As a shareholder in the firm's Aviation Practice Group, Stephen F. Coxhead brings to the firm his broad experience as a litigator practicing in the defense of manufacturers in product liability and complex commercial matters. Over the years, Stephen has successfully handled numerous mass casualty, wrongful death, electrocution and amputation injury cases– receiving several industry awards recognizing the results he achieved for clients.
Focused on issues important to the aviation industry, Stephen has represented manufacturers of aircraft, airframes and component parts in cases arising from crashes throughout the world involving general aviation and commercial aircraft. He has achieved particular success in obtaining dismissals on forum non conveniens grounds and in winning summary judgment under the General Aviation Revitalization Act.
During Stephens' career as a prosecutor in Miami, he conducted a number of successful trials on behalf of the citizens of the State of Florida. His public service extends to significant involvement in several nonprofit organizations within the South Florida community. He has been a member and served on the boards of such groups as the Center for Orthopedic Research and Education of the University of Miami; Coral Gables Community Foundation; League of Prosecutors; Miami Citizen’s Board; and Miami Children’s Hospital Founder’s Society. Additionally, he has been involved in fundraising for the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.
Stephen’s experience in product liability matters includes the representation of heavy equipment manufacturers in litigation involving aerial lift devices, cranes and wood chippers. His extraordinary understanding of how such equipment is built and operated - combined with his knowledge of available legal defenses - has translated into favorable outcomes for his clients on summary judgment and at trial. He also is experienced in litigating contractual disputes and administrative matters on behalf of his manufacturing clients.
Stephen has also handled both litigation and transactional matters for numerous maritime interests including domestic and international insurers, cargo carriers, cruise lines, commercial and pleasure vessel owners, operators and charterers, marina and terminal owners and operators.
Representative Legal Matters
- King v. Cessna Aircraft: Successfully defended lawsuit arising from largest air disaster in Italian aviation history involving a runway collision of a Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) aircraft carrying 120 passengers.
- Ferguson v. Bombardier: Served as trial and appellate counsel for aviation client in litigation arising out of death of 20 National Guard soldiers that resulted in a directed verdict for the defense. Upheld on appeal.
- Nowicki v. Cessna Aircraft: Obtained summary judgment under General Aviation Revitalization Act (GARA) in a lawsuit arising from a crash that resulted in multiple deaths. Upheld on appeal.
- In Re West Caribbean Airways: Represented airline in litigation arising from the death of 152 passengers. Successfully applied forum non conveniens resulting in dismissal of case. Upheld on appeal.
- In re Air France: Served as local counsel for aviation client in lawsuit arising from Air France disaster off the coast of Brazil resulting in the death of 228 passengers and crew.
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Product Liability Advisory Council
- International Association of Defense Counsel
- Dade County Bar Association
- Center for Orthopedic Research and Education of the University of Miami
- Coral Gables Community Foundation
- Miami Children’s Hospital Founder’s Society
- Miami Project to Cure Paralysis
- Speaker, American Bar Association, Aviation Litigation Seminar, "General Aviation Revitalization Act – Was Congress Right to Pass This Act?" June 5, 2014