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Railroad

Thompson & Knight has long represented companies involved in the rail transportation and railroad heavy equipment industries. We have the business skill and industry knowledge to help these clients purchase and sell assets; finance facilities and infrastructure; resolve disputes over property damage, personal injury, and product liability; defend trademarks and other intellectual property; comply with environmental regulations; respond to accidents and emergencies; assist with the management of labor relations; and handle state law disputes that are preempted by federal law.

Overview

Thompson & Knight has long represented companies involved in the rail transportation and railroad heavy equipment industries. We have the business skill and industry knowledge to help these clients purchase and sell assets; finance facilities and infrastructure; resolve disputes over property damage, personal injury, and product liability; defend trademarks and other intellectual property; comply with environmental regulations; respond to accidents and emergencies; assist with the management of labor relations; and handle state law disputes that are preempted by federal law.

Our extensive experience in oil and gas interstate pipeline operations augments our representation of railroad industry clients, as companies in both industries face similar litigation, environmental and other regulatory, accident response, and corporate issues.

We advise clients on the rules and regulations of the Surface Transportation Board and are well-versed in the Federal Employer’s Liability Act and Federal Railway Administration regulations regarding workplace safety. Our attorneys have done considerable work for clients regarding OSHA/MSHA regulations, including a comparative analysis of how these standards interact with federal and state regulations. We also assist industry clients with regulations regarding the handling and transporting of hazardous materials, offer experienced on-the-scene emergency help with regulatory notification and response if accidents occur, and handle any disputes resulting from accidents, including toxic tort claims. Our attorneys also help railroad industry clients with real property acquisitions by purchase and condemnation, assisting with the related debt and equity financing, risk management, and compliance issues.

Environmental regulatory compliance is a crucial industry concern; as such, our attorneys routinely assist clients with federal, state, and local environmental regulations as they apply to transportation operations, placing special emphasis on preventive counseling and environmental audits. We help our clients conform to air quality, water quality, solid and hazardous waste disposal, energy recovery, toxic substances, hazardous materials, underground storage, and community right-to-know regulations, and are also familiar with such international environmental standards as ISO 14001.

Experience

  • Handled all of the environmental and real property work for a railroad client who purchased a short line railroad with operations in three states, including the assessment and evaluation of a creosote wood treatment facility owned by the acquired railroad
  • Represented a railroad management company regarding legislation related to private property rights and railroad rights-of-way
  • Successfully represented a short line railroad before the U.S Supreme Court on federal preemption
  • Represent a major railroad in numerous transactions relating to the licensing of patents, copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual property rights
  • Have represented an original equipment manufacturer of railroad car wheels, brakes, and brake shoes in toxic tort and product liability claims for many years
  • Prevailed at trial and on appeal in two multi-plaintiff ERISA actions against a major railroad
  • Represented an issuer in the securitization of railroad license agreements in the amount of $32 million
  • Helped the railroad subsidiary of one of our heavy industry clients regarding environmental issues arising from rail system maintenance and operation
  • Assist rail suppliers with regulatory issues
  • Counseled a principal U.S. railroad company regarding the Railway Labor Act
  • Represented a Class I railroad in a jury trial over damages caused by a derailment