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Transportation Law

Nearly a trillion dollars in freight moves on the State’s highways, rail lines and ports each year and for decades, Foster Swift attorneys have represented clients in nearly every sector of the transportation system – the foundation of most economic activity in Michigan. The profitable movement of freight can be summed up simply. It means having the right things in the right places at the right times. Foster Swift’s transportation industry clients will tell you that it also helps to have lawyers who are actively involved in the transportation industry - lawyers who know them, their businesses and their problems.

Foster Swift lawyers include the past-president of the Transportation Lawyers Association and members of the Maritime Law Association, National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel, Association for Transportation Law, Trucking Insurance Defense Association, Transportation Loss Prevention and Security Association, Conference of Freight Counsel, Defense Research Institute, and Michigan Truck Safety Commission.

Motor Carriers/Trucking

Our clients come in all shapes and sizes. They range from small, family-run operations to large, privately-held and publicly-owned and traded North American transportation concerns. Our clients do business in Michigan, the Midwest and from coast to coast, including logistics providers, trade associations, private fleet operators, and shipper interests.

Motor carrier and trucking businesses benefit from our years of first-hand industry experience, including:

  • Precedent-setting litigation, including accident defense.
  • Freight claim disputes, employment and personnel leasing issues, liability-negligence actions and insurance coverage issues.
  • Safety audits and complaint proceedings with the United States Department of Transportation, Federal Aeronautics Administration, and Public Service Commission.
  • Challenges to state and local governmental regulations of interstate commerce.
  • Actions claiming violations of local and state highway regulations, including truck weight issues.
  • Regulatory applications for the Federal Highway Administration and Michigan Public Service Commission.
  • Legislative analysis, assistance and testimony.
  • Tax-fee disputes against governmental units.
  • The firm’s transportation lawyers were front-and-center in a landmark court case for the industry. They successfully challenged the State of Michigan on behalf of a large group of motor carriers who were required to pay excess registration/plate fees. They represented these motor carriers in courts throughout the state, winning the case against the state, which was affirmed by the court of appeals.


Maritime law, also known as admiralty law, is a distinct legal practice that governs commerce on navigable and international waterways. These matters can range from marine commerce and navigation to transportation of passengers by sea, to jurisdiction over coastal waters.

With a combined 65 plus years of experience, our maritime attorneys regularly handle cases involving personal injury, property damage, collision, allision, cargo loss, environmental damages, passenger injury, Limitation Act matters, salvage claims and immigration issues, including:

  • Personal injury and death claims brought under the Jones Act in commercial merchant vessel cases.
  • Defense of numerous clients in commercial, pleasure craft, ferry boat and cruise line accidents in matters of collisions, allisions, groundings and inboard and outboard slips, trips and falls.
  • Litigating cargo transit losses under the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act as well as both pure and contract marine salvage cases.
  • Defense of NVOCC cargo matters and marina property damage and personal injury claims.
  • Filing for and defending vessel owners and operators in numerous Admiralty Limitation Act proceedings in federal courts.
  • Defending and providing coverage counsel for marine insurance clients in coverage disputes involving Hull, P&I, and Salvage policy terms and conditions.
  • Litigating significant Marine Construction Charter Party contract disputes in federal court.
  • Appointment as legal correspondent for the vast majority of the International Group of Protection and Indemnity Insurance Associations (P&I Clubs). These mutual insurance associations have insured most of the world’s ocean going and Great Lakes fleets for the past 150 years.


For decades, Foster Swift attorneys have represented clients who transport passengers and freight over the rails.  That representation includes:

  • Representation of Class 1 railroad in state and federal courts against a wide variety of personal injury and death claims brought by employees under the FELA
  • Defense of claims arising from crossing accidents
  • Defense against assertions of repetitive stress injury and illness cases
  • Defense of blocked crossing citations

Transportation is an industry where time is money. It makes sense to have a law firm that offers just-in-time solutions, backed by years of practical experience, the latest technology, and reasonable prices.

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Motor Vehicle Accidents and Your Business
Motor Vehicle Accidents and Your Business