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TRANSPORTATION

The transportation industry is at the forefront of economic growth and globalization. The ability to move goods and transport people efficiently—whether by truck, ship, airplane or train—is crucial to the success of businesses worldwide. And while the renewed interest of venture capitalists, an increase in public/private partnerships and the granting of stimulus funds offer promise of more opportunities for transportation businesses and their customers, these and other factors—new technologies that track goods more accurately, changing regulations—also complicate the operations of transportation companies.

Thompson Coburn’s transportation attorneys represent ocean carriers, ports, air carriers, motor carriers, public transit systems, trade associations, shippers and cargo owners, and can handle the breadth of issues that affect the industry and its customers. Our attorneys have decades of experience and understand that transportation issues are complex and often include substantial capital investments with multiple parties that are directly and indirectly involved. In addition, they handle regulatory issues involving competition and antitrust proceedings, safety and environmental regulation, licensing, cargo security, joint ventures and international services arising before courts, federal agencies and the U.S. Congress. We also serve transportation innovators by handling their intellectual property work.

Our transportation attorneys counsel clients on air, rail, truck and maritime HAZMAT compliance issues involving U.S. federal regulations; the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air; the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations; and the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code.

Several of our attorneys have held positions within the Departments of Transportation, Treasury and Justice; the U.S. International Trade Commission; on staffs in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate; and at related trade organizations. Because of this range of experiences, our attorneys can address issues involving nearly any sector of the transportation industry.

Federal Maritime Commission v. South Carolina State Ports Authority, 535 U.S. 743 (2002)
Thompson Coburn successfully represented the SCSPA before the United States Supreme Court. States and their instrumentalities are entitled to sovereign immunity in proceedings before federal administrative tribunals. A vessel operator filed a complaint at the Federal Maritime Commission against the SCSPA. The Administrative Law Judge dismissed the complaint on the basis of the state’s sovereign immunity reflected in the 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Commission itself reversed. We petitioned for review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and secured a unanimous decision reversing the Commission. The Federal Maritime Commission, joined by the Solicitor General, filed a Petition for Certiorari, which was granted. We successfully argued that the principle of state sovereign immunity reflected in the 11th Amendment transcended its literal language to apply to proceedings before federal agencies and was not limited to cases filed in Article III courts. The decision, one of the most significant in perhaps the oldest line of Supreme Court cases, affirms the dual sovereignty inherent in our federal system of government.

Obtained an exemption for Insituform Technologies from the hours of service regulations for most of the client’s day-to-day activities. Our extensive efforts included direct meetings with the appropriate regulatory officers within the DOT. Insituform Technologies provides substantial maintenance and repair services to utility companies worldwide, with a particular emphasis on providing services to U.S. municipal entities. Given the nature and time sensitivity of the products used by the client, the utility-related work frequently requires the client’s drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles beyond the strict confines of the applicable hours of service regulations.

Represented a foreign-based shipping company in negotiating vessel construction contracts with major international shipyards in Korea, Japan and China.

Represented the Export-Import Bank of the United States in the guaranteed financing of two off-shore drilling rigs, each with values in excess of $100 million, for export to a Mexican company.

Represented a client in the $50 million sale of its vessel fleet, including 19 boats and 29 barges. Our attorneys provided advice and counsel to the company on admiralty, labor and employment, and regulatory issues.

In December 2006, our firm requested and obtained a Modified Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (MRC) from the Surface Transportation Board (STB) for a state port authority to operate on a line known as the Port Royal Railroad. Surrounding landowners petitioned for reconsideration of the MRC, arguing that they owned the fee interest in the right-of-way and that the STB lacked jurisdiction to issue the MRC because the line had been abandoned. We represented the port authority in its opposition to the landowners. The STB denied the landowners’ petition; the landowners again petitioned for reconsideration of the decision. In July 2008, we filed a notice of intent to terminate service on the line and a joint request for a notice of interim trail use (NITU) that would permit rail banking/interim trail use of the line under the National Trails System Act, 16 U.S.C. 1247(d). The landowners opposed the notice. In May 2009, the STB denied the landowners’ petition for reconsideration and granted the joint request for an NITU.

