Arthur Alan Wolk

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Arthur Alan Wolk
Born (1943-10-25) October 25, 1943 (age 75)
EducationTemple University, B.S., 1965; Temple University School of Law, J.D., 1968
Known forAviation Law and Air Safety

Arthur Alan Wolk (born October 25, 1943) is an American attorney and author. He is the founding partner of The Wolk Law Firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which specializes in aviation law and air crash litigation for plaintiffs.

Wolk is an author,[1] editor and lecturer on aviation law and air safety with articles published by The Aviation Consumer, Aviation Safety and other publications and has appeared on ABC Evening News,[2] CBS Evening News,[3] CNBC, and CNN Larry King Live.[4]

Wolk is admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania. [5] He received his B.S. degree cum laude from Temple University in 1965,[6] and his J.D. degree from Temple University School of Law in 1968.[7]

Notable cases[edit]

Wolk reports that he represented victims in several major airline disasters.[8] Some of the most notable air crash cases Wolk has had involvement in include:

  • USAir 427, Aliquippa, PA., Pittsburgh, Boeing 737. The flight crashed on September 8, 1994, killing everyone on board. Wolk speculated the cause of the crash was rudder failure and appeared the next day on ABC Evening News for Friday September 9, 1994 Peter Jennings reporter,[2] in this program Wolk offered views on the cause of the crash. Wolk published his opinion that rudder failure was the likely cause of USAir 427 crash in the Pennsylvania Law Weekly, October 10, 1994. On October 25 he appeared on CBS Evening News with Reporter Dan Rather October 25, 1994, and offered comments about possible rudder failure.[3] After the longest investigation in aviation history, more than four and a half years later, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded the probable cause was rudder failure.[9] Wolk was the plaintiffs attorney in Hamley vs. The Boeing Corporation and won the case establishing that it was the rudder actuator that failed.[8]
  • In 2010, Wolk won a $89 million jury award ($24.7 million in compensatory damages and $64 million in punitive damages) in Pridgen v. Avco Corp. That case involved a 1999 airplane crash caused by a faulty carburetor. The defendants argued that the lawsuit was barred by the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994, as the suit was filed more than 18 years after the component was manufactured. However, Wolk argued that suit should go forward because the manufacturer had intentionally misrepresented information to the Federal Aviation Administration.[10]
  • Comair Flight 3272, Monroe, MI, (Detroit), Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia;[11] Swissair 111, Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, McDonnell Douglas MD-11;[12] EgyptAir 990, near Nantucket, MA, Boeing 767;[13] and Alaska Airlines Flight 261, Port Mugu, CA, McDonnell Douglas MD-80.[14]

Suits against and others[edit]

In 2001, Wolk won a $480 million verdict against Cessna [15][16] which drew criticism from the website. In 2002, Wolk sued the website and four people who posted comments there. The website and comment submitters then settled the suit with a payment to charity and published apologies. This settlement in turn drew critical coverage from the weblog.[17] Ted Frank then posted a criticism of Wolk on for his 2007 lawsuit against Teledyne.[18] In 2009, Wolk sued Overlawyered editor Walter Olson, Frank, and Overlawyered blogger David Nieporent, claiming that the blog libeled him.[19] According to the complaint, Wolk did not discover the article until April 2009.[19] In 2010, Judge Mary A. McLaughlin of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed the lawsuit for failure to comply with the one-year statute of limitations on the grounds that a blog is mass media and the statute of limitations runs from the date of publication.[19][20][21][22] Wolk has appealed the court's decision.[20][21]

On July 26, 2011, Wolk filed a new lawsuit against 42 defendants, including the defendants from his original libel suit, the lawyers who represented those defendants in the suit, The Reason Foundation, "INTERNET BLOGGER '/b/'", and the Manhattan Institute, alleging over 20 causes of action.[23][24] In the lawsuit, Wolk admitted that he had hired an organization to "place truthful, favorable information" about him on Wikipedia.[24][25] Writing for Public Citizen, Paul Levy criticized the lawsuit; Public Citizen's blog reports that Wolk has since filed suit against both Levy and Public Citizen.[26] Wolk has also threatened to sue technology blog TechDirt over their reporting of the suit.[27]

Personal aviation experience[edit]

Wolk has been a pilot for more than 30 years and holds an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATP) certificate for multi-engine land and sea aircraft.[28] Wolk owned a restored Grumman F9F Panther jet fighter[29] that he has flown in air shows[30] throughout the country; performing low level aerobatics and formation flights.[31]

In November 1996, Wolk broke his arm and back when he crashed his F9F Panther.[32] He later sued the National Transportation Safety Board over its report of the crash.[33] The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in 2000, also names Honeywell International Inc. and Allied Signal Inc. as defendants, claiming they gave false information to the NTSB to avoid liability. The suit says the NTSB report contained extensive errors, including a statement that Wolk was not qualified to fly the plane.[34]

