Practice Areas

KMA Zuckert concentrates its global litigation, regulatory, transactional and other counseling practices in the following areas:

 

Administrative Proceedings

With offices in Washington, D.C., the Firm is ideally positioned to provide representation to clients before the agencies of the United States Government. The Firm regularly represent clients in licensing, enforcement, investigative and rulemaking proceedings.

In addition to local and state agencies, the Firm's attorneys appear before numerous federal agencies, including federal boards of contract appeals, U.S. Customs & Border Protection, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Government Accountability Office, the Internal Revenue Service, the Surface Transportation Board and the Transportation Security Administration. The Firm also has considerable experience representing clients before other agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of the Treasury and the Department of State.

Administrative Proceedings

Aerospace Safety

We handle a full range of safety and environmental issues critical to the aviation and space industries, including operators and manufacturers. This includes activities ranging from the licensing of pilot schools and repair stations, to flight crew standards and requirements, airport/aircraft/airline certification, operations specifications, hazards to air navigation, aircraft noise, communications and navigation, airport environmental issues, space launch site licensing, accident investigations, civil penalties, airport security, airspace management, slot allocation, air traffic and flow control, special operating rules, parts and supplier issues, the transportation of hazardous materials, underground storage tanks, deicing fluid disposal, EPA land-use restrictions, international and domestic environmental standards, as well as environmental impact statements and assessments.

Aerospace Safety

Aircraft Transactions

A significant portion of the Firm's aviation practice involves aircraft transactions. The Firm represents airlines, banks, export credit agencies, private individuals, corporate operators, financial institutions and leasing companies in structuring, negotiating and documenting a wide variety of transactions. These have included finance and operating leases, numerous other forms of aircraft financings, aircraft sales agreements, charter and management agreements, and various forms of joint operating agreements.

An additional asset which the Firm brings to the table in any aircraft transaction is an extensive background on aviation regulatory matters. Often, the policies of the U.S. and other governments on particular aviation issues—such as citizenship requirements, route swaps, wet-or dry-leases, slot transferability, noise standards, tax implications or aging aircraft—will have a critical bearing on aircraft transactions. Our familiarity with these regulatory issues strengthens our transactional capabilities:

Finance Leases

The Firm represented an airline in negotiating one of the first multi-national asset-based finance lease transactions involving export credit agencies from two countries. The transaction, which involved the formation of a special purpose French groupement d'interet economique (GIE) to serve as owner-lessor, presented significant cross-border enforcement and taxation issues.

Aircraft Ownership Structures

The Firm has advised clients in connection with various arrangements for the ownership of aircraft, including limited liability entities, aircraft trusts, partnerships and other forms of joint ownership. The Firm has helped clients structure ownership arrangements to allow significant (i.e., up to 25 percent) foreign investment in U.S.-registered aircraft.

Operating Leases

The Firm has represented various lessors and lessees in negotiating and documenting numerous operating lease transactions, ranging from fairly straightforward short-term leases to more complicated joint venture arrangements.

Other Financings

The Firm has advised a investment banks and other financial institutions in the structuring of "collateralized" financing involving landing slots at certain high density airports.

Sale/Leasebacks

The Firm has represented various airlines and financial institutions in sale/leaseback transactions involving hundreds of aircraft. We have successfully arranged for the transfer of aircraft from one national registry to another without disruption to ongoing operations.

Sales Transactions

The Firm has represented various financing parties, Fortune 500 companies, high-net worth individuals and U.S. and foreign air carriers in connection with the purchase and sale of aircraft.

Business Aviation

The Firm has represented various owners and operators in the purchase, sale, financing of business aircraft as well as the operational issues that surround corporate aviation. These engagements often include all aspects of acquisition, ownership and operating structures, engaging professional management and charter companies, tax planning and a wide variety of commercial agreements.

Fractional Ownership

Our attorneys have assisted clients in the purchase and sale of fractional interests in business aircraft from all of the major fractional ownership programs. The assistance we provide to fractional owners of aircraft includes advice regarding management agreements, master lease arrangements, and aircraft exchange provisions.

Aircraft Transactions

Antitrust

The Firm’s antitrust practice includes civil and criminal litigation in the federal courts, preventative counseling, counseling regarding mergers and acquisitions and representation of parties before the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission in connection with investigations and merger reviews.

We provide advice on antitrust issues to a broad range of business interests. This has included joint ventures, mergers (including the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission review process), and other forms of cooperative dealings. We have also instituted antitrust compliance programs for several corporations. The Firm provides ongoing antitrust advice to several trade associations.

Attorneys in our Firm have litigated private antitrust suits, and obtained business review letters from the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice.

We have represented air carriers and other parties in Department of Justice reviews of a number of the most significant proposed airline mergers. We have played a similar role in connection with several of the major railroad mergers, and mergers of household goods movers.

Antitrust

Aviation and Aerospace Litigation

The Firm’s attorneys have responded to the needs of the aviation and aerospace community on the widest range of legal and regulatory issues for over three decades. The Firm has handled virtually every conceivable issue for aviation industry members from major airline and satellite losses, to antitrust and product liability claims, to bodily injury and cargo litigation.

Our extensive knowledge and understanding of the aviation industry—whether from the standpoint of an airline, airport, manufacturer, flight crew, investigator or insurer—allow us to see the whole picture whether we are counseling a client, or formulating a litigation plan to protect our client’s interests. Our team includes attorneys who are civilian pilots, aerospace engineers, ex-military pilots, and former accident investigators. We bring our decades of legal experience together with this practical industry knowledge which enables us to confidently advise our clients and help them obtain favorable and predictable results. Our experience as actual participants in the aviation community helps us not only to understand our client’s problem, but to understand their business.

