J. Clark Aristei
J. Clark Aristei is a senior partner at Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, where he focuses his practice on commercial transportation litigation. Clark has spent the better part of his 35 years in law representing victims in cases stemming from aviation, trucking, bus, maritime, and train accidents.
Clark has represented over 50 passengers in train crashes and in recent years, Clark represented 24 passengers from two of the worst rail disasters in U.S. history. In the 2005 Glendale, California Metrolink crash, Clark was appointed as a Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) member and liaison counsel, where he worked with lead trial counsel for over 30 law firms overseeing more than 110 cases.
He was also a PSC member for the 2008 Chatsworth, California Metrolink crash. His legal research and writing skills helped remand the cases from federal court back to state court. He also served on the "Zap the Cap" committee that sought to obtain legislative relief for the Metrolink passengers who were denied full compensation due to the $200M liability cap on victim compensation.
Of the four cases to go to trial as a result of the 1993 Sunset Limited Amtrak derailment into a bayou near Mobile, Alabama, in 2000, Clark served as co-counsel on one trial and lead counsel on two other trials. His efforts produced substantial verdicts for his clients.
Clark also represented victims in the Alaska Airlines Flight 261 crash in 2000. The crash, which happened in the Pacific Ocean near Pt. Mugu, California, involved complicated legal issues. Early in the case, Clark performed a critical role, working with other legal counsel on the PSC that obtained the court’s ruling that maritime law applied. As a result of this ruling, the victims’ families received the most favorable compensation available.
In addition to his leadership in rail and aviation cases, Clark has also played integral roles in bus and trucking cases. He successfully obtained U.S. jurisdiction for two devastating international bus crashes in England and Mexico. Along with several other Baum Hedlund attorneys, Clark represented 28 Americans killed in these crashes.
In 2004, Clark was co-counsel with his partner Ronald Goldman, in a trial representing a young Marine killed by a collision with aTyson Foods truck in Ohio. The jury delivered one of the largest verdicts in Ohio’s history—over $7 million to the parents of the victim.
Clark also served on the trial teams for the 2001 Colorado Airborne Charter Inc./Avjet, Aspen crash, and the 1998 LAFD Bell Helicopter crash in Griffith Park, Los Angeles. He was also appointed co-lead plaintiffs' counsel for the Coordinated Discovery Cases, Southwest Airlines Flight 1455 accident in Burbank, California, in 2000.
As a result of his critical years in leadership and liaison roles in complex aviation and rail passenger mass disaster litigation, Clark has become known among his peers serving on PSCs, as reliable, highly effective, and very professional—someone they definitely want to work with again in the future. A judge once said that Clark’s work is of "trademark quality."
Among his many accomplishments, Clark was an adjunct law professor for 12 years at the University of West Los Angeles School of Law. He has also received distinguished lawyer awards and honors over the years, including the highest AV® Peer Review rating through Lexis-Nexis® Martindale Hubbell. He has also been selected to Southern California Super Lawyers for six years in a row, listed in The Best Lawyers in America*, Who’s Who in American Law and was recently awarded the Lexis-Nexis® Martindale-Hubbell® Client Distinction Award for his outstanding service to his clients.
*Copyright by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC.
Areas of Practice
- Airline Accidents
- Catastrophic Injury
- Cruise Ship Accidents
- Maritime Tort Law
- Motor Vehicle Accidents -- Plaintiff
- School Bus Accidents
- Trucking Accidents
- Wrongful Death
- 100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
- California, 1975
- U.S. District Court Southern District of California, 1975
- U.S. District Court Central District of California, 1979
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of California, 1993
- U.S. District Court Northern District of New York, 1996
- U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois, 2006
- U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit, 1997
- University of San Diego School of Law, San Diego, California
- J.D. - 1975
- Honors: Recipient, American Jurisprudence Award in Constitutional Law, 1973
- California State University, Long Beach, California
- B.A. cum laude - 1971
- Los Angeles Harbor College, Wilmington, California
- A.A. - 1968
- "Successful Handling of Wrongful Death Cases in California: Trying Your Case to Verdict or Settlement" , Lorman Education Services, 2002
- Penner v. Falk, 153 Cal. App. 3d 858, 200 Cal. Rptr. 661 (1984)
- Geffen v. County of Los Angeles, 197 Cal. App. 3d 188, 242 Cal. Rptr. 492 (1987)
- In re Air Crash Off Point Mugu, California, on January 30, 2000, 145 F.Supp.2d 1156 (N.D.Cal., 2001) (2001)
- McCoy v. Southwest Airlines Co., Inc., 211 F.R.D. 381 (C.D.Cal., 2002) (2002)
- McCoy v. Southwest Airlines Co., Inc., 208 F.R.D. 617 (C.D.Cal. 2002) (2002)
- Adjunct Professor of Law, University of West Los Angeles School of Law, 1986 - 1997
- Successful Handling of Wrongful Death Cases in California: Trying Your Case to Verdict or Settlement, Lorman Education Services, 2002
Honors and Awards
- Listed, Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers
- Who's Who in America
- Who's Who in American Law
- National Air Disaster Foundation Safety Award, 2002 - Present
- Southern California Super Lawyer, 2005 - Present
- The Best Lawyers in America® 2013
- AV® 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review Rated through Martindale Hubbell
- Southern California Super Lawyer, 2013
- Southern California Super Lawyer, 2012
- Southern California Super Lawyer, 2011
- Southern California Super Lawyer, 2010
- Southern California Super Lawyer, 2009
- Southern California Super Lawyer, 2008
- Avvo.com Superb Score 10 out of 10
- Lexis-Nexis® | Martindale-Hubbell® Client Distinction Award
- Southern California Super Lawyer, 2014
- The Best Lawyers in America® 2014
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Los Angeles County Bar Association, Member
- State Bar of California, Member, 1975 - Present
- Consumer Attorneys of California
- Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles
- California Farm Bureau Federation, Member, 2007 - Present
- Coordinated Discovery Cases, Southwest Airlines Flight 1455 Accident, Burbank, California, 2000, Lead Plaintiffs Counsel
- Plaintiffs' Steering Committee, Glendale Metrolink Derailment Cases, Glendale, California, 2005, Plaintiffs' Liaison Counsel and Member
- Airborne Charter Inc./Avjet Crash, Aspen, Colorado, 2001, Trial Team Member
- Bell Helicopter Crash in Los Angeles, California, 1998, Trial Co-Counsel
- Tyson Foods Truck Crash Near Crestline, Ohio, 2004, Trial Co-Counsel