In 2002, the District Court judge dismissed Wolk's suit against the NTSB and other defendants in its entirety.[35] Wolk then appealed unsuccessfully to the U.S. Circuit Court for the Third Circuit. In this decision, United States Circuit Judge Joseph F. Weis, Jr. writes: "We have carefully reviewed the District Court's opinion and, despite the excellent brief and oral argument on appeal by plaintiff, do not find reversible error." [36] Wolk then sought a Supreme Court review of the decision, but the Supreme Court refused to hear the case.[37] Wolk represented himself in the lawsuit.[35]


  1. ^ Arthur Wolk on the ups & downs of litigating airplane crashes. Arthur Wolk, Pennsylvania Bar Institute - via Google books. 2002. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Headline: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania / USAir Flight 427 Crash". ABC News - via Vanderbilt Television News Archive. September 9, 1994. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Headline: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania / USAir Flight 427 Crash". CBS News - via Vanderbilt Television News Archive. October 25, 1994. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  4. ^ "JetBlue Flight 292 Makes Emergency Landing At LAX; Hurricane Rita Continues Path Towards Texas Coast". CNN - transcripts - Larry King Live. September 25, 2005. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  5. ^ "PA Attorney Information - Arthur A. Wolk". Disciplinary board of the Supreme court of Pennsylvania. Archived from the original on July 24, 2011. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  6. ^ "Temple University - Templar Yearbook (Philadelphia, PA) - Class of 1965". Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  7. ^ "Arthur Alan Wolk - Lawyer Profile". Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  8. ^ a b "Aircraft disaster - Verdicts and settlements". The Wolk Law Firm - Airlaw. Archived from the original on December 4, 2010. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  9. ^ "Accident investigation docket - USAir Flight 427, September 8, 1994, Aliquippa, Pennsylvania DCA94MA076". National Transportation Safety Board. Archived from the original on 21 December 2010. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  10. ^ Passarella, Gina (April 7, 2010). "Pa. Jury Awards Nearly $89 Million in Plane Crash Case". The Legal Intelligencer. Retrieved 2010-11-05.
  11. ^ "District court for the eastern district of Michigan, southern division - Re Aircrash disaster near Monroe, Michigan on January 9, 1987". September 15, 1998. Archived from the original on July 10, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  12. ^ "Swissair offers to settle in crash". The Washington Post. August 6, 1999. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  13. ^ "Families Sue Airline in 1999 Crash That Killed More Than 200". The Los Angeles Times. October 24, 2000. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  14. ^ "Pilot error contributed to crash, lawsuit says". USA Today. June 19, 2001. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  15. ^ "James Cassoutt, et al. v. Cessna Aircraft Co. - Circuit Court, Escambia County, Florida". August 17, 2001. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  16. ^ The Devil in the Details, and the Seat Rails...
  17. ^ "Archives 2002 - section - September 16–17 – Free speech & web litigation: AVweb capitulates to defamation suit". Overlawyered. Archived from the original on 10 January 2011. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  18. ^ Frank, Ted (April 8, 2007). "Arthur Alan Wolk v. Teledyne Industries, Inc". Overlawyered. Archived from the original on January 17, 2011. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  19. ^ a b c "Arthur Alan Wolk v. Walter K Olsen et al - Cvil action - Memorandum" (PDF). US District Court Eastern district of Pennsylvania - Office of Clerk of Court. August 2, 2010. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  20. ^ a b Jacob Sullum, Reason, "Lawyer Trying to Protect His Reputation As an Effective Advocate Misses Deadline for His Libel Suit", August 6, 2010
  21. ^ a b Shannon P. Duffy, The Legal Intelligencer, Discovery Rule for Libel Doesn't Apply to Blogs, Says Federal Judge, August 6, 2010
  22. ^ Jeff Blumenthal, Philadelphia Business Journal, Overlawyered blog case testing statute of limitations for defamation, August 6, 2010
  23. ^ REUBEN KRAMER (2011-07-28). "Attorney Says 'Tort Reformers' Defamed Him". Courthouse News Service. Retrieved 2013-03-08.
  24. ^ a b [1]
  25. ^ "What Do They Say About The Lawyer Who Represents Himself?". Techdirt. 2011-08-02. Retrieved 2013-03-08.
  26. ^ "Arthur Alan Wolk Sues the Lawyers Whose Arguments Got His Libel Suit Dismissed As Untimely (CL&P Blog)". 2011-07-29. Retrieved 2013-03-08.
  27. ^ "Our Response To Arthur Alan Wolk's Threat To Sue Us". Techdirt. 2011-08-04. Retrieved 2013-03-08.
  28. ^ "FAA Registry:Airmen Certification Inquiry". Federal Aviation Administration. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  29. ^ "F9F Panther/BuNo. 123072". Warbird Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  30. ^ "Fighter-plane Airshow Opens Today At Willow Grove Station". The Morning Call. October 15, 1988. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  31. ^ "Bio - Arthur Alan Wolk". Archived from the original on October 24, 2010. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^ a b
  36. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2013-07-09.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  37. ^ Wolk v. United States, 2003 U.S. LEXIS 2210 (U.S., Mar. 24, 2003)