We have counseled and defended clients in connection with the broadest range of aviation-related matters involving:

  • Air Carrier Operations
  • Regional Airlines
  • General Aviation Aircraft
  • Industrial Aid Aircraft
  • Charter Operations
  • Airports
  • Satellites
  • Spacecraft
  • Gliders
  • Rotary Wing Aircraft
  • Aircraft and Engine Manufacturers
  • Component Part Manufacturers
  • Passenger Loading Bridges
  • Avionics
  • Fixed-Base Operators
  • Flight Schools
  • Agricultural Spraying
  • Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul
  • Hot Air Balloons
  • Flying Clubs
  • Parachute Jump Operators
  • Domestic and International Cargo
  • Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act Counseling
  • Aviation Insurance and Reinsurance
  • Insurance Policy Wordings
  • Additional Insured Implications
  • Foreign Object Debris
  • Bird Ingestion
  • In-flight Fires
  • Subrogation
  • Construction Wrap-up
  • Baggage Claims
  • Disaster Response Planning
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Lessor/Lessee Liability
  • FAA Certificate and Enforcement Actions
  • Negligent Entrustment, Training and Supervision
  • Air Traffic Control
  • Punitive Damages
  • Property Damage
  • Wrongful Death and Bodily Injury
  • Premises Liability
  • Warsaw Convention
  • Frequent Flier Programs
  • Environmental Compliance
  • Product Liability
  • Airworthiness Directive and Service Bulletin Counseling
  • Aircraft Purchase Agreements
  • Warranty Issues
  • Toxic Torts and Pollution
  • Government Contractor Defense
  • Travel Agents and Consolidators
  • Airline Ticketing
  • Ground Service Providers
  • Denied Boarding
  • Air Carrier Access Act
  • Antitrust

Our experience enables us to guide our clients through the investigation process following aviation-related incidents. Our attorneys are skilled in assisting the aviation community at accident sites during the early hours of the crash investigation. We have vast experience representing our clients through the regulatory and investigation process, including interacting with the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency and local authorities. Our attorneys also assist in the development and implementation of Disaster Plans as well as assisting airlines with Family Assistance Plans, both of which are designed to ensure that airline personnel are equipped to respond in the event of an accident.

Our attorneys are experienced in managing multi-jurisdictional mass tort litigation involving hundreds of claims which arise from the same operational facts. Our team utilizes electronic document managing systems which not only organize mass amounts of data, but also help to limit business interruption to our clients and are attractive from a client cost/benefit standpoint.

The Firm’s attorneys have litigated, tried, arbitrated and handled appeals for the aviation industry in all fifty states and in many foreign countries. We have had extensive experience with foreign aviation accidents and the ensuing litigation which often finds its way to United States courts. We have extensive experience with losses occurring in Latin America; and our attorneys are conversant in Spanish and we have a deep network of correspondents in the region to assist us. The Firm has handled cases evolving from Asian, European, and African losses, and is familiar with the issues and international politics involved in these investigations and the litigation spawned by such events. Our offices and attorneys are strategically located in Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C., giving us a presence in the major litigation venues and providing easy geographic access to clients, courts and events as the need arises. We also have developed a loyal and reputable roster of corresponding counsel in virtually every major city in the U.S., and in many foreign countries.

We have considerable experience acting as a risk management adjunct and resource for our clients and their insurers. The Firm’s broad experience provides a valuable basis for recommending case reserves and in distilling and communicating information in a format (e.g., reports or claim bordereaux) that is conducive to quick, efficient, and comprehensible consumption. We often design custom communication protocols to address specific risk and cost management objectives.

The Firm’s broad experience includes acting as national claims counsel for many airlines such as Federal Express and Alitalia Airlines and for many other industry participants.

Aviation and Space

Aviation Regulation and Commercial Matters

The Firm's practice encompasses virtually every aspect of aviation law, in particular advising and counseling on aviation regulatory and commercial matters. We represent domestic and foreign airlines of all sizes and groups of airlines, aviation trade associations, local and state airport authorities, aviation insurers, aircraft and parts manufacturers, private owners, corporate flight departments, charter and cargo carriers, aircraft lessors and mortgagees, as well as financial institutions and other lenders.

Aircraft Airworthiness and Registration

The Firm advises clients on U.S. aircraft registration requirements, including aircraft title and lien issues. Likewise, we provide counsel on airworthiness requirements (both original and continuing), including those involving aircraft import and export rules.

Airports

The Firm provides assistance to airport operators, tenants and users on all aspects of local, state and federal law and regulations. This includes advice on federal obligations, funding issues, privatization, airport contracting and leasing matters, federal regulations, fees and charges, slot control and noise issues. The Firm played a major role in the leading federal court case on the standards for structuring airport landing fees.

We have extensive experience advising airports on a broad range of regulatory issues, including grant applications under the Airport Improvement Program and other federal funding vehicles, the accompanying grant assurances, passenger facility charges, airport emissions and environmental issues, emergency operations and firefighting requirements, rulemaking and agency policy matters, the handling of hazardous materials, passenger arrivals and processing (including Customs and Border Protection and Model Ports matters), airport security and perimeter control, TSA staffing and compliance, incentive programs, facility sale/leasing, signatory and non-signatory issues, master plan facilities planning, marketing and expansion of domestic and international air service, FEMA reimbursement, NEXTGEN implementation, capital planning, federal earmarks, FAA and DHS reauthorization issues, operations requirements and safety, runway incursion matters, cargo arrivals and processing, airport concession contracts, FAA dispute resolution, airport bond and related taxation matters, air navigation hazards, competition plans and analysis, economic planning, and the many other challenges that airports face.

We have advised general airport tenants (car rental agencies, gift shops, restaurants, etc.) as well as aviation tenants (air carriers, fixed base operators, fueling services and corporate aircraft operators). We regularly counsel airport users (both commercial and private) on their rights and obligations in dealing with airport authorities and Federal agencies at airports.

Airspace Obstructions and Air Traffic Management

The FAA requires notice of any construction or alteration of an existing facility that might impede on the theoretical three-dimensional boundaries of an airport. The subsequent review process is critical to local zoning and related decisions. The Firm's attorneys have been involved in a number of these matters, and successfully prosecuted a leading case limiting the authority of the FAA to make a "hazard" determination. We assist clients involved in all aspects of obstruction evaluation, such as FAR Part 77, and other local, state and federal requirements, including preparing and responding to filings with government regulatory agencies, particularly the FAA, Federal Communications Commission, and Department of Defense. Separately, the Firm has extensive experience counseling clients on matters related to access at capacity constrained airports, including FAA slot allocations and air traffic control procedures.

Antitrust & Competition

The Firm has worked closely with airlines and airports to provide advice on compliance with the antitrust laws. For several of our major clients, we have prepared comprehensive antitrust manuals designed to guide airline employees, from frontline employees to senior management, in antitrust matters. We also have represented foreign airlines in proceedings before the U.S. Department of Transportation to secure approval of and antitrust immunity for alliance and joint venture agreements.

Business Aviation

The business aviation community encounters a unique intersection of regulatory, operational and tax considerations. Our lawyers assist clients in developing creative solutions to these issues as well as advising on ownership structures, citizenship concerns, insurance requirements and commercial relationships. These can include engaging an outside management company, charter operations, dry leases, and arrangements for maintenance, storage and refurbishment. Our clients are private individuals, family businesses, charter operators, and Fortune 500 companies who own whole aircraft or hold fractional interests, or use business aviation occasionally.

