aviation, admiralty/maritime, auto, bus, truck, motorcycle, premises, personal injury, wrongful death, products liability, insurance bad faith, business litigation, mass tort, patent and entertainment matters.

Having handled numerous high-profile personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout his career with notable results, Mr. Fraenkel’s litigation experience has spanned the World, including Africa, Asia, Canada, Central America, Europe, Mexico, the Middle East, South America and just about all 50 states of the U.S. He is well versed in State and Federal Tort claims procedures and requirements in addition to being an authority in national and international conflicts and choice of law issues. He has reached the height of professional excellence and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity as a “preeminent-rated” attorney through the prestigious Martindale-Hubbell ® Peer Review Ratings™.

Mr. Fraenkel has litigated numerous international and domestic airline, commuter, military and general aviation crash cases. He was a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee on the China Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Korean Airlines cases. Mr. Fraenkel was one of the lead attorneys in the landmark Silk Air matter.

Some of the commercial airline matters he has been involved with include:

  • Aero Peru, Flight 603, Ancon, Peru;
  • Aeromexico Flight 498, Cerritos, California;
  • Alaska Airlines, Flight 536, Seattle, Washington;
  • Alaska Airlines, Flight 338, Long Beach, California;
  • Asiana Airlines, Flight 214, San Francisco, California;
  • China Air CI 642, Hong Kong, China;
  • China Air, Flight 611, Over the Straits of Taiwan;
  • Ethiopia, Flight 302, Addis Ababa, Africa;
  • Faucett Airlines, Flight 251, Arequipa, Peru;
  • Gulf Air Flight 072, Bahrain;
  • Korean Air, KAL Flight 801, Agana, Guam;
  • Korean Air, KAL Flight 1533, Pohang, Korea;
  • Malaysia Airlines, MH 17, Ukraine;
  • Malaysia Airlines, MH 370, South China Sea;
  • Millon Air, B 707, Manta, Ecuador;
  • Singapore Airlines Flight SQ006, Taipei, Taiwan;
  • Silk Air Flight MI 185, Palembang, Indonesia;
  • TAESA Flight 725, Michoacan, Mexico;
  • Yemenia Flight 626, crash over Indian Ocean.

    Mr. Fraenkel has also handled numerous general and commercial aviation cases involving Airbus, Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, Aero Vodochody, Aerospatiale, Beech Cessna, Citabria, Foland, Gulfstream, Icon, Marchetti, Mitsubishi, Pilatus, Piper, Westwind, and various experimental fixed wing airplanes, Augusta-Westland, Bell, Eurocopter, and Robinson helicopters, and blimps.

    The military accidents Mr. Fraenkel has handled involved Sikorsky CH-53 Super Stallion, EH-101 Merlin, McDonnell Douglas F/A 18 Hornet, Agusta Westland EH 101 Merlin, and UH-1N Huey aircraft.

    Some of the more high-profile general aviation matters Mr. Fraenkel worked on were the:

    • 1989 Chuck Norris movie, Delta Force 2 helicopter crash, Tagaytay, Philippines;
    • 1990 Stevie Ray Vaughn helicopter crash, near Elkhorn, Wisconsin;
    • 1991 Col. Donald Madonna, Foland Gnat crash, Shreveport, Louisiana;
    • 2010 Senator Stevens plane crash, Dillingham, Alaska;
    • 2012 Michael DeGruy, Robinson R44 crash, Berry NSW, Australia.

    Mr. Fraenkel is also often called upon to participate as an aviation and legal source by numerous media, radio and television companies worldwide and has been quoted in various publications on numerous occasions. An article featuring Mr. Fraenkel was written for the Cessna Pilot’s Association magazine and another for an ABA TIPS publication. Mr. Fraenkel was also featured as an aviation law expert on a special NBC segment on Hawaiian Air Tour Safety.

    Mr. Fraenkel is a United States Marine Corps veteran. He served as a CH-46 Sea Knight crew chief and A-4 Skyhawk plane captain, receiving numerous commendations during his tour. He also has extensive experience in aviation and vehicle maintenance—including combustion, diesel and turbine engines, electrical systems, hydraulics, structures, avionics systems, ejection systems and airframes. It is this extensive avionic background that has helped Mr. Fraenkel successfully litigate numerous international and domestic airline, commuter, military and general aviation crash cases during a career that has spanned more than two decades.