Led a coalition that successfully lobbied Congress in connection with the reform of Subpart F relating to the taxation of foreign-based company shipping income and have represented clients in the enactment of the alternate tonnage tax regime for U.S.-flagged vessels operating in international trade.

Filed a brief on behalf of Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) in the U.S. Supreme Court, opposing a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari filed by Amalgamated Transit Union Local No. 1338. In the brief, DART opposes Amalgamated Transit Union Local No. 1338’s request for a writ of certiorari to consider whether the Texas Supreme Court correctly held that Congress did not preempt, by implication, a Texas state governmental entity’s immunity from suit when Congress enacted the Urban Mass Transit Act of 1964, and in particular Section 13(c) of that Act, which conditions a state transit entity’s receipt of federal funds on the state transit entity entering into an agreement that seeks to preserve the state transit workers’ collective-bargaining rights. DART argues that the case did not warrant the Court’s certiorari review because the Texas Supreme Court’s decision aligns with the Court’s constitutional precedent and the reach of, and limits on, Congress’ constitutional authority.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and other municipal transit systems nationwide faced billions of dollars of termination liabilities arising out of the credit freeze. WMATA and the other systems financed their acquisition of subway cars and buses with tax-advantaged deals known as SILOs (sale-in, lease-out) and LILOs (lease-in, lease-out) backed by AIG, Ambac and other sureties. The drop in the credit ratings of these sureties triggered technical defaults and extraordinary accelerated termination payment liabilities, in this case $43 million, that jeopardized the systems' continuing operations. Taking the lead nationwide, WMATA filed suit in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. and prevailed in a temporary restraining order (TRO) proceeding to prevent the first of many of these transactions from unraveling. Following issuance of the TRO, an evidentiary hearing on a preliminary injunction was held. The court expressed serious concerns about the windfall recovery sought by the investor bank and urged the parties to resolve the dispute. Thompson Coburn negotiated resolution of the dispute, avoiding termination liability for WMATA.

Advised a chemical company with respect to an investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Security and Hazardous Material Division, arising from multiple shipments of hazardous materials in apparent noncompliance with the applicable regulations of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). We participated extensively in structuring and preparing an initial submission as well as supplemental submissions to the FAA. Despite the potential for hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties, the FAA agreed, following review of the submissions, to resolve the matter with a Letter of Warning and to forego any civil penalties.

Aid companies in developing supply chain security programs in compliance with the guidelines of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Negotiated transportation, multimodal and distribution contracts that permit a major distributor to outsource its tracking, warehousing and distribution activities to service providers.

Publications

Missouri appellate court opens the door to Spearin claims by contractors against public entities

Missouri to join Right to Work ranks: Is the fight over or just warming up?

Strategies for documenting vessel acquisition and financing transactions

Missouri Supreme Court resets the rules for collecting leaking underground storage tank cleanup costs in litigation

Developments in aircraft and marine finance for 2016

Former head of OSHA discusses workplace injury policies, DOJ enforcement

U.S. Department of Labor issues final rule updating overtime regulations

New OSHA reporting and anti-retaliation rules

Shippers, are you ready for SOLAS’ verified container weight mandate?

Government contractors must address domestic trafficking

Illinois appellate court strengthens sole proximate cause defense in asbestos cases

Small Business Committee holds hearing to explore commercial drone operations

Small UAS comment countdown begins: FAA publishes notice of proposed rulemaking

Florida drone bill a reminder to UAS operators: Know all the rules before you fly

UAS hearing yields details on systems research and development, but no timeline for small UAS rule

'Tis the season: FAA launches safety campaign for unmanned aircraft

Unmanned aircraft systems are 'aircraft' once again: National Transportation Safety Board reverses administrative law judge on key definition

International trade compliance: 6 basic products questions a company should answer