Corporate Matters

The Firm is experienced in negotiating and documenting commercial transactions for our aviation clients. The Firm's attorneys represent clients in connection with the negotiation and documentation of charter contracts, various forms of joint operating agreements and aircraft financing documents. The Firm also regularly serves as special counsel in matters involving the registration of aircraft and the recordation of security interests in aircraft with the Federal Aviation Administration, and advises clients on compliance with the citizenship requirements of the Federal Aviation Act. We handle a full range of corporate matters, including those related to foreign airlines’ inauguration of services, and continuing operations, to the U.S., including compliance with local requirements in connection with qualification to do business, licensing, and other legal requirements incidental to the startup of service to the United States.

Creditor & Bankruptcy

The Firm advises clients on ways to protect their interests in the event of bankruptcy by aircraft lessees, major suppliers or travel agents. We have represented several airline clients in their bankruptcy proceedings. For example, we represented a major aircraft leasing company in a sale and leaseback transaction that was complicated by the existence of Federal loan guarantees and IRS tax liens. We also have advised clients on the availability of Section 1110 protection for their interests, and have represented creditors in various airline bankruptcy proceedings.

Customs

The Firm's attorneys have experience in handling a variety of aviation-related matters before U.S. Customs & Border Protection. We have represented clients in seizure and forfeiture proceedings and in civil penalty/liquidated damage enforcement matters. We also have assisted airlines in obtaining international air carrier bonds and in participating in voluntary Customs programs, such as the Customs-Trade Participation Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program. The Firm, moreover, counsels aircraft lessors on ways to protect their interests against possible forfeiture proceedings.

Export and Reexport Matters; Embargo and Foreign Asset Control

We advise clients on the scope of permitted exports and aircraft operations to countries that are subject to export and reexport controls as well as the scope of permitted transactions involving countries and entities that may be subject to foreign asset controls. The Firm has significant experience with the U.S. sanctions program against Cuba. We have assisted airline clients in obtaining specific licenses from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in connection with their operations to sanctioned countries (including Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria), and we have defended clients in OFAC enforcement matters. We also assist clients with applications for U.S. Department of Commerce licenses that authorize the exportation of such U.S. commodities as: aircraft and aircraft parts; medicine; medical devices; agricultural commodities; and humanitarian donations.

Government Agencies

The Firm's attorneys regularly appear before a variety of federal administrative agencies having jurisdiction over aviation matters. The Firm handles all forms of licensing matters for U.S. and foreign clients before the Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Treasury, the Department of State and the Department of Commerce. In connection with counsel for other merger parties, the Firm obtained approval for one of the largest mergers in the history of U.S. aviation, and regularly advises clients on matters involving acquisition of control of air carriers. The Firm also handles a variety of aviation compliance and enforcement matters, and we regularly advise clients on ways in which to structure their transactions to satisfy the citizenship and control requirements of the Transportation Code. The Firm also frequently serves as special counsel in matters involving the registration of aircraft and the recordation of security interests in aircraft with the Federal Aviation Administration. We also advise clients on important issues of topical concern, such as FAA policy on wet leases, as well as new entrant access at capacity constrained airports in the U.S., including slot allocations and transfers.

Our in-depth experience also extends to reporting requirements, route selection proceedings, DBE/MBE issues, essential air service questions and applications, alliances and code-share issues, intermodal services, general aviation and business aircraft issues, advertising matters, disability access issues, rates and charges, air service development, civil penalties and enforcement, aircraft sales and leases, surplus and non-surplus property issues, security matters, passenger manifest reporting, rotorcraft issues, loan guarantees, air carrier family assistance plans, international certification issues, and disaster and emergency planning. We also advise clients regarding the modernization, funding, and improvement of the civil aviation infrastructure, including air traffic control, and airport privatization in its many forms.

Immigration

The Firm advises clients regarding compliance with the various requirements of U.S. immigration laws, and represents U.S. and foreign airlines in enforcement matters before U.S. Customs & Border Protection as well as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Firm has successfully handled numerous customs enforcement matters arising under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

International Aviation

We have extensive experience in international aviation matters, including negotiation, application, and interpretation of bilateral air services agreements. We also advise on multilateral agreements – existing and emerging – such as GATS, NAFTA, APEC, MALIAT and the U.S.-E.U. air services agreement. We further advise clients regarding the numerous multilateral aviation treaties that affect their interests, such as the Montreal Conventions, the Convention on International Civil Aviation, the Cape Town Treaty, and the Convention on the International Recognition of Rights in Aircraft. We also advise clients with respect to aviation-related issues arising out of the activities of ICAO, IATA and the European Aviation Safety Agency.

Investigations and Enforcement

In addition to our active litigation practice, we regularly serve as counsel for airlines and other companies charged with violations of aviation related laws and regulations. Our representation in such matters ranges from informal negotiations with regulatory authorities to formal hearings before administrative law judges. Moreover, we advise businesses and individuals involved in investigative proceedings before the Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation, the National Transportation Safety Board and other government agencies responsible for aviation enforcement.

Labor and Employment

We provide advice to aviation-related entities on a broad range of general employment matters, such as immigration and visa issues, employment-at-will, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, disability issues, and the aviation industry-specific requirements for alcohol and drug testing. We also advise airports and other aviation entities regarding compliance with the TSA's requirements for employee background security checks. We have advised a number of companies in labor negotiations, arbitration, and labor-related litigation, and we have considerable experience in the unique aspects of aviation labor matters under the Railway Labor Act.

Litigation

KMA Zuckert is widely recognized for its skill and proven success record strategically litigating for aviation businesses and their insurers, whether in arbitration or at the trial and appellate levels.

Manufacture and Repair

We assist clients with type certification and supplemental type certification for aviation products from the FAA and European Aviation Safety Agency. Our work also includes matters related to repair station certification (both U.S. and foreign), parts manufacturing approval and Technical Standard Orders. We advise parties to business transactions involving repair stations and Parts Manufacturer Approval on compliance with both U.S. and foreign law.

Operations

The Firm provides advice on all aspects of air carrier certification and licensing under DOT's economic regulations (including Part 375 Special Authorizations), and FAR Parts 121 and 135, as well as obtaining operations specifications under FAR Parts 119 and 129. We also counsel clients on activities conducted under other operating rules, particularly non-air carrier operations (FAR 91), parachuting activities, and balloon operations. Moreover, we provide advice on operational considerations arising out of aircraft leasing, time share, and other commercial arrangements. The Firm also has experience in flight school certification matters. We also provide advice on issues such as airport operations requirements, airspace management, slot allocation, air traffic and flow control, airport and airline physical security and threat assessment, communications and navigation, rotorcraft operations, flight crew standards and requirements, and special operating rules.

