Sheila Sundvall is of counsel in the Litigation practice of Paul Hastings and is based in the firm's Chicago office. Ms. Sundvall's practice consists of general civil litigation, with an emphasis on product liability and aviation-related litigation. Prior to joining Paul Hastings, Ms. Sundvall was an equity partner at a multinational law firm for fourteen years.
As part of her general commercial litigation practice, Ms. Sundvall has handled a variety of matters, including business tort and breach of contract cases. She also provides counseling to local and multinational clients with respect to tort and contractual liability exposure, warranty, and indemnity issues.
Ms. Sundvall's aviation litigation practice has included the representation of commercial airlines, manufacturers, aircraft lessors, and other defendants in numerous personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Past representations in major airline accident litigation have included serving as the lead, national coordinating counsel for General Electric for 10 years, defending over 200 lawsuits filed around the country arising out of the United Flight 232 accident in Sioux City, Iowa in 1989; representing American Eagle in litigation arising out of the American Eagle Flight 4184 accident in Roselawn, Indiana in 1994 and the American Eagle Flight 3379 accident in Morrisville, North Carolina in 1994; and representing American Airlines in litigation arising out of the American Flight 965 accident in Cali, Colombia in 1995. She has also represented aircraft owners and other defendants in litigation stemming from a number of highly publicized general aviation accidents, including the 1994 Nevada helicopter crash involving the former president of Disney and the 2001 Cessna crash in the Bahamas involving the R&B artist Aaliyah.
Prior to entering private practice, Ms. Sundvall served as a law clerk for the Honorable Richard D. Cudahy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
- The Legal 500 USA, Transport: Aviation and Air Travel - Litigation and Regulation (2021-2022)
- Chambers USA, Transportation: Aviation: Litigation (2013-2022)
- Recognized as a leading lawyer in her field by Chambers USA, Legal 500 USA, International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers, Who’s Who Legal: Illinois, and the Leading Lawyers Network.
- Featured as one of the top business lawyers in Illinois in the 2010 Business Edition of Leading Lawyers magazine and ranked by Leading Lawyers as one of the top 100 women lawyers in Illinois.
- The University of Michigan Law School, J.D. (magna cum laude, Order of the Coif), 1988
- The University of Michigan, B.A. (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa), 1985
- National, lead counsel for an engine manufacturer in litigation arising out of an engine failure and emergency evacuation on Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 at Philadelphia International Airport in 2018.
- Representation of an engine manufacturer in litigation arising out of an engine fire on American Airlines Flight 383 at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in 2016.
- Representation of an engine manufacturer in MDL litigation arising out of the Air France Flight 447 accident over the Atlantic Ocean in 2009.
- Representation of an engine manufacturer in litigation arising out of the Afriqiyah Airways Flight 8U771 accident in Tripoli, Libya in 2010.
- Representation of an engine manufacturer in a lawsuit brought by a Singapore-based cargo airline seeking economic damages.
- Representation of a component part manufacturer in lawsuits arising from a Learjet accident in Mexico City in 2008.
- Representation of an aircraft lessor in litigation arising out of the Lion Air Flight 538 accident in Indonesia in 2004.
- Representation of an engine manufacturer in litigation arising out of the Garuda Indonesia Flight 421 accident in Indonesia in 2002.
- Representation of private equity firm clients regarding tort and contractual liability issues.
Engagement & Publications
- Frequently speaks at various ABA and other aviation-related conferences in the U.S. and Europe.
- Published numerous articles in the area of aviation and tort law, including a chapter in Litigating the Aviation Case, titled "Getting Out of Dodge: Defense Pointers on Jurisdictional Issues in Transnational Aviation Torts Litigation," published by the ABA in 2008.
- Co-chair of the ABA Aviation Litigation Committee from 2002 to 2005
- Member of the International Aviation Women’s Association