Cargo & Logistics

Practice Area

Cargo & Logistics

Lewis Brisbois’ Cargo & Logistics Practice represents clients operating in every transportation sphere, touching all points of the supply chain across the globe. With deep and extensive experience developed over decades of handling matters within the cargo and logistics arena, our attorneys consistently achieve the business objectives of our clients. Our attorneys routinely serve as national counsel for clients, providing ongoing consultation services and spearheading litigation across the country.

Service to All Aspects of Supply Chain

Working with clients worldwide, the attorneys who comprise our practice provide an array of services to all aspects of the supply chain, from ground transportation – including trucks and trains – to airfreight and ocean carriage. Our attorneys represent entities that are facing intrastate, interstate, and international cargo-related issues, such as shippers, brokers (3PL), motor carriers, freight forwarders, marine and energy companies, intermediaries, NVOCCs, warehousers, ocean vessels, and consignees/consignors. We work with clients that maintain in-house fleets, outsourced/third-party fleets, or both. We also commonly assist clients with a combination of multi-modal issues that arise during transport.

In working with our diverse client base, our practice handles regulatory and transactional matters, as well as litigation in state courts, federal courts, and AAA arbitrations. We regularly advise on a range of issues in matters such as:

  • Transport of various types of commodities, and related litigation (e.g., freight/cargo, household goods, hazardous waste, agriculture, FDA/USDA regulated goods, exempt and non-exempt goods)
  • Warehousing (storage in transit and permanent storage) and self-storage
  • Ocean vessel transit and port matters
  • Contract drafting, review, and negotiations
  • Contract disputes
  • Ongoing consulting services
  • Litigation related to commercial matters, freight collection, freight loss and cargo damage claims, among others
  • Carrier lien disputes
  • Regulatory guidance, including collection of tariffs and transportation charges
  • Transportation-related coverage issues

The attorneys in our Cargo & Logistics Practice also work with our nationwide Transportation, Marine & Energy, Railroad, Aviation, Corporate, and Complex Business & Commercial Litigation Practices when appropriate. This cross-practice collaboration allows our clients to access the broad range of experience and proficiency that our attorneys offer throughout the firm’s nationwide network. Moreover, members of Lewis Brisbois’ Transportation Practice are on call 24/7 with freight carriers, transportation brokers, insurers, and third-party administrators. When called upon, these attorneys manage on-scene accident investigations and “cargo hostage” situations to ensure the preservation of evidence and to maintain attorney-client privilege.

Overview of Applicable Laws and Regulations

Our attorneys are adept at handling the myriad laws and regulations affecting the cargo and logistics space, such as:

  • International Transportation Law
    • Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA)
      • 46 U.S.C. § 30702
    • Montreal Convention/Warsaw Convention
  • Interstate Transportation Law
    • Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act (ICCTA)
      • Carmack Amendment, 49 U.S.C. § 14706
    • Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA)
      • 49 U.S.C. § 14501(c)(1)
    • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
  • Federal Food and Drug Transportation Law
  • Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)
    • 21 U.S.C. § 2201
    • 21 C.F.R. §§ 1.900, et seq. 
  • Federal Chemical, Natural Resource, and Waste Transportation Law
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCPA)
    • 42 U.S.C. §§ 6901, et seq. 
    • 40 C.F.R. parts 239 through 282
  • Hazardous Materials Transportation Act
    • 49 U.S.C. §§ 5101, et seq. 
  • Intrastate Transportation Law
    • State contract and/or tort remedies
    • FAAAA where applicable
    • Oversight by state departments of transportation
  • Warehousing and Self-Storage Law
    • Uniform Self-Service Storage Facility Act
    • State laws and regulations
    • Uniform Commercial Code, Article 7

Representative Matters 

  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of national transportation brokers dismissing all of the carrier’s claims, based on an argument that any alleged oral or implied contract claims were barred and otherwise preempted under federal law, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 14501 (Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994).
  • Drafted, negotiated, and revised transportation and maritime contracts for Fortune 500 companies.  
  • Successfully defended a carrier against a cargo claim in excess of $700,000.
  • Prevailed in the defense of a national warehouse operator against claims for breach of contract and conversion.
  • Successfully represented 3PL logistics companies in FLSA collective actions involving allegations of misclassification. 
  • Prevailed on motions to dismiss on behalf of nationwide household goods movers, based on an argument that the Carmack Amendment preempted all state law claims. 
  • Prevailed in arbitration, including securing an award of contractual attorneys’ fees, against an escort and pilot car company for breach of contract and negligence in a matter involving damage to oversized cargo hauled by the client in interstate commerce.
  • Secured a directed verdict at trial in defense of claims by a shipper for damage and loss to household goods in an interstate shipment.
  • Represented large 3PL logistics brokers in employment disputes for prior employees’ violation of anti-solicitation employment agreements.
  • Represented one of the largest national transportation brokers in an action against a former agent to recover more than $1 million owed under the parties’ agreement.
  • Successfully resolved claims against freight forwarders in a matter involving allegations that shipments were sent to the wrong country.
  • Obtained summary judgment on claims for conversion, breach of contract, and gross negligence against a warehouseman.
  • Obtained the dismissal of improper state law claims against a purported carrier based on Carmack Amendment preemption.
  • Successfully defended carriers in household goods moving cases.

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