Security

We represent clients on matters pertaining to Federal Aviation Administration, Transportation Security Administration, and international aviation security issues, counseling airlines, businesses and airports on security plans, and conducting compliance assessments. Our work in this area often includes advising clients on airport and aircraft physical security requirements and threat assessments.

Taxation

We offer our aviation-related clients a full range of tax services. This includes structuring aircraft transactions to minimize federal and state taxation and advice concerning qualification of aircraft transactions as finance leases and related tax indemnification issues. We have also advised a major foreign carrier on U.S. taxation of investment income from surplus U.S. funds, taxation of U.S. based foreign employees of an overseas carrier, and litigation in the U.S. Supreme Court involving state taxation and domestic interstate air carriers.

Trademarks

The Firm represents a number of airlines and other aviation entities in trademark matters. Representation ranges from advising both domestic and foreign companies prior to development and use of a mark, to registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, protection of marks abroad, and trademark litigation.

Aviation

Cargo Litigation

The Firm has represented airlines, freight forwarders, trucking companies, maritime shipping lines and shippers in a broad array of legal matters involving destroyed, damaged, lost and delayed cargo. The Firm has been at the forefront of some of the largest cargo losses in aviation history, both in terms of gross number of claims and dollar value. We have considerable experience with successfully asserting air waybill, bill of lading and other contractual, statutory and treaty-based limitations of liability provisions on behalf of our clients. We have constructed claim handling protocols and procedures in connection with air disasters to efficiently address customer inquiry/reimbursement, while at the same time protecting our clients against consequential and extra contractual exposures. We are conversant with all the international treaties which address cargo/shipping issues, including their legislative and political histories, as well as the judicial gloss given these treaties by courts worldwide.

Cargo

Commercial Litigation and Business Matters

The Firm represents both large and small businesses, as well as individuals, in a wide variety of commercial litigation matters involving contract disputes, intentional business torts, antitrust and unfair competition, non-compete covenants, breach of fiduciary duty, debt collection, misrepresentation and fraud cases. Our attorneys routinely defend and prosecute lawsuits for breach of contract and injunctive relief.

The Firm additionally handles a broad range of corporate and business matters for businesses located in the U.S. and abroad, and serves as corporate counsel for numerous businesses in the Washington metropolitan area. Matters include initial corporate organization (including articles of incorporation, bylaws, shareholder agreements, etc.), corporate joint venture documentation, state registration, licensing, partnerships and limited liability companies, purchase and sale of businesses, franchising, etc. The Firm has particular experience in advising non-U.S. clients on the establishment of operations in the U.S., including federal and state licensing requirements.

Moreover, the Firm represents clients in all phases of contract matters, from pre-negotiation advice to contract formation. This includes prime and subcontractor agreements, joint ventures and teaming arrangements. This area includes work for manufacturers, suppliers, and service companies. It also includes equipment financing, construction and real estate contracts.

Finally, the Firm represents a number of companies in trademark matters, both in the U.S. and abroad. Representation ranges from advising both domestic and foreign companies prior to development and use of a mark, to registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, protection of marks abroad and trademark litigation.

Construction

The Firm's attorneys have experience representing builders, contractors, subcontractors and owners in construction litigation and disputes. We have represented both individuals and entities in construction related business in cases involving contract disputes, personal injuries and premises liability. We provide guidance on indemnity provisions, subcontracts, mechanic's liens and environmental issues. We also have extensive experience with construction “wrap up” programs in conjunction with major construction projects.

Corporate & Business Matters

The firm handles a broad range of corporate and business matters for businesses located in the U.S. and abroad, and serves as corporate counsel for numerous businesses in the Washington metropolitan area. Matters include initial corporate organization (including articles of incorporation, bylaws, shareholder agreements, etc.), corporate joint venture documentation, state registration, licensing, partnerships and limited liability companies, purchase and sale of businesses, franchising, etc. The firm has particular experience in advising non-U.S. clients on the establishment of operations in the U.S., including federal and state licensing requirements.

Moreover, the firm represents clients in all phases of contract matters, from pre-negotiation advice to contract formation, disputes, litigation and arbitration. This includes prime and subcontractor agreements, joint ventures and teaming arrangements, disputes resolution, and commercial arbitration. This area includes work for manufacturers, suppliers, and service companies. It also includes equipment financing, construction and real estate contracts.

We also have considerable experience with commercial litigation, not only centered on private contract disputes, but also litigation involving fraud and U.S. antitrust issues, as well as civil racketeering claims.

Finally, the Firm represents a number of companies in trademark matters, both in the U.S. and abroad. Representation ranges from advising both domestic and foreign companies prior to development and use of a mark, to registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, protection of marks abroad and trademark litigation.

Customs & Trade

The Firm's attorneys have extensive experience in handling customs problems. The Firm advises clients regarding compliance with U.S. customs laws and with the increasing requirements imposed by the Department of Homeland Security. We also represent U.S. and foreign companies in staffing and enforcement matters before U.S. Customs & Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. We have particular experience with (a) CBP Model Port issues, (b) many travel requirements applicable to international business, such as the trusted and registered traveler programs, the Visa Waiver Program, and ESTA, and (c) CBP’s voluntary air carrier programs, such as the air carrier initiative program and Customs-Trade Participation Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program. Our vast experience includes assisting foreign carriers with passenger and cargo arrivals screening and customs international air carrier bonds. In addition, we advise clients on the many legislative initiatives affecting customs and trade matters.

Employment

The Firm provides advice to businesses to prevent or defend against employment-related claims. We have defended companies in wrongful termination; age, race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religious, and disability discrimination; as well as matters involving retaliatory discharge and hostile work environment claims.

The Firm defends clients in state and federal courts as well as before administrative agencies. The Firm has assisted in enforcing employment contracts to protect proprietary and confidential information and trade secrets, and matters involving non-compete clauses.