Blog Posts

Food transporters take notice – the FDA’s new Sanitary Transport Rule may affect you

How the FDA’s new Sanitary Transport Rule affects food shipping

News

Cherie Bock, Ruthanne Hammett, Margie Krumholz publish article on vessel documentation

Thompson Coburn Management Committee welcomes Tony Anderson, Steve Sherman

Adrienne Clair joins Thompson Coburn’s nationally-recognized utilities practice as partner

Employment litigator Arthur Silbergeld joins Thompson Coburn in Los Angeles

A merger story: Tom Minogue and Jack Musgrave discuss 20 years as Thompson Coburn

Updated trade compliance materials now available

Warren Dean writes op-ed on Open Skies, Mid-East airline subsidies for The Hill

Helping Chicago’s public transit agencies implement an innovative fare payment system

Thompson Coburn returns to the U.S. Supreme Court on state sovereign immunity

Thompson Coburn earns corporate counsel recommendations five years running in national report

Margie Krumholz elected to American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers

Thompson Coburn earns eight national top-tier rankings in U.S. News ‘Best Law Firms’ survey

Margie Krumholz co-authors chapter on leasing commercial vessels

Federal Maritime Commission decides administrative action over ‘split routing’

U.S. Supreme Court unanimously sides with position of Thompson Coburn airline client

Thompson Coburn files U.S. Supreme Court brief for international airline group

Katie Kraft headed to Leadership Summit of International Women's Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation

Cliff Godiner, Hope Abramov to dissect a modern labor dispute at SHRM annual conference

Margie Krumholz named the new chair of Marine Financing Committee

Eric E. Boyd joins Thompson Coburn's Environmental Group

Jonathan Benner, former Federal Bar ‘Transportation Lawyer of the Year,’ joins Thompson Coburn’s D.C. office

Senior Counsel
Southern Illinois
618 236 3406

Tom defends major railroads and other corporations facing personal injury suits, primarily in the areas of FELA, product liability and medical malpractice.

Tom defends major railroads and other corporations facing personal injury s...

Tom Alvey, Jr.
Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6928

Over the past 30 years, Tony has been a legal advisor to many of the nation's largest transit systems.

Over the past 30 years, Tony has been a legal advisor to many of the nation...

Tony Anderson
Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6985

Jonathan's practice is focused on domestic and international maritime and shipping matters, as well as international trade regulation issues that are incidental to the gl...

Jonathan's practice is focused on domestic and international maritime and s...

Jonathan Benner
Associate
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6932

Tyler is an experienced regulatory attorney who analyzes federal regulations and provides comprehensive guidance to clients in a variety of sectors, including transportat...

Tyler is an experienced regulatory attorney who analyzes federal regulation...

Tyler Black
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6455

Cherie represents financial institutions and borrowers in various secured and unsecured lending transactions.

Cherie represents financial institutions and borrowers in various secured a...

Cherie Bock
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6014

Mary has spent her nearly 40-year career representing major corporations in high-stakes trials and arbitrations across the region.

Mary has spent her nearly 40-year career representing major corporations in...

Mary Bonacorsi
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6546

Senator Bond draws on his distinguished record of public service to represent clients on matters related to international trade, economic development, biotechnology, agri...

Senator Bond draws on his distinguished record of public service to represe...

Kit Bond
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6015

Mark represents clients in financial restructurings, out-of-court workouts and bankruptcy cases.

Mark represents clients in financial restructurings, out-of-court workouts ...

Mark Bossi
Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6906

Eileen is a successful negotiator and strategist who focuses on her clients' goals while keeping an eye on the big picture.

Eileen is a successful negotiator and strategist who focuses on her clients...

Eileen Brown
Counsel
Southern Illinois
618 236 3469

Crystal practices in the firm's railroad litigation area.

Crystal practices in the firm's railroad litigation area.

Crystal Campbell
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6021

Cathy focuses her practice on employee benefits, taxation and closely-held businesses.

Cathy focuses her practice on employee benefits, taxation and closely-held ...

