Wilshire Law Firm
3055 Wilshire Blvd 12th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90010
A. Ilyas Akbari is a senior partner and bioengineer at Wilshire Law Firm. He is an experienced aviation litigator and director of the aviation litigation team, having worked on over 200 aviation cases since 2005. Ilyas has litigated crashes and incidents involving commercial airlines, charter operations, general aviation aircraft, military aircraft, seaplanes, rescue and air ambulance aircraft, in addition to product liability claims against many of the aircraft and component part manufacturers, including 29 cases against Robinson Helicopter Company, Inc
The National Law Journal and ALM Media recognized Ilyas and his team in 2018 as Elite Trial Lawyers finalists in the Consumer Protection category for their achievement in representing the family of the only two American residents onboard Germanwings Flight 9525, whose co-pilot committed suicide by locking out the pilot and crashing the plane into the French Alps, killing all 150 souls. On the heels of the Daimler and Bristol-Myers Squibb opinions, and despite the airline not having any offices, employees, planes, equipment, routes or advertisements in the U.S., and never paying taxes in the U.S., he argued that Virginiaâ€™s long arm statute conferred personal jurisdiction over it because the German airline sold its tickets to passengers that resided in Virginia through its authorized agent and proxy, United Airlines. The Eastern District of Virginia agreed, in a published opinion, Selke v. Germanwings GmbH, 261 F. Supp. 3d 645 (E.D. Va. 2017).
Ilyas has served in numerous leadership positions and has represented clients in most of the major airline disasters, including the September 11 Litigation, American Airlines Flight 587, Air Midwest Flight 5481 (resulting in first public apology by an airline), Southwest Airlines Flights 1248 and 1380, TACA Flight 390, Continental Airlines Flight 1404, Colgan Flight 3407, Asiana Airlines Flight 214 (only case proceeding to trial, settling prior to voir dire), Malaysia Air Flight 370 (MH370), Germanwings Flight 9525 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 (Boeing MAX8 litigation), among others.
Ilyas serves as Plaintiff Vice Chair to the Aviation and Space Law General Committee of the American Bar Association and is, additionally, the Editor of the ABA Aviation and Space Law Committee Newsletter for the 2020 calendar year. He is also honored to serve as Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America, an invitation-only trial lawyer honorary society representing less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers.
Best Lawyers in AmericaÂ® has recognized Ilyas in the Plaintiffs Product Liability Litigation category since 2016; Southern California Super LawyersÂ® has listed him as a top rated Aviation & Aerospace attorney since 2007; Southern California Super LawyersÂ® - Rising Stars, Up and
Coming 100; the National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Civil Plainiff Lawyers; the Aviation Trial Lawyers Association: Top 10; the National Brain Injury Trial Lawyers Associationâ€”Top 25; and Nations Top One Percent, National Association of Distinguished Counsel.
He has earned the highest AVÂ® Preeminentâ„¢ Peer Review Rating through Lawyers.com / Martindale HubbellÂ®, the highest Avvo.com Superb Score of 10; and is listed in The Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyersâ„¢, Martindale HubbellÂ®.
Ilyas earned his B.S. degree in Bioengineering in 2000 from U.C. San Diego. U.C. San Diego's prestigious Bioengineering Department is consistently ranked as one of the top five programs in the world. While at U.C. San Diego, he was the founding Vice President of the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers. It was through this society that Ilyas met several scientist-attorneys, who inspired him to continue on to Southwestern University School of Law. While at Southwestern, he had the honor of serving as President of the Student Bar Association. He was also a Certified Law Clerk at the District Attorney's Office in East Los Angeles, where he conducted preliminary hearings and misdemeanor trials.
Ilyasâ€™ bioengineering degree has proven very beneficial. In fact, Ilyas is in his element when he can blend his expertise in science and law. Whether it is finding the mechanism of injury, understanding the lasting effects of traumatic brain injuries, or investigating and determining the engineering flaw that caused an aircraft crash, Ilyas devotes himself to the pursuit of truth through the scientific process.
Ilyas devotes much of his time studying the ever-evolving science as it relates to brain injuries. Nothing irritates Ilyas more than people who describe some brain injuries as â€œmildâ€ â€“ no injury to the brain is mild. He is an active participant and member of the Biomedical Engineering Society, North American Brain Injury Society, Brain Injury Association of America, and the California Brain Injury Association.
In addition to aviation cases, Ilyas has been involved in many high profile crashes involving trains, buses, tractor trailers, school buses, and duck boats, including the 2015 Duckboat crash in Seattle, which resulted in a $20 million verdict for two college-aged boys in Austria that lost their mother while she was vacationing in Seattle.
Ilyas also represented clients in some of the largest rail disasters in the country, including the 2017 Amtrak Cascades 501 derailment near DuPont, Washington; the 2015 Amtrak 188 derailment cases in Philadelphia; the 2012 CSX coal train derailment in Ellicott City, Maryland; and was on the leadership team that litigated the two largest commuter rail disasters in Southern California: the 2005 Glendale crash and the 2008 collision in Chatsworth.
