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Chris Kilgore

Email
chris.kilgore@harperbates.com
Office
214.238.8400

Biography

Chris Kilgore is an experienced litigator, guiding clients for more than 30 years in commercial, product liability­ and tort cases, including insurance and coverage related matters.

Chris leans on his experience as a professional pilot to guide aviation manufacturers and operators through commercial transactions, regulatory compliance, contract negotiations including maintenance agreements, aircraft management and charter agreements and aircraft refurbishment agreements, as well as accident and product liability litigation, among other issues.

Chris uses his diverse background as a former military and commercial pilot, construction project manager, draftsman, safety professional, and educator to litigate matters including those involving metallurgy, mechanics, electronics, aerodynamics, thermodynamics, design, and pharmacology. This experience, combined with his extensive legal background, makes Chris a successful and efficient legal advocate who approaches each case with a unique perspective.

He began flying in 1967 with the U.S. Army, and at age 19, served as a combat helicopter pilot in Vietnam. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Air Medal with “V” (Valor), as well as the Army Commendation Medal for his work as an OH-6 instructor pilot.

Years later, in 1979, while on active duty with the U.S. Coast Guard, Chris was the pilot on a rescue mission that saved the lives of 22 people following a major collision and fire near Galveston, Texas. In 2016, the HH-52A helicopter he flew on that mission was inducted into the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

He holds an FAA Airline Transport Pilot license (ATP), and is a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) and Ground Instructor. Chris is rated in both helicopters and airplanes and has extensive civil flight experience including corporate and Part 135 operations.

Chris taught aviation law and insurance courses for 20 years at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Fort Worth campus where he has been awarded the campus’ Faculty of the Year Award. He currently serves as a mentor at the UNT College of Law. He is a past Chairman of the Aviation Section of the State Bar of Texas.

Active in his community, Chris has served as Chairman of the Board of Adjustment and on the Planning & Zoning Commission. He was on City Council for six years (term limited) and Mayor Pro Tem. He is currently an Associate Municipal Judge in two cities.

Career details

Practice areas

Commercial Litigation Product Liability Aviation

Education

  • University of Houston, J.D.
  • University of the State of New York, B.A.,

Honors

  • Martindale Hubble AV Rating – Preeminent, since 1998.
  • Texas Super Lawyer since 2013.
  • National Association of Distinguished Counsel
  • Texas Monthly: Texas Top Attorneys

Presentations

  • Speaker at SMU Air Law Symposium: "Declaratory Judgments, A Procedural Vehicle for Clearing the Air," 2010; "Who’s In Charge Here: Depends on Who You Ask," 2013 (re pilot in command)
  • Lecturer for Lorman Trucking Litigation seminars since 2009
  • Lecturer for various state approved continuing education courses for insurance claims professionals
  • Speaker at Ohio Contractor’s Association Safety Seminar, 1976 and 1977 and Ohio Safety Congress, 1977
  • Management member of committee to rewrite Ohio safety regulations for construction, subsequently published as chapter of Ohio Administrative Code

Publications

  • Lead Author, Be Nice – Or I’ll Sue, A New Perigee in FAA Customer Relations, SMU Journal of Air Law & Commerce, Spring 2005 (discussing Cox v. Five State Helicopters, 146 S.W.3d 254 (Tex. App. – Fort Worth 2004, pet. denied), a case he tried)
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Texas Torts: Law & Practice, James Publishing (1998)
  • Author of 1999 Aviation Law Supplement to Texas Torts

ADMITTED TO PRACTICE

  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Federal Claims
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • All Federal District Courts in Texas