Cathy Conrad
Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6908

Warren focuses on federal regulation of business, both domestic and international, and represents several of the nation's largest transportation and energy interests befo...

Warren focuses on federal regulation of business, both domestic and interna...

Warren Dean, Jr.
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6142

David is a lead trial lawyer with a track record of success across a diverse array of claims, including various types of construction and real estate disputes, business t...

David is a lead trial lawyer with a track record of success across a divers...

David Dick
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6028

For more than 40 years, Don has counseled clients in connection with mergers and acquisitions as well as corporate and commercial transactions.

For more than 40 years, Don has counseled clients in connection with merger...

Don Dorwart
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6433

Cliff is a nationally recognized labor and employment attorney who advises executives and HR leaders on all aspects of employment litigation and labor disputes.

Cliff is a nationally recognized labor and employment attorney who advises ...

Cliff Godiner
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6040

Allan’s practice includes preparation and trial work in product liability, asbestos, carpal tunnel syndrome, and legal and medical malpractice.

Allan’s practice includes preparation and trial work in product liability, ...

Allan Goodloe
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6046

Bill defends railroads facing personal injury litigation in high-risk venues across the Midwest.

Bill defends railroads facing personal injury litigation in high-risk venue...

Bill Hakes
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6155

Ruthanne represents parties on both sides of complex commercial transactions, providing responsive advice on a variety of finance and sales matters.

Ruthanne represents parties on both sides of complex commercial transaction...

Ruthanne Hammett
Partner
Southern Illinois
618 236 3419

Harlan represents national railroads involved in lawsuits in state and federal courts in Illinois and Missouri, primarily in the areas of FELA, grade crossing accidents a...

Harlan represents national railroads involved in lawsuits in state and fede...

Harlan Harla
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6568

During her more than 30 years of legal practice, Lori has been to helping clients solve some of the most challenging employee benefit problems.

During her more than 30 years of legal practice, Lori has been to helping c...

Lori Jones
Partner
Southern Illinois
618 236 3418

As one of the most experienced trial attorneys in Missouri and Illinois, Tom has achieved significant results for clients facing major litigation in state and federal cou...

As one of the most experienced trial attorneys in Missouri and Illinois, To...

Tom Jones
Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6912

Matt practices in the firm's Transportation and International Commerce group, focusing on maritime and trade finance and related United States government guarantee progra...

Matt practices in the firm's Transportation and International Commerce grou...

Matthew Kaiser
Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6922

Katie advises public transit agencies around the country on issues involving third-party procurement, Section 13(c) labor protection, Buy America compliance, and adherenc...

Katie advises public transit agencies around the country on issues involvin...

Katie Kraft
Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6913

Margie's practice spans more than 30 years representing borrowers, lenders, lessors, and lessees in structuring, negotiating, and closing financing transactions, includin...

Margie's practice spans more than 30 years representing borrowers, lenders,...

Margie Krumholz
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6066

Nick is a highly experienced trial lawyer in all types of civil litigation, including the defense of railroad, product liability and other personal injury claims, and the...

Nick is a highly experienced trial lawyer in all types of civil litigation,...

Nick Lamb
Partner
Chicago
312 580 2242

Litigation can be a chess match or a street fight: Rob has the skills and experience needed to navigate either approach.

Litigation can be a chess match or a street fight: Rob has the skills and e...

Rob Lang
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6070

Rick advises companies and individuals on a variety of federal (domestic and international), state and local tax matters.

Rick advises companies and individuals on a variety of federal (domestic an...

Rick Lawton
Partner
Southern Illinois
618 236 3467

Kevin is a litigation partner focusing in the areas of asbestos, toxic tort, personal injury, products liability, and railroad litigation.

Kevin is a litigation partner focusing in the areas of asbestos, toxic tort...

Kevin McGinley
Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6976

With 25 years of experience in the transportation industry, Sean helps his clients navigate through and maintain compliance with the complex web of federal regulations af...

With 25 years of experience in the transportation industry, Sean helps his ...

