Richard G. Grotch

Richard G. Grotch

Redwood City, California

With a civil litigation practice that encompasses a wide array of personal and business disputes, Rick is an AV rated lawyer who specializes in the defense of aviation, products liability and civil rights cases. Rick also represents clients in matters before the appellate courts, both in the context of appeals and extraordinary writ proceedings and represents and counsels employers and employees in employment disputes. A San Francisco native, Rick has nearly 30 years of experience representing individuals and businesses in litigation and providing them with legal counseling.

Rick represents clients across a wide spectrum of the field of aviation, including commercial air carriers, airport operators, aircraft and component part manufacturers, entities interested in safely and legally operating unmanned aircraft systems ("drones"), and in managing potential risks posed thereby, fixed base operators, repair facilities, flight clubs, schools and instructors, private aircraft owners and pilots, and aviation security contractors, among others.

Particularly in connection with legal issues which can arise in airline claims and litigation, Rick serves as national counsel for some of the largest air carriers. In that role, he represents clients and assists in airline litigation throughout the nation and in foreign jurisdictions and provides counsel and guidance in matters of policy and risk management. Rick frequently provides representation of this kind in cases, claims and even routine client inquiries involving treaties applicable to international air transportation, transportation of passengers with special needs (including passengers with disabilities and unaccompanied minors), unruly passengers and denial of transportation, federal preemption, in-flight medical emergencies, aviation security and war risk insurance and terrorism-related claims. Rick speaks on these and other issues at forums throughout the United States.

Rick also represents manufacturers and designers of a wide range of products ranging from household appliances to security systems utilized in modern maximum security detention facilities to sophisticated aircraft and their component parts. He also represents private employers and public entities in suits alleging discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender and medical condition, both in employment and in the provision of services and represents public entities, including in cases charging police misconduct and violation of civil rights.

An effective appellate advocate, Rick also has substantial experience briefing and arguing appeals and interlocutory writs in the California Court of Appeal and in the United States Court of Appeals.

Areas of Practice

  • Appellate Practice
  • Aviation
  • Civil Rights
  • Employment
  • Products Liability
  • Transportation and Trucking

Bar Admissions

  • California, 1987
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California


  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, California
    • J.D. - 1986
  • University of California, Davis
    • A.B. - 1983
    • Honors: With High Honors


  • Panelist, Ethics – Rules of Conduct and the Aviation Practitioner: What Flies and What Does Not, SMU Air Law Symposium, Dallas, Texas (March 2015)
  • Presenter, A View from the Plaintiffs’ Bar, ACI Third Annual Forum on Defending and Managing Litigation, Boston, Massachusetts (June 2011)
  • Presenter, Federal Preemption: The Current Viability of the Defense, ACI Second Annual Forum on Defending and Managing Litigation, Boston, Massachusetts (June 2010)
  • Presenter, The Montreal Convention – An Introduction, Atlanta, Georgia (April 2010)
  • Presenter, Unaccompanied Minor Liability for Airlines, Dallas, Texas (April 2007)
  • Presenter, The FARs: A Primer and Reminder, Palm Springs, California

Honors and Awards

  • AV-rated
  • Chair, State Bar of California, Committee on Federal Courts, 2002 - 2003
  • Vice Chair, State Bar of California, Committee on Federal Courts, 2001 - 2002
  • Member, State Bar of California, Committee on Federal Courts, 2000 - 2001

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American Bar Association
  • Bar Association of San Francisco
  • ABA Forum on Air & Space Law's Committee on Drones, Member