Transport: rail and road - litigation in United States

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP handles a range of high-stakes rail and automotive sector disputes, acting for numerous industry-leading clients. Department head Thomas Dupree Jr successfully represented Wisconsin Central, Grand Trunk Western Railroad, and Illinois Central Railroad in a $13.3m dispute with the IRS. Theodore Boutrous in Los Angeles and Daniel Kolkey in San Francisco represented BNSF Railway in a case examining environmental concerns relating to the development of a rail facility for the Port of Los Angeles. Also recommended are Raymond Ludwiszewski, who handles a range of civil and criminal environmental enforcement actions, and associate David Schnitzer. Named lawyers are based in the firm’s Washington DC office unless stated otherwise.

McGuireWoods LLP

McGuireWoods LLP’s transport disputes practice has a strong track-record across the road and rail sectors, acting for railroads, auto-manufacturers and trucking companies. In the trucking sector, Brian Jackson in Charlottesville represents a number of diverse clients including several for-hire motor carriers. Matthew Monsour in Pittsburgh and associate Ashley Winsky in Richmond are also contacts in the trucking practice. The rail sector team, which is headed by Jacksonville-based Eric Bilik, acts for a Class I railroad client as national counsel in relation to all punitive damages cases and pre-emption cases, and also acts as the client's bankruptcy counsel. Christopher Thanner in Jacksonville stands out for his rail sector expertise and is active in disputes with state agencies and local governments; he also handles real estate litigation involving rail facilities and railroad right-of-way. Also recommended in Jacksonville is counsel Patrick Dover. Product liability claims in the automotive sector are another key area of expertise. In Richmond, Perry Miles and Tracy Walker advise Ford Motor Company on high-exposure product liability cases across the US, and also represent the client in consumer fraud class actions. Richmond-based Terry Bagley is also noted. Bryan Brantley in Pittsburgh co-heads the transportation industry sector team. Mitchell Morris joined Butler Snow LLP in 2018.

Dykema Gossett PLLC

Praised for its ‘valuable industry expertise’, Dykema Gossett PLLC regularly represents automotive OEMs and automotive industry suppliers in a range of high-stakes class action, product liability and toxic tort cases. Derek Whitefield in Los Angeles was retained by Autoliv to handle a product liability case in Minnesota involving catastrophic injuries. The firm has industry experts across an expansive national network, with names to note including James Feeney, who is based across the Bloomfield Hills and Los Angeles offices; product liability head Terri Reiskin in Washington DC; Laura Baucus in Bloomfield Hills; Ann Arbor-based Jill Wheaton; and Krista Lenart; and Tamara Bush in Los Angeles. Detroit-based Michael Cooney and Dommond Lonnie in Los Angeles jointly head the practice group.

Hogan Lovells US LLP

Hogan Lovells US LLP is best known for its experience in automotive sector litigation and is well placed to advise on domestic and cross-border cases. Auto franchise disputes are a key area of expertise, as are emissions cases, product liability, IP and data privacy mandates. Carl Chiappa in New York regularly acts for motor vehicle manufacturers and handles motor vehicle franchise cases. Acting alongside Los Angeles-based Colm Moran, Chiappa is representing Kia Motors America in regulatory and litigation matters, and is also defending the client on number of protests filed by terminated dealers. Moreover, the team is acting for Kia in relation to an action involving incentive programs and the designation of a dealer’s area of responsibility. Desmond Hogan and Michelle Kisloff defended Uber, its subsidiaries, and some of its executives, in an MDL involving more than two dozen federal putative class actions stemming from a 2016 data security incident. Michael Kidney, who handles consumer class actions and complex commercial litigation, and Jessica Ellsworth are also recommended, as are senior associates Ryan Ford and James Clayton. Named individuals are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.

