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Lee S. Kreindler, 78; Aviation Law Expert

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From Associated Press

Lee S. Kreindler, an attorney regarded as a leading practitioner of air disaster law, has died. He was 78.

Kreindler died Tuesday at New York University Hospital in New York City of complications from a cerebral hemorrhage.

His firm, Kreindler & Kreindler, represented plaintiffs in almost every major aircraft disaster over the last five decades.

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Kreindler was involved in the lawsuits that followed the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800 off Long Island, N.Y., and the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. He also represented families of many victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Aviation law requires a complex mix of legal, technical and factual issues, and Kreindler became known for his ability to boil information down to its essence.

Some of the biggest challenges he faced involved international law, which set limits on the size of awards and limited the places in which plaintiffs could sue.

Kreindler received degrees from Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School and served in the Army during World War II.

His father, Harry E. Kreindler, founded the firm in 1950.

Lee Kreindler’s first big aviation lawsuit came after the 1952 crash of a National Airlines DC-6 in Elizabeth, N.J. Kreindler proved that a malfunctioning propeller caused the crash, which killed 35 people.

A jury awarded $300,000, then the highest award in an airline crash lawsuit, to his clients.

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Kreindler wrote “Aviation Accident Law,” a three-volume work that is considered the leading textbook in the aviation law field.

He is survived by his wife, Ruth; a son, James, who is a member of the Kreindler law firm; a daughter, Laurie Laster; and seven grandchildren.

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