Mike Slack in Cessna TTx

Michael L. (Mike) Slack

Slack Davis Sanger, L.L.P.
Managing Partner & Co-Founder

Practice Areas

 

 

Mike Slack focuses on the most challenging and demanding areas of civil litigation, including aviation law and product liability cases against major corporations. A licensed pilot and former NASA aerospace engineer, Mike combines his technical knowledge and skills with his extensive litigation and trial experience for the benefit of his clients.

Michael L. Slack - Aviation Attorney

Mike's legal experience includes more than 36 years and litigating hundreds of lawsuits arising from catastrophic injuries and deaths due to unsafe products or practices. For most of his legal career, he has focused on aviation accident cases, handling a diverse array of aviation accident cases in every aviation realm from major airline disasters to smaller general aviation aircraft. Besides providing the highest-quality legal services, Mike believes that it is his firm's responsibility not just to serve as our clients' legal advocate, but also to provide a comprehensive support system for our clients who have experienced a tragedy in their lives.  In his legal career Mike has litigated or tried lawsuits in state or federal courts in 36 states.

As an engineer, Mike is a problem solver. He relentlessly seeks to identify the problem that led to the accident or loss and identify  ways to correct deficiencies in the product or practice. Mike makes it a priority to be proactive in a lawsuit and reduce or eliminate the risk of similar accidents or losses from happening in the future. He has received national media attention as an advocate for aviation safety, especially stronger federal oversight over unsafe products or practices in the realms of aircraft design and operations of air ambulances, charters, air tours and commercial hot air balloons.

Mike has achieved record settlements and verdicts in numerous cases against aviation operators and manufacturers. Besides securing optimum monetary compensation for his clients, Mike aggressively seeks to eliminate dangerous defects for unsafe products or practices. In a case where the product defect was being ignored by the manufacturer and the Federal Aviation Administration, he was able to negotiate a voluntary recall program as part of the settlement, in which the helicopter manufacturer agreed to establish a retrofit program for its owners to obtain a redesigned fuel system that eliminated the risk of a post-impact fire in otherwise survivable accidents. That agreement also included an inspection protocol where he could visit the manufacturer’s facility and inspect the retrofit production line with no prior notice to the manufacturer.

Prior to becoming a lawyer, Mike was a senior aerospace engineer at NASA, where he worked on the Apollo-Soyuz and Space Shuttle programs and received special recognition from NASA for his contributions. While at NASA he innovated a system, later used on Space Shuttle launches, which greatly mitigated flight loads during ascent. In 2002, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics named Mike an Associate Fellow, a unique honor for an attorney. He has been honored with the Outstanding Aerospace Engineer and  Distinguished Aerospace Engineer Alumni Awards by the Texas A&M University's Department of Aerospace Engineering in the Dwight Look College of Engineering.

Mike is certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy as a Civil Trial Advocate and by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Personal Injury Trial Law and Aviation Law.

Education

Licenses

  • Licensed Extra Class Amateur Radio Operator W5QKM
  • Private Pilot Single Engine Land, Instrument Rating

Certifications

  • Board Certified in Aviation Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization
  • Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization
  • Board Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy

Professional Associations

  • State Bar of Texas
  • Dallas Bar Association
  • Austin Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • Texas Trial Lawyers Association
    • Past President (1997)
    • Board of Directors
  • American Association for Justice
    • Past Chair, Aviation Law Section
    • Board of Governors
  • Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association
  • Capital Area Trial Lawyers Association
  • American Astronautical Society
  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
  • International Society of Air Safety Investigators
  • National Business Aviation Association
  • Department of Aerospace Engineering, Texas A&M University, Advisory Board (2005-2019)
  • Judicial Compensation Commission, State of Texas (2008–2017)
  • Texas Pattern Jury Committee Volume I (2008–2017)
  • Texas Pattern Jury Oversight Committee (2018-present)
  • Texas A&M Hagler Institute for Advanced Study External Advisory Board (2023)

