William J. Katt Partner

     

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William Katt is the regional managing partner of the Milwaukee office and the Chair of the firm’s Aviation & Aerospace Practice Team. He focuses his practice entirely on defending businesses, insurers and individuals who are sued in civil litigation. His practice is national in scope, as he is routinely hired to represent clients in complex litigation on a prodigious array of matters throughout the country. Bill is often called on to take over as lead counsel in matters that are already in litigation but have become problematic. He has been admitted pro hac vice in a number of state and federal courts, including Hawaii, California, Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Bill was a founding shareholder and president of his previous firm.

Litigation Precis
Lead counsel in more than100 jury trials, Bill has defended thousands of civil litigation matters in state and federal courts and has extensive arbitration and appellate experience. Aided by his involvement with a wide array of substantive, procedural and evidentiary legal issues, Bill has the ability to quickly analyze a situation and produce decisive strategies to resolve a dispute. His position as a Fellow of the AmericanCollege of Trial Lawyers, an organization composed of the best of the trial bar from the United States and Canada and widely considered to be the premier professional trial organization in America, speaks volumes about his status among adversaries and before the bar.

Areas of Focus

Aviation
Bill is a national trial attorney who is routinely called on by aviation insurers to defend their insureds regardless of the venue or location. In this role he handles the defense of wrongful death and serious injury claims brought against major airlines, product manufacturers, charter operators, fixed base operators, maintenance facilities and a host of other aviation related companies. Bill represents the three largest airlines in the United States, as well as one of the two largest operators of helicopters.  He has been hailed as the go-to trial counsel for death and serious injury cases, and he has been involved in numerous cases filed against a legacy airline. Bill serves as the lead litigation counsel for the largest fleet of EMS helicopters in the world.

Insurance Coverage / Bad Faith
Bill is frequently called upon by insurers to intervene in a wide range of matters, often becoming lead trial counsel as a result of the increasing complexity of the case. He is primary counsel in Wisconsin for a large national insurer in all the company’s bad faith litigation.

Product Liability
In product liability matters, claims are rarely are limited to one court or jurisdiction and each can have nationwide and often international implications. Bill frequently tries large, complex cases in various jurisdictions throughout the country, often involving catastrophic injuries. He represents a variety of manufacturers and insurers in products liability litigation throughout the Midwest, always with an eye toward the business effects on risk management, insurance coverage, brand image, financing, financial reporting, corporate governance, future corporate transactions and communications to shareholders.

Representative Matters

Aviation
Successfully defended a major air carrier in the first class action ever certified against a domestic airline.

Retained as defense counsel in numerous high-profile aircraft accidents, including litigation involving the death of a Chicago radio personality and the crashes of several helicopters, including those used in medical transport.

Obtained summary judgment dismissal for international defense/government contractor in high-profile general aviation accident.

Obtained dismissal of negligent flight instruction claims against flight school, a dismissal upheld by Minnesota Supreme Court.

Product Liability
Defended numerous product liability lawsuits against manufacturers of such products as cooling towers, ladders, cigarette lighters, dairy equipment and underground storage tank equipment.

Represented a wire manufacturer named as defendant in one litigation arising out of the Air France crash off the shores of Brazil in June 2009.

Miscellaneous Professionals
Successfully defended a pharmacist of a national drug store chain in professional liability litigation alleging misprescription, an issue of first impression before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Secured denial of class status, won summary judgment and dismissal at trial (affirmed on appeal) in a lawsuit against a contractor accused of negligence in a water diversion project.