Export & Foreign Assets Control

The Firm regularly advises clients on export control and foreign asset control matters, including, but not limited to: (i) the scope of permitted exports and aircraft operations to countries that are subject to export and reexport controls; (ii) the scope of permitted transactions involving countries and entities that may be subject to foreign asset controls; (iii) applications for specific licenses from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) authorizing a variety of transactions with or involving sanctioned countries (such as Cuba, Iran, Russia/Ukraine, and Syria); and (iv) applications for U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) licenses that authorize the exportation or re-exportation of such U.S. commodities as aircraft and aircraft parts, medicine; medical devices, agricultural commodities, and humanitarian donations. The Firm has significant experience with the U.S. sanctions against Cuba. For example, the Firm has assisted clients with such matters as preparing license applications and requests for guidance, seeking changes in limitations based upon foreign policy considerations, obtaining various authorizations for U.S. persons to participate in international competitions and events in Cuba, assisting with compliance procedures and manuals, and defending enforcement and civil penalty matters before OFAC and DOC.

Government Contracts

The Government Contracts practice group consists of a team of experienced lawyers representing clients in all manner of government procurement matters. Our work centers on contracting activities of the federal government, but we also have familiarity with state and local government procurement. We pride ourselves on working efficiently and effectively to advance our clients' business objectives regarding the provision of goods and services to government entities.

The members of our Government Contracts practice group have previous experience working, variously, in procurement for federal agencies, in the specialized courts and boards dealing with government contracts cases, in law enforcement agencies, in private industry and in the field of government contracts in private legal practice.

The firm's government contracts practice traces back to the firm's origins in the mid-1960s, when Gene Zuckert (former Secretary of the Air Force) left government service and resumed private practice. The practice now involves all facets of government contracts, and several members of our group devote their time exclusively to government contracts matters.

We provide clients with advice on how to obtain federal and other contracts. We assist in negotiating contract awards. We represent clients in bid protests. We work with clients on contract administration and audit issues. We engage in contract litigation and arbitration. We provide clients with legislative advice and assistance, including contacts with members of Congress and the staffs of pertinent congressional committees and contacts with federal agency officials.

We count among our clients certain very large national and international corporations. We also represent many smaller firms. We work with both prime contractors and subcontractors. Our client list includes manufacturers, suppliers and service contractors. Some are companies engaged exclusively in government contracts work, but others only occasionally perform government contracts.

Our services for clients include keeping them abreast of current developments in government contract law that may affect their business interests. This includes advising clients with respect to important legislative, regulatory and case law developments. We provide all of our clients with timely memoranda discussing significant developments of general interest such as new procurement laws enacted by Congress, changes to and interpretations of the Federal Acquisition Regulation, and current case law decisions.

The major areas of government contracts practiced by attorneys at the firm include the following:

Bankruptcy

We have substantial experience dealing with the intersection of bankruptcy and government contracts. We have advised government contracts clients contemplating or otherwise facing bankruptcy proceedings regarding the implications of such proceedings for their government contracts. We have acted as counsel to debtors-in-possession with respect to government contracts claims and issues. We have acted as special counsel to bankruptcy trustees in matters relating to government contracts. We have represented subcontractors faced with the bankruptcy of prime contractors.

Bid Protests

We have represented clients in bid protests, participating in proceedings before the Government Accountability Office and various federal government procuring agencies, such as the FAA’s Office of Dispute Resolution for Acquisition. We advise clients filing protests as well as clients who have been awarded contracts and then must defend against protests filed by disappointed bidders.

Contract Administration And Audit Issues; Alternative Dispute Resolution

Much of our government contracts experience involves working with clients to resolve the many issues that arise during performance of a federal contract. Among other matters, these include identification of compensatory contract changes, interpretation of FAR requirements, applicability of CAS standards, and audits by the Defense Contract Audit Agency. Our goal is always to resolve performance issues satisfactorily before they ripen into formal disputes.

Similarly, our philosophy is to explore administrative resolution of government contract disputes before resorting to litigation. To this end, we have prepared and successfully negotiated numerous equitable adjustment requests and Contract Disputes Act claims on behalf of clients. We also recommend alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods in appropriate situations, such as the use of arbitration, mediation and mini-trials.

Our experience teaches that many contract performance problems can be avoided by education and training of contractor personnel. To this end, we have prepared in-house training programs for clients, including presentations for companies with little or no experience with government contracts.

Contract Negotiation and Award

We regularly work with clients seeking to obtain government contract awards. We have broad experience with the Federal Acquisition Regulations and the Cost Accounting Standards.

Our advice covers fixed-price, cost-reimbursement and time-and-materials contracts, including the multiple award schedules and commercial item contracts increasingly used by Federal agencies.

We have also worked extensively in the area of sole source contracts. We advise clients on a range of contract formation issues, including cost and pricing issues raised by the Truth In Negotiations Act.

Contract Terminations

We have represented clients confronted with both terminations for convenience and terminations for default under government contracts.

Export Controls

We work with clients regarding the export of U.S. goods and technology to foreign governments and private concerns. Our work has involved obtaining export licenses from the State Department's Office of Defense Trade Controls for items on the U.S. Munitions List, as well as licenses from the Commerce Department's Bureau of Export Administration for articles subject to the Commodity Control List, including dual use items.

Fraudulent Practice Allegations and Internal Investigations

With the heavy federal emphasis on ferreting out fraud, waste and abuse in government contracts, we play three significant roles for our clients: educational, investigative, and advisory. We develop corporate compliance and crime prevention manuals and present compliance training programs for government contractors, and we work closely with our clients to explain the labyrinth of applicable federal statutes and regulations. These include the False Claims Act, the False Statements Act, the Truth in Negotiations Act and the Anti-Kickback Act. We conduct internal reviews and investigations for clients, some triggered by questions raised internally, and some prompted by external complaints or investigations.

We represent clients in connection with government investigations, in response to threatened civil and/or criminal enforcement actions, and with respect to suspension and debarment proceedings.

Intellectual Property Rights

The ownership and use of technical data and computer software that may be created or delivered in connection with government contracts often present a conflict between the government's interests and those of contractors. As a result, we have considerable familiarity with the concepts of patents, copyrights, trademarks and licenses under government contracts.

International Contracting

Much of our work has involved international government contracting. This entails representing U.S. clients with contracts awarded or administered by U.S. federal agencies abroad, and representing foreign firms contracting with various U.S. Government agencies. Among the issues frequently encountered in international contracting, we often provide guidance to clients regarding compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Labor And Employment Matters

We regularly advise our clients with government contracts on labor and employment issues unique to federal contracting, including questions arising under the Service Contract Act and the Davis-Bacon Act. We also have worked with clients on labor issues involving the interplay between federal and state law.

Litigation and Arbitration

We engage in litigation and arbitration proceedings for our government contract clients. We regularly practice before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, agency boards of contract appeals and federal district and appellate courts. Before initiating litigation on behalf of any client, we bring to bear this varied experience in advising as to the best forum for the particular case.

