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ADMIRALTY AND MARITIME

Thompson Coburn’s admiralty and maritime attorneys have worked in this industry for decades. Our attorneys practice in various related disciplines—including financial transactions, admiralty and maritime litigation and trials, cargo and towing claims, seizures and foreclosures, maritime investigations and hearings, maritime contracts, labor and employment, bankruptcy and restructuring, environmental and tax—providing the depth and diversity needed to handle virtually any matter affecting the shipping industry.

Admiralty Litigation

Thompson Coburn’s admiralty litigation attorneys regularly handle matters including property damage, contract disputes, limitation of liability actions and cargo claims, as well as personal injury and death cases under the Jones Act, the Longshoremen and Harbor Workers Compensation Act and the General Maritime Law. Our admiralty trial lawyers represent maritime operators in collision cases involving other vessels, water structures and government facilities. We have in-depth experience handling government contract matters, in rem foreclosure actions, and contractual disputes involving charter parties.

Environmental

We work with our shipping clients, including oil companies, on a variety of environmental laws and help clients understand and comply with the myriad state and federal environmental laws applicable to vessels and the shipping industry. We advise clients on issues relating to the Oil Pollution Act (OPA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (Clean Water Act). We also assist in the development and implementation of environmental compliance programs to reduce the risk of potentially significant fines, penalties and criminal proceedings.

Finance

We advise financial institutions on ways to minimize risk and protect their investments in the shipping industry. Our attorneys have arranged financing for virtually every type of vessel, from bulk cargo ships, container ships and passenger vessels to barges, drilling rigs, towboats, gaming vessels, ore carriers, offshore service vessels and other marine equipment. We have a wealth of experience in structuring and negotiating direct loans, single-investor and leveraged leases, true leases, mortgages, conditional sales agreements, pledges and multiple-layered debt financings. We routinely represent international clients that often use complex financing structures involving foreign-flagged vessels. Our attorneys also are well-versed in bankruptcy matters, handling workouts, restructuring agreements, forbearance agreements, as well as vessel arrest and foreclosure.

We regularly serve as special maritime counsel in transactions involving large investments in maritime businesses, including investments by venture capital funds. We counsel our clients on regulatory issues relating to these investments, such as qualification under the stringent citizenship requirements of the Jones Act for investments in U.S. domestic trade.

Movement of Hazardous Materials

We counsel clients on HAZMAT compliance issues involving U.S. federal regulations and the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code.

Regulatory Matters

We counsel clients on a wide range of issues affecting the industry, including U.S. citizen owner and operator requirements; Jones Act and coastwise trade; vessel documentation problems; U.S. government promotional programs, such as Cargo Preference and the Maritime Security Program; and U.S. laws associated with the transportation of goods by sea, as regulated by the FMC.

Vessel Operations

Our attorneys advise clients on the safety, environmental and operating laws that govern the shipping industry, both domestically and internationally. We counsel clients on compliance with these domestic maritime regulations and international conventions, including the Maritime Security Act of 1996, which established the Maritime Security Program (MSP); Bowaters Act; International Safety Management Code (ISM); Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS); International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS), implemented in the U.S. under the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA); and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL 73/78).

Admiralty Litigation

  • Represented a client before the U.S. Supreme Court in successfully challenging the Federal Maritime Commission’s jurisdiction over state port authorities.
  • Represented a marine repair facility in jury trial to verdict involving a Jones Act case, brought by a paralyzed worker, arising out of collapse of a crane boom. This trial was in one of the most litigious venues in America.
  • Represented a riverboat casino in trial to judgment in U.S. District Court in a limitation of liability action following a mid-river collision between the casino and a towboat pushing a cement barge. The trial involved multimillion-dollar claims for hull damage, personal injuries and business interruption.
  • Represented towboat company in litigation in Indiana federal court that successfully secured full insurance coverage and outstanding legal fees in coverage dispute.
  • Successfully secured limitation of liability in collision with railroad bridge on the Mississippi River in Eastern District of Missouri.
  • Secured judgment in charterer’s favor in multimillion-dollar arbitration over chartered barges that were allegedly damaged during the time of the charter.

Environmental

  • Represented a domestic shipowner in the acquisition of the shipping business of a Great Lakes-based operator, including the purchase of six bulk carriers. This transaction involved legal issues relating to the discovery and removal of mercury contamination prior to closing.

Finance

  • Represented lessors in lease financing of offshore supply vessels.
  • Represented a U.S. bank in fleet mortgage financing and subsequent sale of debt to third-party financial institution.
  • Represented a U.S. bank providing acquisition financing and associated lines of credit for a family-owned tug and barge business.

Regulatory Matters

  • Led a coalition that successfully lobbied Congress in connection with the reform of Subpart F relating to the taxation of foreign-based company shipping income and represented clients in the enactment of the alternate tonnage tax regime for U.S.-flagged vessels operating in international trade.
  • Represented a foreign shipowner in performing due diligence necessary to evaluate a U.S.-based shipping business for a possible acquisition.