    Mr. Fraenkel has also litigated numerous first party bad faith actions in cases arising out of the failure of insurance companies to defend and/or indemnify its insured, low-balling, fire loss, etc. Specifically, he was part of the team that received the landmark settlement against State Farm arising out of the Northridge Earthquake.

    Mr. Fraenkel was also part of the team that litigated the famous, landmark case against PG&E which ultimately was made into the academy award winning movie, “Erin Brokovich.”


    • Bachelor of Science, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, 1989
    • Juris Doctorate, Southwestern University School of Law, 1994
    • National Transportation Safety Board, Aviation Accident Investigators School
    • Associate Adjunct Professor for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University


    • California Supreme, Appellate and Trial Courts
    • United States District Court for the District of Arizona
    • United States District Court for the Eastern, Central, Southern and Northern Districts of California
    • United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
    • United States District Court for the Western District of Washington
    • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
    • United States Supreme Court


    • AVVO, 10 out of 10 rating
    • Best Lawyers in America since 2013
    • Best Lawyers in America – Aviation Lawyer of the Year (2020)
    • Lead Counsel Review Board, Lead Counsel Rated – Personal Injury Law, Plaintiff
    • Martindale-Hubbell, AV Preeminent Rated
    • National Trial Lawyers Association Top 100 Lawyers in California, Top 10 Aviation Lawyers and Top 25 Mass Tort Lawyers
    • Southern California Super Lawyer since 2007
    • Who’s Who Legal: Transport
    • Who’s Who Legal: Aviation


    • Served on the Barristers Executive Committee, Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA)
    • Appointed to and served as a Trustee on the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Board of Trustees
    • Board Member for the Los Angeles County Foundation
    • Chair for the Lawyer Referral and Information Services
    • Member of the Access to Justice committee
    • Member of the American Association for Justice (formerly ATLA) and served as the Secretary/Treasurer, Vice Chair, Chair-Elect and Chair for the Aviation section
    • Served as a California State Delegate
    • Member of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Litigation, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice (TIPS), and Air and Space Law sections
    • Member of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA) where he serves on the Board of Governors, the Consumer Association of California (CAOC), and the Public Justice Foundation (PJF)(formerly TLPJ)


    Mr. Fraenkel is a frequent lecturer, having spoken at seminars, functions and educational programs that include American Association for Justice (AAJ/ATLA) CLE events, American Bar Association (ABA); Aviation Law Association of Australia and New Zealand (ALAANZ) CLE events; Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA) CLE events, Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC) CLE events; McGill Air and Space Law CLE events; at numerous law schools such as Southern Methodist University School of Law, University of California Los Angeles, Loyola Law School, and Pepperdine Law School; at numerous FAA safety programs, the Los Angeles Police Department Aviation Division safety seminar, and Orange County Pilot’s Association events.

    Topics upon which Mr. Fraenkel has spoken and lectured include:

    • General Aviation and Revitalization Act
    • Forum Non Conveniens
    • Legal Issues Relating to 9-11
    • Essential Litigation Skills
    • Handling of Wrongful Death Cases in California
    • Tort Reform
    • Trial Preparation (Initial Case Management and Organization, Getting the Most Out of Your Witnesses and Successful Techniques for Using Evidence and Exhibits)
    • Legal Issues that Every General Aviation Owner and Operator Should Know About
    • Aircraft Owner and Operator Liability and Bulletproofing Your Estate
    • Alternative Dispute Resolution in Mass Tort Litigation
    • Aging Aircraft Issues
    • Nuts and Bolts of Using Motions for Summary Judgment
    • Legal Professionalism
    • Legal Consequences of Improper Maintenance
    • Navigating Choice of Law Issues
    • Mechanic Liability
    • Foreign Accidents – U.S. Defendants Frequently Argue Forum Non Conveniens Motions: How Are They Doing?
    • Handling the International Product Liability Case
    • LAPD – Public Aircraft and Aviation Tort Liability
    • Hurdles Along the Way: Plaintiff and Defense Counsel Deal with Various Ethical Issues Arising in a Hypothetical Aviation Case
    • The A, B, C’s of Teaching Aviation Law
    • Evidence – A U.S. Trial Lawyer Primer
    • Discovery Overseas
    • Liability of Aviators: A Risk Management Toolbox
    • The Aviation Trial
    • Effective Deposition: Goals and Strategies for Deposing the Defense Medical Expert
    • Government Tort Immunities – What the Law Giveth, The Law Taketh Away!
    • Blowing the Lid of the Policy, Part 1
    • Blowing the Lid of the Policy, Collecting Excess Judgments, Part 2
    • Bad Faith Anatomy of a Policy Limits Demand
    • What About Me? Loss of Consortium and Bystander Cases
    • Wrongful Death Damages
    • California Personal Injury Non-Economic Damages – Painting the Word Picture
    • FRCP Rule 26 Expert Disclosures
    • CAALA Federal Practice and Procedure
    • CAOC Federal Practice and Procedure
    • Admiralty law – Special rules for boating incidents
    • Presenting Damages – For the Young, Old, Rich and/or the Poor
    • Closing Arguments: Tactics, Techniques and Procedures from the Nation’s Best
    • Navigating Attacks in Federal Court
    • Premises Liability
    • Aviation Litigation in the United States
    • Ethics for the Aviation Lawyer