Honors & Awards

  • Registered Professional Engineer (Aerospace), Texas (Inactive)
  • Licensed Pilot, Airplane Single Engine Land, Instrument Rating
  • The Best Lawyers in America® BL Rankings, 1999-present
  • AV Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers, 2003-present
  • Bendix National Student Design Team Award Recipient (Unmanned Venutian Lander), 1973
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (1981) (Mission STS-2)
  • 73rd Texas Legislature, Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock (Contributions to Products Liability Bill)
  • Outstanding Aerospace Engineer, Texas A&M University (2014)
  • Distinguished Aerospace Engineering Alumni, Texas A&M University (2018)
  • Distinguished Aggie Lawyer, Texas A&M University (2023)
American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)
TTLA
American Association for Justice
Super Lawyers | Michael Slack
LAW-PILOTS
AAS
AIAA
Air-Safety-INV
TX Board of Legal Specialization - Aviation Law & Personal Injury Trial Law
National Business Aviation Association

Publications

  • "Going Viral: COVID-Related Issues and Lessons Learned for Plaintiffs, Defendants, and Insurers," Embry-Riddle Aviation Law and Insurance Symposium (2021)
  • "Preparing for the Virtual Trial," State Bar of Texas Advanced Trial Strategies (2021)
  • "Anatomy of an Air Crash," North Austin IMC Club Capital of Texas Aviation Seminar (2020)
  • "Initiating Litigation," State Bar of Texas 9thAnnual Advanced Trial Strategies (2020)
  • "Forum Selection and Jurisdictional Challenges in Multiple Defendant Litigation Post-
  • Daimler," State Bar of Texas 8thAnnual Advanced Trial Strategies (2019)
  • "Trial Techniques and Tactics: Those Who Influence Juror Damage Awards," ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice (2018)
  • "General Aviation Revitalization Act – An Update," IATS 2018 Air & Transport Law Conference Panel Presentation (2018)
  • "Knowing Your Audience – The Art of Resonating with Different Generations," State Bar of Texas 7thAnnual Advanced Trial Strategies Seminar (2018)
  • "Getting to "Resolved:" Preparing Your Plaintiffs’ or Defense Damages Case,” Embry Riddle Aviation Law & Insurance Symposium (2018)
  • "Autonomous Vehicles — What Does the Future Hold?" (State Bar of Texas [SBOT], 2017 Advanced Personal Injury Law Course)
  • "A Game of Drones" (Trial, December 2015)
  • "Emerging Technology: Legal Issues Involving Drones and Autonomous Vehicles" (SBOT, 2016 Advanced Personal Injury Law Course)
  • "Managing the Complex Case" (SBOT, 2016 Advanced Trial Strategies Seminar Panel Presentation)
  • "Dealing With Drone Mischief"(Law360, October 13, 2015)
  • "Developing Strategies to Combat State and Federal Preemption Defenses" (SBOT, 2015 Advanced Personal Injury Law Course)
  • Don’t Let Preemption Ground Your Aviation Case,” TrialMagazineJournal of the American Association for Justice, co-authored with Donna Bowen, March 2007
  • "Countdown to Success: Preparing the Plaintiff’s Case for Trial" (2015 SMU Air Law Symposium)
  • "Aviation Safety in the New Millennium" (Austin Metropolitan Breakfast Club, February 2014)
  • "Three Things Lawyers Can Learn From Teachers"(Texas Lawyer, August 11, 2014)
  • "Presenting Complex Facts to a Jury" (SBOT, 2014 Advanced Trial Strategies)
  • "The Art of Simplicity: Direct & Cross Examination in Complex Cases" (American Association for Justice [AAJ], 2014 Winter Convention)
  • "The Legislature’s Impact on the Trial Bar" (Dallas Trial Lawyers Association, 2014)
  • "Translating Technical Concepts for Today’s Jury" (AAJ, 2014 Annual Convention)
  • "It’s Complicated: Tips on Making Complex Cases Simple" (SBOT, 2014 Annual Meeting)
  • "The Art of Simplicity: Litigating Complex Cases" (SBOT, 2013 Advanced Civil Trial Course 2013; 2014 Embry Riddle Aviation Law and Insurance Symposium)
  • "Emerging Technologies and Challenges in Aviation Safety" (American Bar Association [ABA], October 2013)
  • "Plaintiff and Damages Expert — The Complex Path to a Fair and Reasonable Damages Award" (National Institute on Aviation Litigation Conference, ABA, June 2012)
  • "Legends of the Fall" (Texas Trial Lawyers Association [TTLA], September 2012)
