Attorney Targets Aviation Safety


We were excited to reconnect with renowned Statesman reporter Patrick Beach for the following article. He sums up quite concisely our mission here at Slack & Davis, i.e. materially helping clients and “pushing for regulation and reform so that, say, a faulty fuel line in a helicopter doesn’t lead to another deadly incident.” 

A fine way to spend the past 20 years, don’t you think?

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Whatever Happened To…Mike Slack
Attorney still targets aviation safety
by Patrick Beach, Austin American-Statesman
August 25, 2013

In 2004, we brought you the story of Mike Slack, who, along with his law firm, Slack & Davis, was representing families of victims of American Airlines Flight 587, which crashed in Queens a month and a day after Sept. 11, 2001.

Since then, domestic commercial airline crashes have been blessedly rare, but that doesn’t mean business has slowed for the firm, which has nine lawyers and offices in Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth.

Slack, a former NASA space shuttle engineer, says a recent area of focus for him has been air ambulance crashes.

“There are a whole bunch of medically unnecessary (air) transports of patients,” Slack said, noting that in urban areas, ground ambulances — which carry more equipment than helicopters can — are capable of moving patients more quickly. Moreover, he said, air ambulance companies have a financial incentive to keep their craft in the air.

“Helicopters are very expensive and the only way to pay for them is to operate them,” he said. “It’s become very entrepreneurial, but safety has been sacrificed.”

The firm is also busy with litigation related to the fracking boom — everything from vehicular accidents to injuries on the job, according to partner Mike Davis. The firm is also involved in litigation regarding medical devices, pharmaceuticals and what Slack sees as woefully unregulated dietary supplements.

“The public is basically being treated as lab rats,” Slack said.

The guiding mission for managing partner Slack and the firm hasn’t changed: They’re interested in materially helping their clients and pushing for regulation and reform so that, say, a faulty fuel line in a helicopter doesn’t lead to another deadly incident.

“We’ve become more adamant that success doesn’t just mean compensation for the client,” he said. “We want to see changes. We have aircraft flying today that are safer because of our involvement.”