James K. Brengle

Of Counsel - Retired

  • James K. Brengle
  • Phone: +1 215 979 1512

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  • Duane Morris LLP
    30 South 17th Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19103-4196

James K. Brengle practices in all aspects of aviation-related business transactions, aircraft accident litigation and admiralty law both in the U.S. and internationally. He also represents aviation professionals in administrative federal aviation regulatory enforcement proceedings before the National Transportation Safety Board. In addition, Mr. Brengle has an extensive litigation background in the areas of asbestos litigation and professional liability litigation.

Admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland, he is a member of the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Chester County, New York State, New York County, Maryland State and American bar associations. Mr. Brengle has also been designated a proctor in admiralty by the Maritime Law Association of the United States. He is a member of the Ports of Philadelphia Maritime Exchange, the Pennsylvania Defense Institute and the Defense Research Institute. Additionally, he is a member of the National Transportation Safety Board Bar Association, the Airplane Owners and Pilots Association and the National Business Aviation Association, Inc.

Mr. Brengle is a Naval Aviator with more than 4,000 hours of total pilot time, including 850 instrument hours. He has been rated by the United States Navy in the following aircraft: P-3 Orion (Lockheed 188 Electra); TS-2 Tracker (Grumman twin engine), carrier qualified; T-28 (North American Texan), carrier qualified; and T-34 (Beechcraft Bonanza). He also has civilian experience in the Piper Aerostar, American Yankee, King Air and Pinto jet aircraft. Mr. Brengle's civil ratings include Commercial Pilot, Single Engine Land, Multi-engine Land and Instrument ratings. He is a retired Captain in the United States Navy and a veteran of the Vietnam War. He is the vice president of the board of directors of the Delaware Valley Historical Aircraft Association.

Mr. Brengle is a 1976 graduate of the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and a 1968 graduate of the United States Naval Academy.

Representative Matters

  • Defended major manufacturer of drywall and pipe covering in litigation arising from injuries allegedly related to asbestos exposure. Tried six consolidated cases in Federal Court. Won four cases outright, and proved that recoverable damages were limited to $25,000 in two others. Client paid nothing after winning two cases on appeal, and was awarded costs and expenses.

  • Represented next of kin who lost a son in King Air 200 plane crash that killed members of NCAA basketball team in Oklahoma. Successfully proved that the son was a passenger and not acting as copilot in the crash, obtaining a seven-figure settlement for client.

  • Investigated and favorably settled the maritime case of M/V THOR TRIBUTE after suing the vessel for lack of fire suppressant capability that resulted in the loss of a cargo of cocoa beans destined for a Hershey Chocolate factory.

  • Acted as counsel for major oil company in defense of numerous Jones Act cases involving the injury of workers at sea. Cases were brought all along the East Coast, from New York to Florida.

  • Acted as counsel to Caribbean Cruise Lines in defense of numerous Jones Act seamen's cases and passenger cases involving maritime injuries.

  • Defended major shipowner in litigation involving various cargo, collision and grounding claims brought over a period of three years.

  • Represented commercial air carriers in FAA regulatory matters, customs, taxes, international treaties, compliance with Islamic law and various homeland security issues.

  • Represented owners, lessors and lessees of aircraft in various kinds of bankruptcy-related litigation, as well as replevins and foreclosures on airplanes or airline equipment.

  • Handled numerous aviation industry transactional matters, including the negotiation and drafting of agreements regarding fractional ownership of aircraft, operational control issues, time-share arrangements, aircraft wet and dry leases, aircraft management and pilot service agreements, and various corporate jet purchase and sale, ownership and lease arrangements.

  • Handled numerous aviation industry regulatory and enforcement matters, including negotiations with the IRS, FAA and other regulatory agencies on issues related to private aircraft ownership, operations, maintenance, and piloting.

  • Defended doctors in roughly 20 cases involving various allegations of medical malpractice, none of which resulted in a plaintiff's verdict.

  • Successfully defended automotive brake manufacturer in jury trial regarding wrongful death claims allegedly related to asbestos exposure. Won defense verdict in case with $3 million exposure by proving the exposure did not cause the plaintiff's mesothelioma. Lippincott v. Ford Motor Company (2005).
  • Successfully defended Narco Avionics, an aircraft part manufacturer, in a personal injury case where pilot alleged that damages to his family from a private airplane crash were related to defective products. Jury returned a complete defense verdict after long trial. Heeney v. Mooney Aircraft Corp., et al. (2006).
  • Successfully defended a public works contractor in case brought by major municipality for allegedly defective design and workmanship. Effective advocacy on counter-claims resulted in client obtaining $3.5 million jury award on counter-claims, plus costs, expenses and attorney's fees. Transdyn, Inc. v. City of San Francisco (2007).
  • Successfully tried cases in state and federal forums in California, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, New York and Oklahoma.

  • Successfully represented US Airways Pilots Union in contract matters in federal court, Phoenix, AZ.


  • Pennsylvania
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
  • Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
  • Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York for the Third Department
  • Court of Appeals of Maryland


  • University of California College of the Law, San Francisco, J.D., 1976
  • United States Naval Academy, B.S., 1968


  • Duane Morris LLP
    - Of Counsel, 2013-present
    - Partner, 1985-2012
    - Associate, 1979-1984
  • Rawle & Henderson, Philadelphia, PA,
    -Associate, 1976-1979
  • Captain, United States Naval Air Reserve, Retired
    - Naval Aviator
  • Commanding Officer Patrol Squadron 66, 1987-1988
  • Vietnam Veteran

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • New York State Bar Association
  • Maryland State Bar Association
  • Philadelphia Bar Association
  • New York County Lawyers Association
  • Proctor, Maritime Law Association of the United States
  • National Transportation Safety Board Bar Association
    --Board of Directors
    --Chairman of the Amicus Curiae Committee
  • Chester County Bar Association
  • Ports of Philadelphia Maritime Exchange
  • Pennsylvania Defense Institute
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Airplane Owners and Pilots Association
  • National Business Aviation Association, Inc.

Honors and Awards

Board Memberships

  • President, Board of Directors, United Health Care and Human Services, Inc.
  • Vice President, Board of Directors, Delaware Valley Historical Aircraft Association

Civic and Charitable Activities

  • Merion Cricket Club, Haverford, Pennsylvania
  • Union League of Philadelphia
  • United States Naval Academy Alumni Association

Selected Publications

  • Co-Author, "Aviation Professionals and the Threat of Criminal Liability--How Do We Maximize Aviation Safety? "NTSB Bar Association Journal of Air Law and Commerce, Dallas, Texas, 2002

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, "Aviation Security Since 9/11 - Is it Safe to Fly?" Monthly Issues Forum of the Union League of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 6, 2002
  • Speaker, "Criminalization of Aviation Infractions," Florida Bar Association and the National Transportation Safety Board Bar Association, Pensacola, Florida, November 9, 2001
  • Lecturer, Aviation Law, Survey of General Pennsylvania Law and Pennsylvania Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act, American Eagle Group, Inc., December 1994
  • Lecturer, Management Policies and Techniques to Reduce Tort and Contract Liabilities Arising out of the Business of Providing Environmental Services, ARA Environmental Services, Inc. and ARA Leisure Services, Inc., November 1991