Holland & Knight's Transportation Law Practice includes a team of attorneys who concentrate their practice on the legal issues facing motor carriers and logistics suppliers. Our team's passion for excellence, in-depth substantive technical knowledge and extensive experience can help you successfully address even your most complex legal problems.
Tailored Services for Trucking and Logistics Companies
Our Motor Carriers and Logistics Team regularly represents major trucking, package and express delivery carriers; leading non-asset based North American third party logistics providers; and publicly traded trucking and logistics providers in all aspects of their operations, including:
Addressing Your Operational Needs
Our team provides daily advice to clients on operational issues and other matters related to the trucking and intermodal transportation business. We can assist you in drafting, negotiating and terminating owner-operator agreements, agency agreements, warehousing agreements, transportation brokerage agreements and other contracts. In addition, we can advise you on limitation of liability, bills of lading, shipper-carrier contracts, shipper-broker contracts, common and contract carriage, cross-border issues arising from transportation to or from Mexico and Canada, equipment acquisition, leasing, maintenance and repair, as well as interchange issues arising under the Uniform Intermodal and Facilities Access Agreement (UIIA).
Members of our team have a thorough knowledge of the initiatives and rulemakings of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and we can provide you with advice on related regulatory issues. We can also advise you on issues arising from IRS inquiries into employee versus independent contractor status of owner-operators.
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Holland & Knight has a thorough understanding of the NTSB investigation process, including those investigations the NTSB takes on in cooperation with a state to investigate a highway accident.
Navigating International Ocean Freight Issues
Our team regularly advises national and international motor carriers, freight forwarders (FFs) and non-vessel operating ocean carriers (NVOCCs) on a variety of intermodal and logistics matters relating to international ocean freight shipments, including commercial and regulatory matters. In this capacity, we can advise you on initiatives and rulemakings by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) related to Ocean Transportation Intermediaries (OTIs).
Resolving Disputes in Your Favor
In today's world, business disputes are an unfortunate yet common challenge facing motor carriers. Our team has extensive experience representing clients engaged in disputes with customers, suppliers and other parties. We will work aggressively to protect your interests so you can return to normal business operations as quickly as possible.
Members of our team have prosecuted and defended a wide range of claims. Following are select examples of recent cases handled by our team:
- Federal Leasing Regulations - We defended a client with respect to the federal leasing regulations and, at trial, obtained decertification of the class and key rulings of importance to the client and the industry.
- Insurance Coverage Disputes - Members of our team have represented clients with respect to large insurance coverage disputes and negotiations pertaining to claims that were made against them by third parties.
- Restrictive Covenants/Trade Secrets/Tortious Interference - We have brought cases on behalf of clients seeking to enforce restrictive covenants, to protect trade secrets and confidential information from disclosure and to pursue claims for tortious interference with contracts.
- Breach of Contract and Tortious Conduct - Our team has successfully defended a nationally recognized motor carrier in litigation filed by former independent agents of the client in state and federal courts in which claims were made based upon alleged breaches of contract and tortious conduct.
- Breach of Duty - We defended a client in federal court in Alabama in a case in which a customer sought compensatory and punitive damages based upon the alleged breach of duty to provide its best efforts in fulfillment of a transportation contract.
- Contract Claims - Members of our team have brought contract claims against customers, and defended counterclaims, in which the interpretation of, and performance under, transportation contracts were at issue.
- Patent Infringement - We have represented clients with respect to patent infringement issues, including claims asserted by various companies claiming to have patented technologies relating to the transportation industry, such as fuel tax calculation methodologies, load dispatch processes, customer call center processes and structures, data structuring and mouse roll-over technologies and a variety of Internet related business methods and technologies.
- Telephone Consumer Protection Act – Our team defended a motor carrier in a putative class action case in which it was alleged that our client violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by virtue of its independent agent’s alleged unsolicited blast fax to the plaintiff. We argued to the plaintiff that our client bore no liability for the fax and to convince the plaintiff to voluntarily dismiss the case prior to a ruling on the pending motions.
- Cargo Loss and Damage Claims - We defended a motor carrier in a cargo loss and damage claim in which the shipper claimed that our client failed to properly secure a load that was declared a total loss following a single-vehicle accident. The shipper and its insurer attacked the section of our client’s tariff limiting liability for cargo loss and damage claims, asserting that such limitations are invalid when the motor carrier is grossly negligent or behaves in a willful and wanton manner. The Court held that the Carmack Amendment provided the sole and exclusive remedy for any loss and preempted any state law claims rooted in allegations of gross negligence or willful and wanton conduct. The Court enforced the limitation of liability provision in the tariff and determined that the motor carrier's liability was $100,000.
- Trucking Accidents – We have defended motor carriers in trucking accident cases in which significant personal injuries and damages have been at issue.