  • "Transactions Gone Bad: Litigation Between Buyers and Sellers of Aircraft" (National Business Aviation Association, November 2012)
  • “Aviation Management & Aircraft Ownership,” NBAA 65thAnnual Meeting & Convention (2012)
  • "Overview of Preemption in Aviation Product Liability Cases" (SBOT, 2008)
  • "Deposing and Cross-Examining the Design Engineer" (TTLA, 2008)
  • Air Ambulance Operations: Too Little, Too Late,” Association of Trial Lawyers of America, October 2005 Aviation Section Newsletter
  • HB 4 — Tort Reform in Texas: Thinking Outside the Bench,” Louisiana Trial Lawyers Association Annual Convention, 2003
  • "Communicating Damages in Complex Cases," Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Advanced Personal Injury Course (2002)
  • "Air Ambulance Operations: Enhancing Public Safety or Causing Unnecessary Tragedy?" SMU Air Law Symposium (2001)
  • "Daubert & Its Progeny: Curbing Junk Science or Promoting Junk Law," Louisiana TLA Last Chance Seminar (2000)
  • Scientific Evidence Since Daubert: A Plaintiff’s Perspective,” Civil Trial Practice: Winning Techniques of Successful Trial Attorneys, Lawyers, and Judges Publishing Co. (2000)
  • "Selected Materials on HMO Liability," UT 2nd Annual Conference (1998) "Mass Torts," TTLA Products Liability — Plaintiffs Go On the Offense (1998) "No Fault," State Bar of Texas Advanced Personal Injury Law Course (1997)
  • "Handling The Difficult Opposing Counsel or Witness," TTLA First Choice CLE (1996)
  • "Tort Reform: A Retrospective," State Bar of Texas Business Litigation: Changes in Law Impacting Your Practice (1996)
  • "Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Conflicts of Interest, Advertising & Barratry," State Bar of Texas Preparing, Trying, and Settling Auto Collision Cases Institute (1996)
  • "Handling Complex and Mass Tort Cases," State Bar of Texas Legal Assistants Division Advanced Civil Trial Law Seminar (1996)
  • "Tort Reform Update: Venue, Damages, Liability, DTPA," State Bar College Annual Seminar Highlights of the 74th Legislature (1996)
  • "Medical Device and Pharmaceutical Cases," TTLA Advanced Product Liability Seminar (1996)
  • "Legislative Update: Effect of Tort Reform Legislation," TTLA Car Wrecks Seminar (1995)
  • "Handling Medical Device and Pharmaceutical Cases (A Perspective on L-Tryptophan, Norplant and Pedicle Instrumentation Litigation)," TTLA 6th Annual Medical Malpractice Seminar (1995)
  • "Evaluating, Prosecuting and Defending Norplant Cases (A Plaintiff's Perspective on the Norplant Litigation)," SMU School of Law, The Cutting Edge of Medical Malpractice Seminar (1995)
  • "Lawsuit Reform," State Bar of Texas Legislative Update Institute (1995)
  • "Legislative Update: Major Legislation," TTLA Hot Tips for Hot Time: The TTLA Beach Seminar (1995)
  • "State Legislative Update," State Bar of Texas 11th Annual Advanced Personal Injury Law Course (1995)
  • "Investigation and Reconstruction of General Aviation Cases," Aviation Law Section, American Trial Lawyers Association (1995)
  • "Legislative Update," TTLA Legislative update (1995)
  • "Legislative and Case Law Update," South Texas College of Law Automobile Injury Litigation IV: Tips, Tricks & Traps (1995)
  • "Tort Reform In the Aviation Practice" (1995)
  • "Trends and Developments in Product Liability Law (Covering Recent Cases and Statutory Developments)," TTLA Advanced Products Liability Seminar (1995)
  • "Products Liability Update — Covering Cases and Statutory Developments in 1993 & 1994," TTLA Hot Tips for Hot Times Seminar (1994)
  • "The No-Fault Fraud," TTLA Surviving the 90's Seminar (1990); Trial Lawyers Forum (1991)
  • "The Effective Use of Settlement Week-Plaintiff's Perspective," Austin Lawyers Journal (1990)
  • "Litigation in the Federal Courts," CLA Examination Review Course (1988)

Notable

Cases

Defective Cotton Gin Results in Catastrophic Personal Injury Case

Case title: Damon Wilson v. Lummus Corporation, et al. Mitch McCrea represented Damon Wilson who lost his leg in a Lummus cotton gin (located in Delta County, Texas) when his employer asked him to climb onto a cotton module conveyor component that did not have adequate guarding or warnings.