We are acutely aware of the costs and inefficiencies attendant to lawsuits today in the courts of the United States, and we also recognize that litigation can place tremendous demands upon the time and energy of the parties.

Our attorneys are committed to exploring the most cost-effective means of achieving our client's goals. To that end, in appropriate situations we recommend arbitration of disputes. We often represent clients in arbitration proceedings under the rules of the American Arbitration Association, but also under a variety of international procedures including those of the International Chamber of Commerce. We make active use of alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation and mini-trials.

Small Business Matters

We have worked with clients on a variety of small business matters. This entails familiarity with small business determinations and certifications, small business set-asides and small disadvantaged business programs. We also represent clients in size protests. In applicable situations, we pursue reimbursement from federal agencies for litigation costs incurred by small business clients under the Equal Access to Justice Act.

Insurance Practice

The Firm's attorneys provide a broad range of legal services directly to the insurance community. We are experienced in providing advice and coverage opinions on all types of personal, commercial and professional lines of insurance, arising in both first-party and third-party contexts. The Firm has dealt with a wide breadth of coverage issues, including third-party tenders, the status of additional insureds, late notice, pollution exclusions, trigger of occurrence issues, errors and omissions claims, allocation issues and completed operations issues.

We frequently provide coverage opinions and follow up our guidance, as necessary, either prosecuting or defending declaratory judgment actions in state and federal court and in arbitrations. We also routinely provide our clients guidance on extra-contractual and bad faith issues and defend their interests from the trial through appellate courts.

Intellectual Property

The Firm’s Intellectual Property practice includes patent, trademark and trade dress, copyright, unfair competition and advertising law, including litigation, licensing and other commercial agreements. The Firm has engaged in a wide range of intellectual property and related litigation at both trial and appellate levels.

The Firm provides its clients with intellectual property support including the analysis of patents and technology in licensing and potential litigation situations, trademark and advertising clearance and the prosecution of trademark applications, providing advice on copyright issues, and preparing and filing copyright applications.

Our attorneys have been involved in counseling management on intellectual property strategies, in negotiating and drafting licensing and other commercial agreements, and in conducting due diligence in merger, acquisition, financing and IPO situations.

Our attorneys have handled intellectual property matters in such diverse fields as computer software and hardware, digital media, consumer electronics, medical devices, food and tobacco, clothing, banking, airline, consumer product and retail store services.

Legislative

Our clients come to us for assistance with problem solving, and our approach is to develop custom-tailored strategies for each particular client. The first step in any project is an analysis of the client's needs and the development of a strategy for addressing those needs. The solution may involve a legislative strategy, it may be at the agency level, it may be operational, it may be legal, or it may be a combination of one or more approaches. After close cooperation with the client in developing the right strategy, we implement the plan designed to achieve the optimal result.

For those clients who engage us on legislative matters, we maintain close relationships with appropriate Members of the U.S. Congress (both House and Senate) and with the relevant Committee staff, and, where appropriate, we act as the "Washington office" for a client's legislative projects. The solution in a given case may be a broad, "grass roots" approach, a group effort by those with common interests, or it may be a highly focused "surgical strike." Potential solutions include the introduction of new legislation, the development and submission of appropriations requests, earmarking for special projects, report language, hearing submissions and questions, obtaining Congressional pressure on agencies with respect to specific issues and needs, and drafting and "shepherding" the passage of legislation through to completion.

Marine

The Firm has a diverse marine practice with a focus on the management and resolution of disputes whether informally, by alternative dispute resolution, arbitration or litigation, both domestically and internationally. Our team includes lawyers with extensive Merchant Marine and U.S. Navy experience as well as several lawyers with engineering degrees. The practical knowledge and legal experience of our lawyers has proven invaluable to our clients which include shipowners, charterers, non-vessel owning common carriers, ocean intermediaries, and insurers and reinsurers of marine risks. Within the field of marine litigation, the firm routinely handles matters involving:

We also advise and represent our clients on a broad range of non contentious commercial and operational maritime matters.

Product Liability

The Firm’s attorneys have significant experience in handling a wide range of product liability cases. The Firm’s attorneys have defended the reputation and product lines of numerous industrial and consumer-based manufacturers across the United States. We have litigated cases involving a wide variety of products from aircraft, aircraft component parts, maritime products, tanning beds, coffee makers, electrical devices, and industrial equipment. In connection with these cases, we have often pursued Motions to Strike Expert Testimony based upon “junk science” and aggressively seek Summary Judgment when necessary so as to truncate the litigation process.

Reinsurance

The Firm represents reinsurers and cedants in various reinsurance matters including coverage litigation, disputes with third-party administrators, insolvency issues, and loss allocation in both a litigation and arbitration context. The Firm’s attorneys are members of ARIAS and are familiar with all aspects of the reinsurance arbitration process.

Space Law

Our Space Law practice group services commercial satellite and aerospace businesses and governments. Our clients in the U.S. and around the world include major aerospace companies, satellite manufacturers and operators, satellite component manufacturers, launch service providers, ground station operators, leading space insurers, space tourism firms, and government space agencies.

We offer our clients "one-stop shopping" in satellite and aerospace matters, and advise in areas such as:

Trucking and Other Surface Transportation

Our surface transportation practice is sophisticated and varied. The firm represents clients in the rail, trucking and bus industries. Our firm's attorneys include a former General Counsel of the Interstate Commerce Commission and a former senior trial attorney of the Transportation Section, Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Lawyers in the firm regularly practice in federal and state courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and before the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Surface Transportation Board (formerly the Interstate Commerce Commission), the Military Traffic Management Command (and related DoD components), other federal and state agencies, and the U.S. Congress.

We represent carriers, shippers, brokers and other intermediaries, financial institutions, leasing companies, state and local government units and trade associations with a broad range of litigation, legislative, regulatory and client counseling services. Click on the following links to learn more about our surface transportation practice areas:

Trucking Litigation

The Firm defends transportation industry members in a wide variety of claims arising from commercial trucking and motor vehicle operations. We have a wealth of experience in many of the most challenging jurisdictions in America, having defended hundreds of cases involving virtually every type of truck and motor vehicle. Many of the cases handled by the Firm involve catastrophic injuries or multi-vehicle accidents. The Firm is frequently called upon to interact with local authorities in connection with the investigation of an accident and preservation of evidence. Our team of attorneys have a depth of experience in evaluating, preparing, mediating, arbitrating and, if necessary, trying motor vehicle cases.

Bus Industry

Our specialized experience in the bus industry includes the following:

Administrative

The Firm has litigated a variety of industry issues before the STB, including terminal licensing agreements, honoring of tickets, interline commissions, reservations systems and publication of schedules.