King & Spalding LLP

King & Spalding LLP regularly defends auto-industry clients in a range of product liability, regulatory, environmental, safety and personal injury cases. John Hooper in New York represented Toyota Motor Sales and Toyota Motor Company in several cases, including a class action concerning the Takata airbag recall, which implicated several automobile manufacturers. Alexander Calfo in Los Angeles, Geoffrey Drake and Susan Clare (the last of whom co-chairs the automotive and transportation litigation team) are representing Ford Motor Company in hundreds of cases pending in California state and federal courts alleging breach of warranty. Elsewhere, Randall Bassett defends UPS Freight in its high-exposure cases arising out of tractor trailer and package car delivery accidents. Philip Holladay, who heads the automotive litigation team; Stephen Devereaux, who focuses on consumer class actions; Livia KiserEric Gladbach and Jacqueline Seidel in New York; and Michael Shortnacy in Los Angeles are also recommended. Named individuals are based in Atlanta unless otherwise stated.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown represents railroad-sector clients in a range of litigation, and is best known for its appellate work, which has impacted the law governing railroad tort liability. A key client for the team is CSX Transportation. In a recent highlight, Evan Tager defended CSX in a case that determined that railroads have no duty to provide crews with automatic external defibrillators and other equipment for responding to medical emergencies. Senior counsel Adrian Steel is representing BNSF in a dispute with Union Pacific Railroad Corporation regarding the allocation of certain costs related to over 30 trackage rights agreements between the parties. Pre-emption expert Andrew Tauber represented North Coast Railroad Authority in the US Supreme Court’s review of the California Supreme Court decision holding that the ICCTA does not pre-empt state environmental permitting laws when they are applied to a publicly owned railroad. In the road sector, the team handles regulatory matters involving motor vehicle safety and consumer product safety. Michael Kimberly and counsel Carl Summers are also key figures. Named lawyers are based in Washington DC. Peter Denton joined Steptoe & Johnson LLP in 2018.

Baker & Hostetler LLP

Baker & Hostetler LLP is instructed by a range of motor vehicle, motorcycle and ATV manufacturers, and franchisors. David Jarrett heads the distribution and franchise team, while Billy Donley and Keith Russell are experienced in motor vehicle franchise litigation. Also recommended is Columbus-based Elizabeth McNellie, who represents Ford Motor Company in consumer warranty cases. Lawyers are located in the firm’s Houston office unless otherwise stated.

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP’s automotive practice represents motor vehicle manufacturers and distributors on dealer and franchise disputes. Indeed, clients note in particular the team's ‘expertise in automotive dealer and distribution law’. Mark Clouatre in Denver represented PACCAR in a dealership application dispute, and regularly acts for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in disputes with dealerships and consumers. Columbia-based Keith Hutto, who handles franchise and distribution cases, is defending Nissan on a number of franchise and dealership cases. Other names to note include Andy Bertron in Tallahassee and Richard Otera in Los Angeles. Hutto and Steven McKelvey, who is also based in Columbia, jointly head the team.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Steptoe & Johnson LLP represents rail carriers in complex commercial disputes and in pre-emption matters before the STB, federal and state courts, and arbitration panels. Alice Loughran is representing Union Pacific Railroad in several cases, including a putative class action case brought by residents regarding the June 2008 flooding of the Cedar River. Also recommended are transportation practice chair Linda Stein, Samuel SipeBetty Jo Christian, and Peter Denton, who joined in 2018 from Mayer Brown. Named lawyers are based in Washington DC.

Thompson Hine LLP

Thompson Hine LLP represents shippers, rail industry associations and leasing companies in contentious matters, and it is noted for its experience before the STB. Jeffrey Moreno represents General Motors in claims against rail and trucking providers involving service issues and cargo loss and damage, and team head Karyn Booth is defending Costco in litigation involving a claim for freight payment. Sandra Brown, senior counsel Nicholas DiMichael, counsel David Benz and associate Jason Tutrone are also key contacts. Named individuals are based in Washington DC