Betts Patterson Mines

Transportation Law

Betts Patterson Mines’ transportation industry practice area is focused on the unique business and legal issues arising in the dynamic transportation and trade industries.  BPM’s transportation attorneys resolve transportation business and litigation problems in domestic and foreign commerce, offering a wide range of legal services to both transportation providers and business consumers of transportation and logistics services.

BPM’s transportation industry attorneys are also well versed in both federal and state statutes and regulations, and have routinely dealt with issues involving government agencies such as the state Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. 

BPM’s transportation industry attorneys have handled with success various transportation industry based issues, including:

  • Litigation of personal injury claims involving catastrophic injury and death
  • Premises liability, including disputes as to the scope of the company’s duties and to whom those duties are owed
  • Employment litigation, including disputes involving employee/employer and principal/agent relationship issues; drug/alcohol regulation, testing and use; disputes based on alleged employment discrimination and/or wrongful discharge, violations of the ADA and harassment claims; overtime, wage and hour disputes
  • Commercial litigation, including disputes over trademark/trade secret issues, allegations involving tortuous interference with a business relationship, contractual disputes and freight invoice collection issues
  • Corporate transactions, including disputes and negotiations relating to financing, securities and bankruptcy matters
  • Litigation of personal injury claims arising under the Jones Act and the Longshoreman Act, the Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and the Federal Employers Liability Act
  • Defense of mass tort, toxic tort and product failure claims
  • Property damage claims, including disputes involving damaged or delayed cargo, the collection of overdue freight charges, freight loss and damages claims, maritime subrogation, and maritime salvage and liens
  • Real estate matters including disputes and negotiations involving purchase and sale agreements, environmental concerns and eminent domain litigation
  • Insurance coverage, including the litigation of disputes over the scope of insurance coverage, the application of insurance policies and the interpretation of the insurance policies to particular situations

24-Hour Emergency Accident Response Team

Betts Patterson Mines’ 24-hour Emergency Accident Response Team is an example of our commitment to the transportation industry.  Accidents happen at any time in every aspect of the transportation industry, and the attorneys at BPM are prepared to assist in keeping unfortunate situations under control.  The most critical evidence and information is recovered and learned immediately following an accident.  BPM has created an emergency response team which is comprised of legal counsel, expert consultants and investigators who are available 24 hours a day to respond to any transportation emergency.  Once we arrive on the scene our team will coordinate all appropriate activities and investigation which will ensure that the protections of the attorney work product doctrine and the attorney-client privilege attach immediately.  Our team is capable and prepared to address the following:

  • Interviewing the driver(s) involved
  • Control the site and the scene of the accident
  • Capture and secure evidence, including taking pictures, measurements and gathering witness names, statements and conducting necessary interviews
  • Facilitate appropriate drug and alcohol testing of the driver
  • Work with local law enforcement
  • Manage and address the media according to the company’s policy, if requested

Representative Cases

  • Defense of personal injury case where plaintiff claimed he needed a disc replacement surgery.  Plaintiff was driver of passenger vehicle; bus driver collided with plaintiff's vehicle.  Plaintiff was involved in another minor motor vehicle accident subsequently.  Plaintiff claimed serious personal injury.  Defense counsel persuaded jury that plaintiff sustained a minor soft tissue injury and commensurate damages were awarded.
  • Defense of bus company in personal injury case where plaintiff claimed that two lumbar fusions and implantation of spinal cord stimulator were due to accident involving bus, notwithstanding two subsequent motor vehicle accidents.  Case settled for less than medical bills claimed.
  • Defended a Canadian wood  product manufacturer in a transportation law matter. The case involved a longshoreman who was injured at the Port of Tacoma when an ocean shipping container, in tow behind the power unit he was operating, overturned.  The Shipper had loaded the container with bundles of stacked lumber planks.  The longshoreman sued the Shipper claiming that the container overturned because its cargo had not been properly stowed.  His attorneys asked the jury for an award of over $1.3 million in special and general damages.  The jury found that the Shipper had committed no negligent act in loading the container. On that basis, the longshoreman’s claim was dismissed pursuant to a defense verdict.
  • Defended a company in a personal injury claim.  The plaintiff sued our clients, a valet driver and his employer, for personal injury damages, including damages for his alleged injury and lost wages, which were allegedly caused as a result of being struck while crossing in the middle of First Avenue, at night, while not in a crosswalk.   As a result of a detailed investigation relating to plaintiff’s alleged lost wages and extensive discovery efforts regarding plaintiff’s alleged physical injuries, we were able to settle plaintiff’s nearly $500,000 claim for $20,000.
  • Defended a bus company in a transportation law matter.  The Personal Representative of the Decedent, the estranged husband, filed a wrongful death claim against our clients, a bus company and the driver, on the basis that the decedent was struck and killed while allegedly crossing an unlit crosswalk at night and in the rain.  We successfully mitigated the Personal Representative’s (e.g., the estranged husband’s) 10 million dollar claim through mediation by arguing, with merit, that the defunct marriage doctrine significantly weakened the Personal Representative’s status as a statutory beneficiary.
  • Represented the owner/operator of a tractor trailer that collided with a car, killing the driver.  The negligence claim was based on the allegation the truck was exceeding the speed limit and sped up as it approached the intersection.  By arguing the decedent never looked to her left and thus, the speed of the approaching truck was immaterial and irrelevant, the court granted summary judgment dismissing the truck driver and owner.