    • “Preparing for and Presenting Opposition to Forum Non Conveniens Motions,” July 2000, ATLA, 2000 Summer Convention
    • “Interrogatories and Document Requests,” April 2002, NBI, Essential Litigation Skills Seminar
    • “Basic Legal Research and Writing,” April 2002, NBI, Essential Litigation Skills Seminar
    • “Witnesses,” April 2002, NBI, Essential Litigation Skills Seminar
    • “Conflicts of Law in Wrongful Death Cases in California,” Lorman Institute, May 2003, Successful Handling of Wrongful Death Cases in California Seminar
    • “Direct and Cross Examination of an Accident Reconstructionist,” July 2003, ATLA, 2003 Summer Convention
    • “The Need for Tort Reform: Fact or Fiction? A Matter of Perspective,” September 2003, ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, 2003 Annual Aviation and Space Law Committee Conference
    • “Getting the Most Out of Your Witnesses,” July 2004, NBI, Trial Preparation from Start to Finish Seminar
    • “Alternative Dispute Resolution in Mass Tort Litigation,” July 2005, ATLA, 2005 Summer Convention
    • “Commercial Aviation Aircraft Issues – The History of Modern Aging Aircraft Programs,” September 2005, 32 Annual Pacific Northwest Aviation and Insurance Seminar
    • “Aging Aircraft – Issues, Programs and Solutions,” November 2005, ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, 2005 Annual Aviation and Space Law Committee Conference
    • “Nuts and Bolts of Using Experts in Motions for Summary Judgment,” February 2006, Southern Methodist University School of Law, 2006 Air Law Symposium
    • “Death on the High Seas Act – A Labyrinth of Uncharted Waters for Air Crash Disasters,” Spring 2006, ABA Aviation Litigation Quarterly
    • “The Tale of a Tail – The Boeing 737 Saga,” July 2006, AAJ 2006 Summer Convention
    • “Handling the International Product Liability Case”, July 2007, AAJ, 2007 Summer Convention
    • “The A, B, C’s of Teaching Aviation Law,” February 2008, Lawyer Pilot Bar Association 2008 Winter Meeting
    • “Evidence – A U.S. Trial Lawyer Primer,” May 2008, ALAANZ Conference, Sydney, Australia
    • “The Aviation Trial,” July 2009, AAJ 2009 Summer Convention
    • “Collecting, Preserving and Presenting Evidence in Domestic and Foreign Aircraft Accident Cases,” 2010, Annals of Air and Space Law, Institute and Centre of Air and Space Law, Faculty of Law, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
    • “Vetting a Plaintiff’s Case,” 2011
    • “Federal Government Liens – A Military Service Member’s Tort Claims Minefield,” 2012, Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine
    • “Government Tort Immunities – What the Law Giveth, the Law Taketh Away!,” Summer 2012, CAALA Summer Convention
    • “Effective Depositions: Goals and Strategies for Deposing the Defense Medical Expert,” December 2014, Advocate Magazine
    • “Bad Faith: Anatomy of a Policy Limits Demand, Fall 2015, CAOC Annual Convention
    • “The Analysis of Liability in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases,” January 2015, Anatomy of a Personal Injury Lawsuit, Fourth Edition
    • “Special rules for boating incidents,” April 2018, Advocate Magazine
    • “Navigating attacks on your pleadings in Federal Court,” March 2019, Advocate Magazine

    Office Locations

    Nelson & Fraenkel LLP
    601 South Figueroa Street
    Suite 2050
    Los Angeles, CA 90017
    PH 844-622-6469 (toll-free)

    Nelson & Fraenkel LLP
    Two Embarcadero Center
    8th Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94111
    PH 844-622-6469 (toll-free)