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Transportation
Overview
Clients
Experience

Overview

Sheppard Mullin is a trusted advisor to the transportation industry, leveraging its multi-disciplinary team of attorneys to seamlessly counsel transportation clients on their vital business and legal issues. From handling automobile finance and leasing transactions to representing shipping concerns in maritime insolvencies to advising trucking companies on class actions and sensitive labor and employment issues, Sheppard Mullin’s transportation attorneys have extensive experience across the transportation field.

Our team also includes members who have served in executive-level roles with transportation businesses, as well as in the government, including Special Deputy General Counsel at Amtrak; CEO of an ocean transportation and stevedoring company; and Deputy General Counsel of the Department of Homeland Security, overseeing all attorneys at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Such broad experience further informs the depth of advice our team is able to provide to its transportation clients.

As the transportation industry continues to evolve rapidly, our team keeps clients ahead of the curve by providing counsel efficiently and responsively — with the emphasis on getting results.  

Clients

Sheppard Mullin represents some of the most active and recognizable participants in the transportation industry, including:

  • Airbus Helicopters SAS
  • Alstom
  • Brussels Airlines
  • DHL Express
  • Jaguar Land Rover North America
  • Hyundai
  • Korean Air
  • Knight-Swift Transportation
  • Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)
  • National Carriers
  • Ontario International Airport Authority
  • PepsiCo
  • Roehl Transport
  • Triton International
  • Toyota Motor Sales, USA

Experience

Automotive
  • Represented Diamond Electric in international price-fixing investigation in the automotive sector.
  • Obtained a complete defense verdict for Hyundai Information Services North America in a jury trial, defeating plaintiff's claims for overtime, meal periods, rest periods, and attorney's fees.
  • Obtained a complete defense verdict for Hyundai Motor America in a jury trial, defeating two plaintiffs' claims for sexual harassment, gender discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, and more.
  • Represented Jaguar Land Rover and its mobility services business, InMotion Ventures, in its $25 million investment in Lyft, Inc.
  • Represented Jaguar Land Rover and its mobility services business, InMotion Ventures, in its seed investment in SPLT.
  • Represented Toyota Motor Sales in connection with various IP licensing agreements.
  • Represented Wheel Group Holdings, LLC in its sale of Preferred Units to SEP V TWG Holdings.
Aviation
  • Represented the City of Ontario in its successful effort to regain local control of the Ontario International Airport. The airport had been operated by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) starting in 1967. The City of Ontario decided to seek a change of control to a local Joint Powers Authority, the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA), and retained Sheppard Mullin to pursue litigation to achieve that objective. A lawsuit was filed against LAWA in 2013 and the matter was successfully resolved in 2015. The OIAA has been operating the airport since 2016. Sheppard Mullin attorneys successfully litigated the dispute with LAWA, and assisted the City of Ontario and the OIAA concerning the transition back to local control.
  • Provided EU aviation regulatory advice to Atlas Air, Ethiopian Airlines, Gulfstream, Korean Air, Sabena, and United Airlines.
  • Provided EU Member States law advice to Korean Air, Sabena, and United Airlines.
  • Provided EU State aid advice to Airbus (R&D aid for new helicopter), Brussels Airlines (airport), Cyprus Airways (rescue and restructuring aid), and Olympic Airways (rescue and restructuring; privatization measures).
  • Successfully defended of Korean Air in EU air cargo cartel investigation.
  • Represented Sikorsky as FCC and government contracts counsel on numerous FCC and spectrum related issues.
  • Represented SkyTeam and Star Alliance in EU investigations into worldwide alliances.
Maritime

