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
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
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
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
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.