Direct: (484) 875-3159
Aviation Liability Defense
General Counsel/Small Business/Contracts
Ms. Salita is senior counsel at Skinner Law Group where she manages the Malvern,
Pennsylvania office just outside of Philadelphia. For over 16 years, her practice has been
concentrated in tort litigation with particular emphasis on matters arising from aviation, products
liability, catastrophic loss, transportation accidents and related insurance coverage disputes. She
also provides “general counsel” representation for various businesses in the specialty
manufacturing, private security and natural gas service industries on legal matters pertaining to
business and product development, marketing, contract disputes, contract analysis and
negotiation, public relations and risk management.
While attending Villanova University School of Law, Laurie was a staff editor and member of
the Villanova Environmental Law Journal. She clerked for the Honorable Mark I. Bernstein of
the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Laurie has authored numerous legal articles and
presentations. Prior to joining Skinner Law Group, Laurie maintained similar practices as a
partner at a large international law firm headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and at
boutique litigation law firms headquartered in Wayne and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Laurie
was the 2012 Philadelphia Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award Recipient and a guest speaker
on the talk radio show “Women to Watch” in the Summer of 2013. In addition, Laurie is an
accomplished equestrian, wife and mother of two daughters.
Represented a general aviation manufacturer as trial counsel in a 6-week jury trial in federal court arising in connection with the alleged wrongful death of a U.S. Forest Service employee following the crash of a Cessna T210L in June 2010. Plaintiffs claimed that a manufacturing defect in the exhaust valve guide caused the guide to prematurely wear and fracture while the aircraft was on final approach to land at a local airport in Pennsylvania. Catastrophic engine failure caused power loss. The aircraft hit a utility pole as it descended and crashed several hundred yards shy of the runway threshold. The pilot and both U.S. Forest Service passengers perished, and a post-crash fire ensued. The pilot’s estate and the estate of one of the passengers settled their claims prior to trial.
Demanding at least $15 Million in damages and claiming that the decedent suffered severe pain and suffering as a result of the post-crash fire, the representative of the second passenger’s estate proceeded to trial in January 2017. The Skinner trial team, with Will Skinner serving as lead trial counsel, argued that there was no evidence of a defect and that the exhaust valve train suffered from oil deprivation and a severe lack of proper lubrication as a result of improper maintenance. The accident flight was operated by a Part 135 operator, under contract with the government, and it overhauled the engine just a few months prior to the accident. An improper combination of parts was used in the overhaul which resulted in insufficient lubrication. The Operator surrendered its operating certificate after the accident.
Ultimately, the jury returned a verdict in Plaintiffs’ favor in the amount of approximately $2.7 million – substantially less than the Plaintiffs’ demand. And, in doing so, the jury agreed with the defense that the decedent did not survive the impact of the accident. No damages for pain and suffering were awarded.
Represented a general aviation manufacturer as local trial counsel in a 3-month jury trial in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in connection with the alleged wrongful death of a husband and wife during the crash of a Mooney M20-J in August 2013. Plaintiffs, represented by the Wolk Firm, claimed that the aircraft suffered from a catastrophic failure to produce power on take-off as a result of a design defect in its magneto and associated attachment hardware. The defense argued that the aircraft failed to develop sufficient power as a result of fuel contamination, and further that multiple instances of pilot negligence – including his failure to sit the aircraft down on the runway after declaring a problem – caused the accident instead. The jury did not have the opportunity to hear the majorly of the defense witnesses or to deliberate, as the court declared a mistrial in August 2019 after over 11 weeks of testimony and various evidentiary arguments.
Secured dismissal of aircraft manufacturer in collection of lawsuits arising from crash of airliner off the coast of Miami in December 2005.
Obtained significant settlement for airline after fixed-pedestal de-icing boom collapsed onto its Airbus aircraft.
Secured dismissal of component part manufacturer in contribution action brought by aircraft engine manufacturer after manufacturer paid major settlement in aircraft accident case.
Secured favorable settlements in multi-fatality crash of Challenger aircraft while representing charter company.
Secured Forum Non Conveniens dismissal of component part manufacturer in major international air disaster arising from the crash of Air France 447 involving Multi-District Litigation.
Represent(ed) major piston engine manufacturers, component part manufacturers, various Fixed Based Operators and Airports/Municipalities in numerous products liability and/or negligence and/or premises liability matters involving general aviation aircraft accidents.
Represent(ed) airlines in various matters involving: disruptive and/or intoxicated passengers; personal injuries allegedly sustained on premises leased by airline (e.g. jetways); enforcement of ticket limitations and tariffs; construction and product liability litigation (e.g. baggage conveyor cases).
Secured favorable settlements in various matters involving personal injuries sustained by consumer products and industrial equipment.
Secured defense verdict in trial involving chemical exposure on natural gas production site.
International Aviation Women’s Association (IAWA)
Federal and State Courts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey
2001 Juris Doctorate, cum laude, Villanova University School of Law
1998 B.A., with honors, Villanova University
Fall 2006 Private Pilot Ground School
October 2006 Lycoming Engines, Piston Engine Service School
articles / seminars / awards
Trial Advocacy Award, Villanova School of Law, 2001
Authored and published over 10 articles and/or presentations
2001-2012 Elected Partner, Blank Rome LLP
2012 Philadelphia Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award Recipient;
2012 Speaker, 4th Annual Significant Legal Developments Affecting the Chemical, Oil
& Gas Industries Conference, Philadelphia, October 10, 2012
Guest on radio show "Women to Watch" Spring/Summer 2013
Presenter, American Bar Association’s Aviation and Space Law Conference,
Washington, DC, October 2013
Presenter, Aviation Law and Insurance Symposium, Orlando, Florida, January 2016
Presenter, AVICON, Insurance Claims Panel, September 2017
Presenter, Aviation Law and Insurance Symposium, Orlando, Florida, January 2019