REPRESENTATIVE TRANSACTIONS

  • Counsel to the official committees of unsecured creditors in the maritime bankruptcy cases of:
    • Toisa Limited (ocean shipping/offshore oil) (New York)
    • TMT Shipping (Houston)
    • B+H Ocean Carriers (New York)
    • U.S. Shipping (New York)
    • Derecktor Shipyards (Connecticut)
    • Hawaii Superferry (Delaware)
    • Bender Shipbuilding (Alabama)
  • Advised a U.S.-based investment entity in connection with its purchase of a Vanuatu-flag vessel, release of an Egyptian bank’s mortgage, transfer to Mexican registry, and finance lease to a Mexican operator. Drafted all pertinent sale and financing documents in co-operation with Mexican attorneys.
  • Drafted lease terms and conditions for Chinese-controlled marine equipment leasing company.
  • Prepared standard transportation terms for a manufacturer in connection with a logistics contract it made with a logistics provider.
  • Advised an international lender in connection with its purchase and lease-back of ocean cargo containers to a Korean steamship line.
  • For a major ocean cargo container leasing company, established a purchasing program with several Chinese suppliers/manufacturers that allows the client flexibility in ordering as to price, timing and type of equipment.
  • For the same leasing company, drafted leasing terms and condition, lessee guaranties, letters of credit, and other documents.
  • Negotiated, drafted and monitored vessel construction contracts for different clients, including financing (both pre- and post-launch), and related documentation.
  • Negotiated and drafted charter parties (both time and bareboat) for several clients for numerous vessels.
  • For a non-U.S. client that acquired an American company, arranged sale and charter back (on a time-charter basis) of vessels the client could not legally own under U.S. law, working closely with U.S. regulatory authorities.
  • Advised an international construction products manufacturer regarding its affreightment contract relating to bulk carriers operated by a Canadian concern.
  • Advised a European steamship line regarding its terminal services agreements on the U.S. and Canadian Pacific Coast.

SIGNIFICANT APPELLATE DECISIONS

  • APL Co. v. UK Aerosols Ltd., 582 F.3d 947 (9th Cir. 2009) (ocean carrier entitled to indemnity and attorneys' fees from cargo interests for hazardous cargo clean-up).
  • Triton Container Int'l Ltd. v. Di Gregorio Navegacao Ltda., 440 F.3d 1137 (9th Cir. 2006)(equipment lessor who obtained judgment against lessee and guarantors entitled to injunction preventing them from proceeding with case in Brazil on same issues).
  • Galehead, Inc. v. M/V ANGLIA, 183 F.3d 1242 (11th Cir. 1999)(price between charterer and fuel supplier determines value of maritime lien; fact that supplier purchased fuel at lower price from company who physically delivered fuel to ship irrelevant).
  • Oil Shipping (Bunkering) B.V. v. Sonmez Denizcilik ve Ticaret A.S., 10 F.3d 176, (3d Cir. 1993) (supplier who unwittingly delivered fuel to ship under arrest not entitled to maritime lien or custodia legis claim).
  • Nedlloyd Lines v. Superior Court, 3 Cal. 4th 459 (1992) (Hong Kong choice-of-law clause in shareholders' agreement applies to all causes of action arising out of agreement).
  • Seawinds Ltd. v. Nedlloyd Lines, 846 F.2d 586 (9th Cir. 1988) (Shipping Act of 1984 requires that antitrust claims be brought before Federal Maritime Commission, not in U.S. District Court).
  • Walsh v. Placido Shipping Corp. (In re Pacific Caribbean Shipping (U.S.A.), Inc.), 789 F.2d 1406 (9th Cir. 1986) (shipowner's charter-party lien on subfreights need not be recorded under UCC Article 9).
  • Morgan v. Bender Shipbuilding and Repair Co. (In re Morgan), 28 Bankr. 3 (Bankr. App. 9th Cir. 1983) (shipyard's arbitration clause enforceable against vessel owner in bankruptcy).
Trucking and Logistics
  • Represent DHL Express in connection with its leasing, development, and financing of various on-airport distribution facilities across the U.S. including those located at: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Chicago O’Hare International Airport, March Air Reserve Base (Riverside, CA), San Francisco International Airport, and more than thirty other on-airport locations.
  • Regularly represent DHL Express and its affiliates in connection with their corporate leasing transactions throughout the U.S., including retail facilities, office locations, and distribution facilities of all sizes, including a number of on-airport properties.
  • Represented DHL Express and its affiliates in several  large bankruptcy cases in which it is a creditor and have addressed its right to liens and to payments under first day orders. Cases have included General Motors, Delphi, Eastman Kodak,  Sun Edison, Takata and others. 
  • Represented DHL Express and FedEx in complex EU and competition law cases before the EU courts.
  • Represented Fulcrum Capital in the acquisition financing of Total Transportation Services, Inc. and Seattle Freight Services, Inc.
  • Represented Roehl Transport in various cases involving allegations of discrimination and retaliation.
  • Represented Roehl Transport in various cases involving non-competition and theft of trades secrets.
  • Defeated class certification for Swift Transportation in several wage and hour putative class actions.
  • Represented Swift Transportation in various cases involving allegations of discrimination and retaliation, non-competition and trade secrets, and wage and hour class action matters.