We also make regulatory filings at the STB and the Department of Transportation on a variety of commercial and safety regulatory issues. We have also successfully challenged in federal court the Department of Transportation's final rules for over-the-road buses under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Tax Litigation

Our lawyers filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving apportionment of ticket taxes for interstate bus travel. When the Court issued an unfavorable ruling in Oklahoma Tax Com'n v. Jefferson Lines, Inc., 514 U.S. 175 (1995), we persuaded Congress to enact legislation overturning that decision and limiting the ability of states to tax interstate transportation of passengers by bus. 49 U.S.C. §14505. We also regularly advise bus companies on the validity of state taxes under federal statutory and constitutional principles, including a challenge to a District of Columbia bus licensing fee.

Motor Carriers

Our work on motor carrier matters includes the following:

Antitrust

Attorneys in our Firm have defended numerous motor carriers in criminal actions brought by the Department of Justice (including representing carriers in grand jury and FBI investigations), have litigated private antitrust suits on behalf of transportation entities, and obtained business review letters from the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. In addition, we have advised carriers, shipper groups, freight forwarders and brokers on the antitrust consequences of a wide range of proposed activities, including mergers and acquisitions and revenue pool arrangements. We have also instituted antitrust compliance programs for a variety of transportation entities and handled the antitrust aspects of acquisitions.

Cargo Loss and Damage Claims

Our Firm represents motor carriers in loss and damage claim litigation in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. We also advise shippers, carriers and freight intermediaries on cargo liability insurance, claims litigation, setoffs and other issues involving cargo loss and damage.

Employment Status of Owner-Operators

Our attorneys represent carriers in proceedings before the IRS regarding the employment status of owner-operator truck drivers leased to motor carriers. We have successfully appealed IRS assessment determinations, and have advised motor carriers on how to structure their relationships with owner-operators to avoid future liability.

Government Contracts

Attorneys in our Firm have represented a number of motor carriers in bid-rigging, ratemaking and debarment proceedings involving government contracts for transportation, and have advised carriers and freight intermediaries on contracting requirements and payment procedures for government traffic, as well as handling government contract disputes before the Government Accountability Office, the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals and the Court of Federal Claims. We also advise clients on several issues related to changes in procurement of government transportation services and have discussed those issues with federal officials.

Intermediaries

We represent a number of brokers, freight forwarders and other intermediaries on a variety of issues involving regulatory requirements, contract and tariff terms, liability for payment of freight charges, and loss and damage claims.

Legislation

Our Firm has played a major role in efforts in Congress and state legislatures to eliminate unnecessary regulation of motor carrier rates, routes and services. Attorneys in the Firm helped to draft federal legislation concerning the economic deregulation of interstate and intrastate motor carrier operations, as well as a number of provisions on taxation and safety regulation of trucking, that have been enacted into law. For example, the Firm was instrumental in drafting and successfully lobbying for enactment of 49 U.S.C. § 14505, a provision limiting the ability of states to tax interstate motor carrier passenger transportation. The Firm's attorneys have frequent contact with members of Congress and their staffs.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Our Firm has acted as counsel in several motor carrier acquisitions mergers and in the two largest rail carrier mergers in history. We have made pre-merger filings under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act and obtained federal and state regulatory approvals for acquisitions when required.

Safety Regulations

Attorneys in our Firm have developed programs for carrier compliance with the federal motor carrier safety regulations, including driver qualifications, record keeping, insurance, vehicle inspections and accident reporting.

Tax Litigation

Over the last several years, the Firm has been lead counsel in over a dozen lawsuits, primarily class actions on behalf of thousands of motor carriers, which have successfully challenged the validity of state taxes and fees imposed on interstate transportation under federal constitutional and statutory principles. The decisions in these cases have created important precedents and have awarded refunds of over $30 million in unconstitutional taxes to carriers. The Firm also advises clients on the legality of proposed and existing motor carrier taxes, and negotiated an agreement with a state taxing agency to settle the franchise tax liability of interstate motor carriers.

Railroads

Our work on railroad matters includes the following:

Railroad Mergers and Acquisitions

Our Firm has represented railroads, financial institutions and other major corporations in connection with railroad mergers, acquisitions, consolidations and other rail transactions requiring approval of the Surface Transportation Board. We represented major parties in the two largest recent rail merger proceedings, including Norfolk Southern Railway in its successful acquisition of much of Conrail.

Regional and Short Line Railroads

The Firm serves as general counsel to the Texas Mexican Railway Company, one of the oldest railroads in the country. The Firm has also represented other short line railroads on a wide variety of matters, including line sales, abandonments, trackage rights disputes, real estate issues and litigation.

Railroad Litigation

The Firm has an active litigation practice before the STB and the courts on behalf of railroads and others involving such matters as disputes over car hire, trackage rights compensation, rails-to-trails conversion, ownership of rail lines, labor disputes and labor protection requirements in railroad line sales.

Railroad Labor Issues

We provide advice and assistance, as well as litigation services, for clients on questions involving the application of the Railway Labor Act to certain transactions and groups of employees, and employee compensation and benefits. We have arbitrated rail labor issues before the National Railroad Adjustment Board.

Surface Transportation Litigation

The Firm represents railroads, trucking companies, shippers, personal goods movers, intercity bus companies, freight forwarders and brokers as well as maritime companies, and trade associations in litigation, regulatory and legislative matters.

Over a number of years, we have been lead counsel in a series of class action lawsuits on behalf of thousands of motor carriers, challenging the constitutionality of state taxes on interstate transportation.

We have represented railroads, shippers, and financial institutions in proceedings before the STB regarding major railroad mergers, acquisitions and consolidations. Our attorneys have also represented carriers in merger and acquisition proceedings before state utility commissions.

The Firm has an active litigation practice before the STB and the courts on behalf of railroad clients involving disputes over matters such as trackage rights, car hire, and the compensation therefor. We represent a household goods carriers in loss and damage claim litigation in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. We also have handled motor carrier loss and damage cases involving high value freight in various federal courts.

