Representative Cases

  1. In re American River Transportation Company, 800 F. 3d 428 (8th Cir. 2015). In a case of first impression before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, we established the maritime legal right of a vessel owner to petition for limitation of liability against claims brought by the U.S. government. Barges from the tow of our client, American River Transportation Company, a subsidiary of Archer Daniels Midland Company, came into contact with Lock and Dam 25 on the Mississippi River near Winfield, Missouri. The government claims that damages to its lock approach $9 million. Following the appellate court’s ruling in favor of our client on this key legal issue, the case has been remanded to the U.S. District Court for further proceedings.
  2. Mike’s, Inc. v. Illinois Department of Revenue et al.,Case No. 2012-MR-143 (Madison County, IL Circuit Court 2015). We obtained a judgment on behalf of Mike’s, Inc., our client, against the Illinois Department of Revenue requiring the Department to refund to Mike’s more than $142,000 in taxes, penalties and interest that had been imposed improperly on Mike’s marine equipment located in Wood River, Illinois.
  3. In the Matter of the Complaint of Brennan Marine, Inc., for Exoneration from, or Limitation of, Liability (2015 WL 4992321, U.S.D.C. D. Mn). In a Limitation of Liability proceeding brought by Brennan Marine, our client, after the sinking of its tugboat and drowning of a crew member, the court granted Brennan’s motion to dismiss with prejudice claims for punitive and other non-pecuniary damages under the Jones Act and General Maritime Law.
  4. Forest Phillips v. Hunter Marine Transport, et al., 2012 WL 4471646 (S.D. Ill. 2012). In a case of first impression, a jury awarded our client, Hunter Marine Transport, compensatory and punitive damages against a Jones Act seaman who had pursued a fraudulent injury claim. Phillips, a deckhand, reported arm and neck injuries. After paying maintenance, cure and supplemental wages for a period of approximately six months, Hunter Marine, his employer, discovered evidence Phillips had lied about being injured at work. Hunter Marine terminated his benefits and employment and Phillips sued. We advised Hunter Marine to counterclaim to recover the injury payments it had made and for punitive damages for fraud. Following a jury trial, the federal court in Illinois entered judgment against the deckhand and in favor of Hunter Marine for more than $100,000.
  5. Sammy Hull v. Upper River Services, LLC., 2012 WL 2862218 (Mn. Dist. Ct.). A 39-year-old deckhand's left leg was crushed against a dock wall, resulting in a below-the-knee amputation. After a 7-day trial in Ramsey County, Minnesota, the deckhand's attorney asked the jury to award more than $5 million dollars in damages. We convinced the jury that the deckhand was 85% responsible for causing his own injury. After reducing the damages for the deckhand's own comparative fault, the net jury verdict was $187,734.60, a small fraction of the more than $5 million that the deckhand had sought.
  6. In re the Matter of the Complaints of the American Milling Company, 409 F.3d 1005 (8th Cir. 2005) (tow of barges struck the Eads Bridge, broke apart and collided with a moored casino; towboat owner, our client, faced more than one hundred injury claims and multimillion dollar property damage and business interruption claims, but was allowed to limit its liability to the value of the towboat; we also proved that the stationary casino boat was contributorily negligent)
  7. In re Missouri Barge Line, Inc., 360 F.3d 885 (8th Cir. 2004) (towboat pushing loaded barges collided with a new multimillion dollar gambling vessel; towboat owner, our client, faced substantial claims for personal injury, property damage, and business interruption, but was permitted to limit its liability to the value of its towboat)
  8. Sander, et al. v. Alexander Richardson Investments d/b/a Yacht Club of St. Louis, 334 F.3d 712 (8th Cir. 2003) (in a case of first impression, the 8th Circuit, upheld marina's exculpatory clause against negligence claims arising from fire losses)
  9. American Commercial Barge v. Alter Barge Line, Inc., No. 01-933 (U.S.D.C. E.D. La. 2002) (successfully defended barge line against claim of embarrassment to navigation)
  10. Hager Hinge Manufacturing v. Home Insurance, et al., No. CV-99-N-1663 (U.S.D.C. N.D. Ala. 2001), reported in Mealey's Litigation Report: Insurance, December 18, 2001 (obtained summary judgment for insurance company, on environmental claim, based upon pollution exclusion and late notice defenses)
  11. Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel Corp. v. Beelman River Terminals, Inc., 254 F.3d 706 (8th Cir. 2001) (successfully appealed trial court judgment, on claim against warehouse company for flood damage to cargo of steel, thereby enabling client to achieve favorable settlement)
  12. Eagle Marine Transport Co. v. A Cargo of Hardwood Chips, No. 98-1919 (U.S.D.C. E.D. La. 7/8/98)(upheld seizure by Eagle, our client, of 42,179 tons of woodchips that had been conditionally discharged from barges onto land, based upon a maritime lien claim supported by contract terms we had drafted; denied Marubeni's motion to vacate)