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Jeffrey S. King

Fax +1.617.261.3175
Mr. King’s practice has concentrated in complex commercial litigation and arbitration in a variety of areas, including business disputes, admiralty, transportation, product liability, toxic tort, and environmental matters. His clients include transportation companies, financial institutions, and manufacturers. He represents commercial interests in various disputes, including deal, shareholder, loan, privacy, and contract litigation. His maritime and transportation experience has involved representing clients in personal injury and death defense, cargo damage, equipment damage, charter dispute, insurance, collision, allision, pollution, and USCG regulatory matters, as well as rail service disruption claims and air and motor carrier cargo damage claims. His environmental experience includes representing companies in regulatory and private cost recovery matters under state and federal laws. His product liability experience has included defense of personal injury/wrongful death claims involving various products, including automobiles, industrial machinery and equipment, medical devices, and consumer products, and he has regularly counseled automobile and other manufacturers on product liability, warranty, consumer fraud, and recall matters. He has acted as national counsel for an automobile manufacturer regarding its product liability and product-related regulatory compliance matters. His toxic tort experience has involved the representation of defendants in asbestos, silica, and lead pigment matters. He has been on national coordinating counsel and trial teams defending manufacturers against asbestos exposure claims. Mr. King has tried cases nationwide in various state and federal courts including in Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, California, Missouri, and South Carolina, and has prepared appeals to the United States Supreme Court, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Appeals Court of Massachusetts, and the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.


  • Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America (www.litcounsel.org)
  • Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating - AV® Preeminent™
  • Selected as a “Massachusetts Super Lawyer” by SuperLawyers Magazine in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015

Professional/Civic Activities

  • Maritime Law Association (Proctor Member)
  • Propeller Club, Port of Boston
  • The Wardroom Club of Boston
  • Holds United States Coast Guard Third Mate License (unlimited tonnage, continuity)
  • United States Navy Reserve - Commander (retired)

Speaking Engagements

  • “The El Faro, A Case Study: Lessons Learned,” Connecticut Maritime Association Shipping 2018 Conference, March 13, 2018, Stamford, Connecticut
  • ECA - MARPOL Annex VI - ‘New’ Regulations, Requirements, and Issues” - enforcement of new low sulfur fuel requirements in Emission Control Area, Connecticut Maritime Association Shipping 2015 Conference, March 24, 2015, Stamford, Connecticut
  • Co-chair - Northeast Asbestos Litigators & Judges Forum, HB Litigation Conferences, June 21, 2012, New York, New York
  • Represented owner and operator of the SS EL FARO, a Ro-Ro/Container vessel that sank in 2015 in Hurricane Joaquin in the Caribbean, resulting in a complete loss of the vessel, all cargo, and all 33 persons on board. This included the lead representation in the U.S. Coast Guard’s Marine Board of Investigation (USCG MBI) and co-counsel roles in connection with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation and the civil limitation of liability suit in federal court.
  • Obtained $7.8 million arbitration award on behalf of international container leasing company against a Chinese shipping company for breach of contract (non-payment and non-return of containers). International Centre for Dispute Resolution - ICDR Case No. 50 125 T 00397 12.
  • Obtained defense verdict after 3-week trial for equipment manufacturer in wrongful death action involving asbestos exposure on Navy ships. Tucholski v. Crane Co., et al., Erie County Supreme Court, New York, 800161/2012. Similarly, obtained defense verdict after 2-week trial for same client in wrongful death action involving asbestos exposure on Navy ships and at land-based facilities. Mulcahy v. Crane Co., et al., Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, 08-L-6223.
  • Obtained defense verdict after 4-week trial for forklift manufacturer in wrongful death action involving design defect and punitive damage claims arising out of forklift rollover, resulting in quadriplegia and subsequent death. Ginette Morrissette, Administrator of the Estate of Daniel J. Gagnon v. Teledyne Princeton, Inc., United States District Court (D. Mass.) 02-cv-10553-RCL, affirmed by the First Circuit Court of Appeals (09-1787).
  • Acted as maritime counsel on behalf of the Conflicts Committee of the MPLX Board of Directors in connection with drop-down of inland marine assets to the MPLX LP master limited partnership (MLP), providing due diligence regarding contract terms and asset valuation.
  • Acted as special maritime counsel in connection with sale of domestic steel company to foreign interests. Addressed structuring aspects of the deal to allow the foreign company to continue exclusive use of U.S. flag vessels in the ore trade attendant to the steel company’s business.
  • Represented ADVO in suit by Valassis alleging fraudulent inducement, material adverse change, and breach of merger agreement, in which Valassis had agreed to purchase all of ADVO’s shares for approximately $1.4 billion. Valassis sought to rescind its merger agreement and ADVO counterclaimed seeking specific performance. Approximately 80 depositions taken and voluminous documents produced during 3-month discovery period. Following five days of trial and the close of Valassis’s case, the parties settled for a slightly reduced merger price. Valassis Communications, Inc., et al. v. ADVO, Inc., Delaware Court of Chancery, New Castle County, 2383-N.
  • Represented majority shareholder defendants in appeal of jury verdict in excess of $1.3M where minority shareholder alleged breach of fiduciary duties. Obtained complete reversal at Appeals Court level. Kevin O'Brien v. John H. Pearson, Jr. & others, 851 N.E.2d 1093, 67 Mass. App. Ct. 29 (2006). Upon further appellate review, the Supreme Judicial Court reversed in part, finding violation of fiduciary duty, but vacated jury verdict for further proceedings on issue of damages. 449 Mass. 377 (2007). Matter subsequently resolved.
  • Represented numerous financial institutions in connection with distressed loans and associated work-out, foreclosure, and bankruptcy issues.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of owner of motor yacht in limitation of liability proceeding, defending against claims arising from fire at marina and resulting property damage and environmental (oil spill) claims. In the Matter of the Complaint of Robert L. Stanton, as owner of the Vessel “MISTY LADY” for Exoneration from or Limitation of Liability, United States District Court (D. Mass.) 02-cv-10408-GAO.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of equipment manufacturer in series of cases in Massachusetts on grounds that equipment manufacturer is not liable for after-installed components (gaskets, packing, insulation) that it did not manufacture or sell. Robert Dombrowski v. Alfa Laval, Inc., et al., Middlesex Superior Court, Massachusetts, CA 08-1938 (7/1/10 decision). Outcome affirmed by Massachusetts Appeals Court in subsequent case. Whiting v. Crane Co., 12-P-329 (2/14/13 decision).
  • Defended chemical company in series of matters involving claims by utility company regarding coal tar and related contamination at manufactured gas plants (“MGP”) in Massachusetts where utility operated municipal MGPs and chemical company operated a tar recovery operation. Commonwealth Gas Company v. Witco Corporation, United States District Court (D. Mass.) 97-cv-11880-DPW; Cambridge Electric Light Company, et al. v. Witco Corp., United States District Court (D. Mass.) 99-cv-11451-DPW; Commonwealth Gas Company, et al. v. Witco Corp., United States District Court (D. Mass.) 99-cv-11450-DPW.
  • Represented various motor vehicle and boat manufacturers and related entities in connection with numerous consumer claims, including product and warranty claims, as well as finance and insurance-based claims and class actions.