Case Details

Inadequate 18-Wheeler Brakes Lead to Wrongful Death Case

Case Title: Duckworth v. Clayton Homes Mitch McCrea represented the surviving family of Dickie Duckworth who was killed when another 18-wheeler hauling a Clayton manufactured home crossed the center line and crashed into him head-on on U.S. 79 in Anderson County, Texas.  During the course of discovery, we learned that only one of the axles…

Case Details

Discriminatory Auto Insurance Rates Result in Significant Settlement

Case title: Grigson, et al. v. Farmers Group, Inc. (W.D. Tex.) In 2017, Charles Grigson filed a class action lawsuit against Farmers Insurance Group, Inc. alleging discriminatory rates. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of all Farmers auto insurance customers in the state of Texas who were policyholders in the Farmers Auto 2.0 (FA2) book.…

Case Details

Malfunctioning Power Swivel Unit Results in Catastrophic Personal Injury Lawsuit

Case Title: Murphy v. Excel Site Rentals, LLC On November 11, 2017, an employee of Consolidated Well Services LLC was working as a floor hand on the Yoder 2-H well site in Bradford Country, Pennsylvania. A power swivel unit owned and operated by Excel Site Rentals, LLC rotated unintentionally as the worker reached to release…

Case Details

Defective Product Results in Dallas Workplace Injury Lawsuit

Case Title: Meyer v. Cooper Industries, et al Workplace injuries suffered due to negligence or faulty tools can tragically and permanently change the lives of an employee and their family, as happened to elevator technician Michael Meyer just days before Christmas 2018. A Debilitating On-the-Job Injury Meyer lost the use of his right arm, suffered…

Case Details

Improper Maneuver at Altitude Leads to General Aviation Lawsuit

Case Title: Estate of Vincent Losada v. Pea Hochso, LLC On November 17, 2018, a North American P51, N4132A, crashed into an apartment building parking lot near Fredericksburg, Texas. The pilot and passenger suffered fatal injuries, and the plane was destroyed. The purpose of the flight was a fly-over of a World War II educational…

Case Details

Defective Fuel Tank Results in Aviation Lawsuit

Case Title: Nemec v. Robinson Helicopter On April 13, 2006, a Robinson R44 helicopter with registration number N123CK, carrying a pilot and four passengers crashed from just a few feet above the ground and burst into flames. The impact was survivable, and there were no traumatic injuries to the occupants caused by the crash itself.…

Case Details

Helicopter Crash Results in Active General Aviation Lawsuit

Case Title: Stockbridge v. Heliservices On August 8, 2020, a helicopter conducting a survey of bighorn sheep in the Black Gap Wildlife Management Area crashed and killed three passengers. The passengers were doing work for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD). The firm filed suit against the helicopter operator contracted by the TPWD. The…

Case Details

Parts Manufacturer Negligence Results in Military Aviation Lawsuit

Case Title: Kohl, et al. v. Triumph On March 16, 2013, an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter crashed during a test-fire exercise north of Kandahar, Afghanistan. At the time of the incident, the helicopter had performed a shallow dive, leveled off, and then entered a climbing right turn to repeat the maneuver. At that point, the…

Case Details

FADEC Failure Leads to Military Aviation Lawsuit

Case Title: Carter/McNair v. Rolls-Royce Corporation On June 5, 2008, a United States Kiowa Warrior helicopter, OH58D, crashed near Kandahar, Afghanistan, killing the pilot and passenger. The pilot was conducting a general maintenance flight in which he was required to put the helicopter into autorotation. As he did so, the Full Authority Digital Engine Control…

Case Details
Mike Slack in a Jet