The Firm's litigators have been involved in the following matters in the surface transportation area:

  • We have acted as chief regulatory counsel for the Norfolk Southern Corporation in its acquisition, with CSX Corporation, of Conrail, the major freight railroad in the northeast United States.
  • We successfully challenged, based on lack of statutory authority, certain regulatory compensation provisions promulgated by the U.S. Department of Transportation for the failure of intercity bus companies to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
  • We defended an ocean shipping company at the STB in two cases involving challenges to the carrier's rates and practices.
  • We successfully represented a regional railroad in an adversarial proceeding at the STB regarding the appropriate compensation for trackage rights over a bridge owned by the regional railroad.
  • We represented the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) at the STB in a matter involving allocation of rail line maintenance-of-way costs.
  • We successfully represented interstate motor carriers in a number of cases challenging a variety of state taxes on constitutional and federal statutory grounds, including two cases before state supreme courts interpreting a federal statute that limits the ability of states to impose corporate income taxes on sales of tangible goods.
  • We successfully represented a U.S. flag shipping company in a suit against the U.S. Government under the cargo preference laws.

Other Surface Transportation Issues

Our expertise in surface transportation also includes the following:

Pooling

We have handled a number of proceedings at the STB regarding approval of motor carrier pooling agreements and antitrust immunity.

Contract Drafting

Our Firm frequently is asked to assist shippers, carriers and freight intermediaries in drafting transportation contracts. We also advise clients on regulatory requirements for contracts of carriage, bills of lading, equipment lease forms, and personnel leasing agreements.

Environmental Matters

The Firm has represented clients in administrative enforcement actions before the Environmental Protection Agency and state agencies. In certain cases involving the unauthorized use of regular gasoline in vehicles requiring unleaded fuel, the Firm negotiated settlements that included innovative programs for nationwide campaigns to encourage the use of unleaded fuel by industry and individual consumers in exchange for reductions of fines. The Firm has also submitted programs to the Environmental Protection Agency to test for ground and water contamination from the dumping of hazardous waste at a site that was purchased by a client, and has developed regulatory compliance programs involving underground storage tank requirements and community right-to-know laws. The Firm also lobbied successfully for a federal statute prohibiting the EPA from including hydrocarbon fuels in its Risk Management Program requirements.

International Transportation

Our Firm regularly advises carriers and shippers on issues involving international freight transportation, including customs clearance and carrier and warehouse bonding requirements, taxation of income derived from international moves, and operating authority requirements.

State Regulatory Practice

Our attorneys have represented carriers in merger acquisition and regulatory enforcement proceedings before state regulatory utility commissions. We also regularly advise carriers and freight intermediaries on changes in state regulation of intrastate freight transportation.

Transportation Taxes

Attorneys in the Firm have represented a national trade association before the U.S. Congress and the Internal Revenue Service and succeeded in changing the point of collection for vehicle excise taxes and clarifying the amount of excise tax applicable to a vehicle under a long term lease. The Firm has also advised maritime carriers on the federal tax consequences of long term leases of U.S. vessels to foreign-owned enterprises.

Taxation

KMA Zuckert provides complete services in corporate, individual, nonprofit, estate and gift, international, employment and excise tax matters. In addition to general and transactional tax advice and the unique tax rules that apply to the aviation community, the firm also handles a wide variety of administrative and judicial tax controversies, as well as legislative and regulatory tax matters. We are experienced tax counselors in:

Nonprofit Tax Issues

In recent years, a focus of our tax practice has been on the tax issues faced by nonprofit organizations. The firm represents a number of the largest nonprofit organizations in the United States. At a time when the tax-exempt status of many entities is under scrutiny, we have devised and implemented successful strategies before the Administration, the Congress and the Judiciary to defend and maintain tax-exempt status. We also assist clients in planning specific transactions and general corporate and financial structures to maintain their exemption, and to minimize unrelated business income taxes and other federal, state and local taxes. We are intimately familiar with the issues affecting nonprofits, including the topics of the moment – political activities and lobbying – as well as the more common issues of commercial activities and insider benefits. A key part of our work for our nonprofit clients is to examine in detail their methods of operations to identify any potential problems or deficiencies and then devise and implement appropriate solutions.

Audits and Tax Controversies

We represent clients on diverse federal income tax issues, including eligibility for tax exemption, deductibility of charitable donations, methods of accounting, inventory methods and valuation, advance payments for goods and services, foreign currency transactions, capitalization of expenditures, corporate reorganizations, allocations between related parties, like-kind exchanges, and partnership issues, as well as factual issues of valuation, unreported income and penalties. We have successfully handled audits involving income tax exemption, federal estate and gift taxes, federal transportation taxes, and federal and state fuel taxes, and state sales and use taxes.

Tax Planning and Compliance

One of the firm's major strengths is working with clients to develop strategies which will make full use of legal tax planning opportunities without placing the client at risk. In addition to our work with domestic corporations, we have worked extensively with international affiliates of U.S. firms and with foreign corporations entering the U.S. The firm helps plan business operations and transactions, as well as assisting clients with reporting requirements. We have advised diversified international corporations on restructuring worldwide operations to take advantage of available tax treaty benefits.

Taxation

Toxic Torts

The Firm has a wealth of experience defending real and perceived toxic tort claims made against clients operating in a diverse range of service and manufacturing industries. The Firm’s attorneys are skilled in confronting the complex issues involved in this type of litigation in court and administrative proceedings across the country. The Firm has handled hundreds of cases from small matters involving a single plaintiff, to cases involving groups or communities of people alleging a common toxic exposure, to government enforcement actions.

In addition to mass tort litigation arising out of bodily injury claims, our lawyers have defended actions for property damage arising from claims based on nuisance, trespass, and federal statutory liability theories. As a result, we have experience in virtually all types of toxic tort litigation. The Firm is supported by excellent staff with specialized training and experience in identifying and organizing key information from the vast quantities of factual materials produced in the discovery process to provide timely and cost effective information needed by experts, clients and to the court during litigation.

Within the field of toxic tort litigation, the firm routinely handles matters involving:

Transportation Security

The firm provides legal assistance on a broad range of matters pertaining to transportation security, including issues before the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). We advise on airport and operation security plans, and assist in compliance assessments. We are particularly experienced in advising clients on airport and aircraft physical security requirements and threat assessments. We also advise on issues such as the challenges and questions related to new airport screening technology, including deployment of advanced imaging technology at airport checkpoints, the TSA's "12/5" program, and Secure Flight compliance. We also liaise with TSA headquarters on international air service matters as needed: increasingly TSA security oversight of foreign airports is playing a role in the implementation of international air service, and security issues at foreign airports can be a critical obstacle to air service development. TSA policy and regulations are ever-changing as security threats evolve, and we work with clients to manage their security-related concerns and responsibilities. In addition, we assist airline clients with applications to participate in various voluntary aviation trade and security programs, including the International Air Carrier Initiative, the Advance Passenger Information System, the Visa Waiver Program, and the Customs-Trade Participation Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program.