Sean McGowan
Chairman
St. Louis
314 552 6080

Tom has served as chairman of Thompson Coburn for 16 years, leading the firm through a period of growth and nationwide expansion.

Tom has served as chairman of Thompson Coburn for 16 years, leading the fir...

Tom Minogue
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6082

Mike litigates on behalf of banking and health care clients, and has significant class action experience.

Mike litigates on behalf of banking and health care clients, and has signif...

Mike Morris
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6084

Rick's litigation practice includes a wide range of matters, with emphasis in product liability, commercial litigation and maritime matters.

Rick's litigation practice includes a wide range of matters, with emphasis ...

Rick Mueller
Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6939

Emily counsels owners and executives of private and public companies on day-to-day corporate matters, as well as their long-term business objectives.

Emily counsels owners and executives of private and public companies on day...

Emily Wang Murphy
Senior Counsel
St. Louis
314 552 6092

Michael's practice includes substantial experience in tort and commercial litigation in state and federal courts.

Michael's practice includes substantial experience in tort and commercial l...

Michael O'Keefe
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6331

Tom provides strategic intellectual property counseling to some of the world's largest consumer products companies, with a focus on IP portfolio management, licensing and...

Tom provides strategic intellectual property counseling to some of the worl...

Tom Polcyn
Associate
St. Louis
314 552 6577

Cody represents employers in various aspects of employment litigation and labor law.

Cody represents employers in various aspects of employment litigation and l...

Cody Reinberg
Partner
Southern Illinois
618 236 3415

Kurt is experienced in the defense of personal injury and property damage litigation including FELA, trucking, product liability, class action and mass tort litigation.

Kurt is experienced in the defense of personal injury and property damage l...

Kurt Reitz
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6173

Sharon develops and executes highly effective class action defense strategies for major companies across a variety of sectors, including transportation, telecommunication...

Sharon develops and executes highly effective class action defense strategi...

Sharon Rosenberg
Associate
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6929

Jayna advises companies, individuals, and transportation authorities throughout the various stages of the contracting process and litigation.

Jayna advises companies, individuals, and transportation authorities throug...

Jayna Rust
Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6926

Robert counsels clients in all aspects of international transactions with a focus on the trade and shipment of goods.

Robert counsels clients in all aspects of international transactions with a...

Robert Shapiro
Partner
Los Angeles
310 282 9412

Art represents employers in high-stakes employment litigation and labor relations matters.

Art represents employers in high-stakes employment litigation and labor rel...

Art Silbergeld
Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6924

Jane serves as counsel to transit agencies across the country on a range of issues from funding to project development to procurement.

Jane serves as counsel to transit agencies across the country on a range of...

Jane Sutter Starke
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6109

Peter is a nationally recognized environmental attorney who helps companies respond to major environmental incidents, navigate regulatory actions, and successfully resolv...

Peter is a nationally recognized environmental attorney who helps companies...

Peter Strassner
Senior Counsel
St. Louis
314 552 6110

Dave represents railroads and major manufacturers in environmental and occupational exposure litigation throughout the Midwest and across the country.

Dave represents railroads and major manufacturers in environmental and occu...

Dave Stratmann
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6562

Jason is a trusted legal advisor to multi-generational families and their businesses.

Jason is a trusted legal advisor to multi-generational families and their b...

Jason Thein
Partner
Southern Illinois
618 236 3411

For nearly 20 years, Erick has defended product liability, toxic tort, and railroad injury cases in some of the most difficult jurisdictions in the country.

For nearly 20 years, Erick has defended product liability, toxic tort, and ...

Erick VanDorn
Partner
Los Angeles
310 282 9448

Barry serves as a corporate strategist and outside general counsel to small- to mid-sized companies, as well as their principals, in a variety of industries.

Barry serves as a corporate strategist and outside general counsel to small...

Barry Weisz
Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6925

Kent is Chair of the firm's Public Transit group.

Kent is Chair of the firm's Public Transit group.

Kent Woodman