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REPRESENTATIVE EXPERIENCE

Maritime

Represented the owner/operator of the SS EL FARO, a U.S. flag 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. Provided counsel in the U.S. Coast Guard’s Marine Board of Investigation (USCG MBI), the parallel National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation, and the civil limitation of liability proceeding in federal court. 

Advise Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), the third largest cruise line in the world, with respect to the U.S. regulation of its fleet and its U.S. flag operations, along with general compliance on a wide variety of laws, including those administered by the U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Maritime Commission, Maritime Administration, Customs and Border Protection, Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of State, and the Department of Treasury.

Serve as counsel to the American Maritime Partnership (AMP), a broad coalition representing virtually every element of the U.S. domestic maritime industry. Over the past 20 years, the firm has led numerous successful efforts to defend against attempts to amend the cabotage laws of the United States, as well as enact legislative and administrative measures to strengthen the enforcement of those laws.

Represented Gener8 Maritime Inc. in nearly $500M of second-hand vessel tanker sales prior to their acquisition by Euronav. Transactions involved review, negotiation and/or drafting of Memoranda of Agreements; closing documents; mortgage release documents; outgoing and incoming vessel registries; pre-closing and closing meetings; and post-closing logistics.

Represented an entertainment and edutainment company that owned/operated an amphibious duck boat that sank on Table Rock Lake in Missouri in 2018, resulting in injuries and 17 deaths, in connection with investigations by the United States Coast Guard and the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) and a civil limitation of liability proceeding in federal court. 

Advised Vigor Industrial LLC, an Oregon-based company in the maritime industry, engaged in shipbuilding and repair and complex fabrication, in its sale to private equity firms The Carlyle Group and Stellex Capital Management. The transaction was part of a combined purchase of both Vigor and Marine Hydraulics International, LLC, a Virginia-based major marine repair and conversion contractor. The transaction involved several key issues that added to the complexity of the negotiations, including issues relating to CFIUS, Jones Act, Hart Scott Rodino (antitrust), pensions, unions, and government contracting.

Advised the Port of Seattle on the formation of The Northwest Seaport Alliance, a joint Port Development Authority (the first of its kind) with the Port of Tacoma, resulting in the third largest cargo gateway in the U.S. Our team advised on the structuring of the “joint venture” between two public port authorities, including research, tax advice, legislative assistance, open meetings assistance, public finance advice, drafting, negotiating terms, employment terms, integration advice, and regulatory issues for Federal Maritime Commission.

Represented U.S. flag bulk transport company in connection with allegations that its tug/barge dragged its anchor damaging pipelines and cables in the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan. Provided representation in connection with the United States Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board investigations, regulatory issues, and civil litigation.

Represent Matson Navigation Company, a publicly-traded company and one of the largest domestic U.S. shipping companies, on new build contracts, environmental compliance matters, and vessel acquisition and financing contracts.

Represented American Seafoods Company, one of the largest seafood companies in North America and one of the largest harvesters of fish in the world, on a variety of maritime issues related to the construction of its fleet of catcher/processor vessels and subsequent federal legislation, including the American Fisheries Act and related federal regulations.

Representing a large international container leasing company in a container lease dispute with one of its customers, involving 10,000 leased containers, failure to pay as required under the contract, and failure to return the containers, in arbitration against the Chinese lessees in AAA-ICDR (American Arbitration Association - International Center for Dispute Resolution) seeking damages and return of the containers.

Represented the buyer of a tanker in a New York bankruptcy case which purchased the vessel as the named buyer pursuant to a stalking horse credit bid of the secured lender, National Bank of Greece. Handled Memoranda of Agreement drafting and closing documents, with focus on the bankruptcy issues to ensure client was protected, buying the vessel free and clear of all encumbrances.

Represented a Detroit-based salt purchaser in an arbitration before the Society of Maritime Arbitrators, regarding a dispute that arose over a rock salt sales contract with a Swiss-based company. Obtained an award of $618,000, defeated a counterclaim of nearly $2M, and assisted our client in its collection efforts, which resulted in the full amount being paid.

Defended a final rule setting Great Lakes pilotage rates for the 2016 season from a challenge under the Administrative Procedure Act by shipping companies that pay the rates.

Represented a world leader in the transportation of dry cargo in extensive negotiations with the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), which alleged that our client violated the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulations, resulting in successful settlement.

Serve as outside counsel to Transportation Institute, one of the most influential organizations in the American maritime industry. We assist in projects in substantive areas, ranging from international trade to defense to industry promotion.

Represented a full-service commodities network in an arbitration before the Society of Maritime Arbitrators, where a vessel owner sought nearly $200,000 in damages, achieving full dismissal of all claims, plus an award of fees.

Representing recreational boat manufacturer in a personal injury action for an accident that occurred in Lake Mead, Nevada. We secured a favorable court ruling holding that Lake Mead is a federal enclave and therefore supports removal to federal court.

Represented the buyer of a yacht, managing the negotiation of the Memorandum of Agreement; closing documents; handling of closing meeting; interactions with vessel registries; and the corporate structuring of the Buyer with respect to ownership by a trust.

Represented the owner/operator of a custom catamaran yacht that was involved in a fire at a marina that resulted in a total loss of the yacht, personal injury to crew, property damage to the marina and nearby vessels, as well as environmental and salvage claims.

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