News

Congratulations to our 14 'Lawyers of the Year' for 2018

Cherie Bock, Ruthanne Hammett, Margie Krumholz publish article on vessel documentation

Thompson Coburn earns 11 national top-tier rankings in U.S. News ‘Best Law Firms’ survey

Updated trade compliance materials now available

Thompson Coburn returns to the U.S. Supreme Court on state sovereign immunity

Thompson Coburn earns corporate counsel recommendations five years running in national report

Margie Krumholz elected to American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers

Thompson Coburn earns eight national top-tier rankings in U.S. News ‘Best Law Firms’ survey

Margie Krumholz co-authors chapter on leasing commercial vessels

Cherie Stephens Bock selected for 2014-2015 class of Leadership St. Louis

Federal Maritime Commission decides administrative action over ‘split routing’

Thompson Coburn earns six national top-tier rankings in U.S. News ‘Best Law Firms’ survey

St. Louis Bar Foundation honors Paul Brown for program targeting ‘problem properties’

Kawasaki wins defense verdict in Jet Ski explosion suit

Margie Krumholz named the new chair of Marine Financing Committee

Thompson Coburn again earns national top-tier rankings in U.S. News ‘Best Law Firms’ survey

Jonathan Benner, former Federal Bar ‘Transportation Lawyer of the Year,’ joins Thompson Coburn’s D.C. office

Peter Strassner named St. Louis Environmental Lawyer of the Year

Thompson Coburn Earns First Tier Rankings in U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” Rankings

Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6985

Jonathan's practice is focused on domestic and international maritime and shipping matters, as well as international trade regulation issues that are incidental to the gl...

Jonathan's practice is focused on domestic and international maritime and s...

Jonathan Benner
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6455

Cherie represents financial institutions and borrowers in various secured and unsecured lending transactions.

Cherie represents financial institutions and borrowers in various secured a...

Cherie Bock
Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6906

Eileen is a successful negotiator and strategist who focuses on her clients' goals while keeping an eye on the big picture.

Eileen is a successful negotiator and strategist who focuses on her clients...

Eileen Brown
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6377

Ed serves as a key tax advisor to companies embarking on any type of corporate restructuring, from acquisitions and dispositions to spinoffs and management changes.

Ed serves as a key tax advisor to companies embarking on any type of corpor...

Ed Buchholz
Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6908

Warren focuses on federal regulation of business, both domestic and international, and represents several of the nation's largest transportation and energy interests befo...

Warren focuses on federal regulation of business, both domestic and interna...

Warren Dean, Jr.
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6028

For more than 40 years, Don has counseled clients in connection with mergers and acquisitions as well as corporate and commercial transactions.

For more than 40 years, Don has counseled clients in connection with merger...

Don Dorwart
Associate
Southern Illinois
618 236 3424

Misty represents companies facing litigation in high-risk venues across southern Illinois.

Misty represents companies facing litigation in high-risk venues across sou...

Misty Edwards
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6155

Ruthanne represents parties on both sides of complex commercial transactions, providing responsive advice on a variety of finance and sales matters.

Ruthanne represents parties on both sides of complex commercial transaction...

Ruthanne Hammett
Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6912

Matt practices in the firm's Transportation and International Commerce group, focusing on maritime and trade finance and related United States government guarantee progra...

Matt practices in the firm's Transportation and International Commerce grou...

Matthew Kaiser
Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6913

Margie's practice spans more than 30 years representing borrowers, lenders, lessors, and lessees in structuring, negotiating, and closing financing transactions, includin...

Margie's practice spans more than 30 years representing borrowers, lenders,...

Margie Krumholz
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6070

Rick advises companies and individuals on a variety of federal (domestic and international), state and local tax matters.

Rick advises companies and individuals on a variety of federal (domestic an...

Rick Lawton
Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6976

With 25 years of experience in the transportation industry, Sean helps his clients navigate through and maintain compliance with the complex web of federal regulations af...

With 25 years of experience in the transportation industry, Sean helps his ...

Sean McGowan
Senior Counsel
St. Louis
314 552 6092

Michael's practice includes substantial experience in tort and commercial litigation in state and federal courts.

Michael's practice includes substantial experience in tort and commercial l...

Michael O'Keefe
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6109

Peter is a nationally recognized environmental attorney who helps companies respond to major environmental incidents, navigate regulatory actions, and successfully resolv...

Peter is a nationally recognized environmental attorney who helps companies...

Peter Strassner
Partner
Southern Illinois
618 236 3411

For nearly 20 years, Erick has defended product liability, toxic tort, and railroad injury cases in some of the most difficult jurisdictions in the country.

For nearly 20 years, Erick has defended product liability, toxic tort, and ...

Erick VanDorn