Never one to back down from a challenge or an injustice, Ilyas has also successfully taken on pharmaceutical companies, and has been court-
appointed to serve, on behalf of all filed cases, as a member of the Plaintiffsâ€™ Steering Committees for the Bisphenol-A (BPA) Polycarbonate Plastic Products Liability Litigation and the Heparin Products Liability Multi District Litigation (MDL).
Ilyas is often called upon by the media to comment on his cases or the news of the day, and has appeared over 2,000 times internationally in tv, print and radio.
One of the roles that Ilyas takes most seriously is that of mentor to younger attorneys or attorneys that are inexperienced and need advice, which is why he is called upon and speaks at conferences and conventions all over the world, so that other lawyers can learn and better represent their clients. He is known for freely taking the calls of attorneys that he does not know in order to assist them on various issues. This included a firm that needed help on a fastly approaching brain injury trial, so Ilyas traveled to Trinidad, Colorado where he acted as consulting counsel (free of charge) for a firm that represented a highschool student that suffered a brain injury during football practice, resulting in a $11.5 million verdict in 2013 (Ridolfi v. Riddell).
Awards, Accolades, and Affiliations
The Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyersâ„¢, Martindale HubbellÂ®
Leadership Group, East Coast Jets, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 31, 2008
President, Student Bar Association, Southwestern University School of Law, 2002
Founding Vice-President, International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers, University of California at San Diego
Publications and Speaking Engagements
Recent Developments in Personal Jurisdiction for Aviation Cases, ABA TIPS Aviation and Space Law Newsletter: Winter 2020
Preservation, Discovery, Subpoenas and Metadata: Court Rules, Case Law and Recent Developments, â€œFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email and Smartphone Evidence: The Ultimate Guideâ€, National Business Institute seminar, January 2020
Laying a Foundation: Real-World Scripts/Examples, â€œFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email and Smartphone Evidence: The Ultimate Guideâ€, National Business Institute seminar, January 2020
Traversing the Minefield: Overcoming Procedural Obstacles in Aviation Cases, ABA TIPS Aviation Litigation, October, 2019
Liability of Airlines in Intentional Downing of Aircraft, American Association for Justice 2017 Annual Convention, July, 2017
Pro-Plaintiff Decisions PostÂ¬-Daimler, â€œTips From Cockpit to Courtroomâ€, ABA TIPS Aviation and Space Law Committee meeting, November, 2016
Current Issues of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Drones, American Association for Justice 2016 Annual AAJ-PAPERS 44, July, 2016
A Global View: Whatâ€™s New in Aviation and Space Law â€“ Litigation in the U.S. and Abroad, American Bar Association, 2014 ABA TIPS Aviation and Space Law Committee Conference
The Exclusionary Rule in Strict Liability Cases: A Defect in the Law, American Association for Justice, Products Liability Newsletter Vol.15, No.1, Fall 2010
Inversiones Papaluchi S.A.S. et al, Petitioners v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Respondent; Robinson Helicopter Company, Inc., et al., Real Parties in Interest, 20 Cal.App.5th 1055 (Feb 14 2018 CA App 2nd) [Preemptory writ of mandate issued overturning and directing trial court to vacate its prior order denying plaintiffsâ€™ Colombian corporationsâ€™ motion to quash service of summons and motion to dismiss cross-complaints, and to issue a new order granting plaintiffsâ€™ motion to quash and motion to dismiss cross-complaints against them, dismissing Robinson Helicopter Company, Inc. (for failure to timely effect service within 3 years of filing cross-complaint), Rolls-Royce Corporation and Honeywell (for each failing to adhere to article 19 of the Hague Service Convention)]; the case is often cited as a primer on how to effectuate service of process according to the Hague Service Convention.
Selke v. Germanwings GmbH, 261 F.Supp.3d 645 (E.D. Va 2017) (Virginia court agreed with Ilyas that it had personal jurisdiction over a German airline despite the airline not having any offices, employees, planes, equipment, routes or advertisements in the U.S., and never paying taxes in the U.S., in that Virginiaâ€™s long arm statute conferred personal jurisdiction over the German airline because it sold its tickets to passengers that resided in Virginiathrough its authorized agent and proxy, United Airlines; Ilyas represented the family of the only two Americans onboard Germanwings Flight 9525 from Barcelona, Spain to DÃ¼sseldorf, Germany, whose co-pilot committed suicide by locking out the pilot and crashing the plane into the French Alps, killing all 150 souls.
Notable Media Appearances
Bloomberg TV Asia
KCBS News Los Angeles
KCAL News Los Angeles
KNBC News Los Angeles
Fox 11 News
KTTV Fox 11 News Los Angeles
KNX 1070 Newsradio CBS Los Angeles
KQED Public Radio for Northern California
Andrews Litigation Reporters
Los Angeles Times
Mealeyâ€™s Emerging Drugs & Devices
National Law Journal
Sports Business Daily
Westlaw Journal, Products Liability
Supreme Court of California
Central District of California
Northern District of California
Eastern District of California
Eastern District of Louisiana
Northern District of Ohio
Western District of Missouri
Western District of New York
Northern District of IllinoisPractice Areas
Insurance Bad Faith
D., Southwestern University School of Law
S., Bioengineering, University of California at San Diego