Transportation Coverage

In any transportation coverage analysis, it is imperative to understand the relationship of the parties involved (i.e. vehicle/truck owner, lessor, lessee, trailer owner), as well as the contractual relationship and additional insured status of various parties. Often there are issues regarding property damage, underinsured motorist coverage, excess/primary insurance obligations, worker's compensation, permissive use and scope of employment. All of this must be examined in conjunction with the extensive statutory and regulatory scheme governing commercial and personal transportation. If one thing is key -- it is an understanding that a few key facts, technical knowledge, or statutory twist may mean the difference between success and failure when is comes to transportation insurance coverage issues.

Between its insurance policies and other business relationships, most companies involved in transportation are looking to achieve a seamless blanket of risk protection regarding operations. While no risk management plan can truly be seamless, we counsel clients in accomplishing this goal through coverage analysis and recommendations tailored to the industry. We have experience in assisting policyholders and self-insured entities in analyzing risks and exposures and assisting with the procurement and placement of insurance coverage. We have advised policyholders on a wide range of complex risk management issues and have provided them with guidance in selecting and implementing proactive risk management programs.

Our Global Insurance Services Group includes a number of key partners who are national leaders in the practice area. We ensure a cohesive and singular coverage position for clients in transportation matters. Often these matters involve components and parties from several different jurisdictions. As such, early conflict of law analysis is essential. We publish CaseWatch Insurance, a survey on every appellate level insurance coverage decision in the United States. We also maintain a daily blog on recent national insurance decisions entitled the Insurance and Reinsurance Report, and send daily case and industry news updates on Twitter at InsureReReport. Our blog was named by Lexis Nexis as one of the top 50 Insurance blogs in the world. CaseWatch Insurance, our blog, and Twitter feed give us a unique national perspective on insurance law and aid in conflict of law questions. These publications succeed because we have divided the United States into geographic areas and charged different members of our team with staying current on these areas.

Our attorneys are accomplished speakers and presenters in air, rail and highway insurance insurance issues. Our group also includes the editor of the renowned Couch on Insurance treatise and authors of the Appleman on Insurance treatise. Our attorneys have spoken all over the world on transportation insurance topics and are sought after as experts in the field of insurance. Goldberg Segalla's Global Insurance Services practice consists of attorneys who hold key leadership positions in state and national insurance organizations, including the Defense Research Institute, the International Association of Defense Counsel, International Claim Association, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel and the Council on Litigation Management. It is upon this broad base that we consider ourselves uniquely qualified to represent our clients on all types of transportation coverage matters.

Some of our recent engagements include:

  • A multi-party multi-state rail loss where a rail broke free in one state and collided with a trail car in another. Several deaths occurred in one state, and several other injuries and property damage occurred in another. Some claimants were employees of certain insureds. There were several layers of indemnity agreements and additional insurance. Assessments were required regarding priority of coverage, scope of work, and indemnity. The matter was successfully litigated through a proactive declaratory judgment action.
  • Coverage under a truck owner's underinsured motorist coverage was avoided by commencing a declaratory judgment action seeking to show other available coverage. Several issues existed, included party and insurer insolvency, and policy drop-down provisions.
  • A plane crash occurred due to concurrent causes (pilot error and tower error). Separate liability actions have different outcomes on whether the pilots conduct was grossly negligent. A proactive coverage strategy was devised to deal utilize the outcome most favorable to the coverage resolution.
  • Developing proactive internal protocols to monitor insurance compliance and implement risk transfer mechanisms.
  • Assessing whether current insurance and contracts adequately protect a company for all foreseeable risks in its specific industry.
  • Assessing insurance issues related to strategic business sales and acquisitions.
  • Assisting in structuring captive insurance programs and reinsurance placement issues.
  • Partnering with brokers for proactive solutions to risk management.
  • Working collaboratively with insurers in drafting policy language

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Diversity

Leadership and Action

To put our philosophy and commitment into practice, we have a Diversity Task Force, which includes our Managing Partner, in place to conceptualize and implement diversity-focused programs as well as give diversity a voice in our decision-making at the highest level. The individuals on this task force share the firm’s strong commitment to increasing the diversity, and they use their unique experiences and backgrounds to support and advance that goal. The team meets regularly to create programs, schedule events, establish diversity initiatives both inside and outside of the firm, set long-term goals, and develop the strategy to recruit and retain people from diverse backgrounds.

The Chair of our Diversity Task Force, Joseph M. Hanna, has spearheaded numerous diversity initiatives in various organizations and outreach programs, serves on several diversity-related committees, and is a frequent author and speaker on diversity. Among other positions, he is Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Minority Trial Lawyer Committee and its Special Committee on Human Rights, Editor-in-Chief of the ABA’sMinority Trial Lawyer, a 2014 Fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), a past President of the Minority Bar Association of Western New York (MBAWNY), current President of the MBAWNY Foundation, and the Diversity Liaison for several committees at the 22,000-member Defense Research Institute (DRI).

Each summer, Goldberg Segalla proudly welcomes interns through a formal Diversity Clerkship Program that was conceived by Joe while he served as President of the MBAWNY. The program was developed in collaboration with the MBAWNY and the SUNY Buffalo Law School to provide opportunities for minority UB Law students to gain firsthand experience in the legal system. Since it was launched in 2011, the program has placed more than 80 students in clerkships in area courts as well as in several area law firms, with more judges and law firms asking to participate every day. It provides participants with an in-depth look at the legal process and the interaction between the bench and the bar that they would not otherwise get. At our firm, a dedicated team of partners monitors the work of these law clerks and ensures they obtain valuable experience to help develop important legal research, writing, case management, and client service skills critical to their long-term success. Our program earned the firm the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s 2012 George B. Vashon Innovator Award.

We also have sponsored Success in the City, an annual diversity networking and mentoring event developed by Joe that brought together students, legal and business professionals, educators, nonprofits, and political leaders to make lasting partnerships. Many employment, business, and mentoring relationships resulted from this event. Past events have drawn more than 500 political and business leaders, legal professionals, and students. Success in the City has influenced the development of similar programs in Baltimore, Cleveland, Birmingham, Dallas, and elsewhere.

Goldberg Segalla also demonstrates leadership inside our firm and throughout the legal community specifically focused on the advancement of women. As a complement to our Diversity Task Force, we have developed a formal Women’s Initiative — a firm-wide movement designed to spark opportunities, develop mentoring relationships, promote leadership, plan events, and support the advancement of women in legal, management, and administrative contexts.

Our firm is committed to spreading the message throughout the broad legal and business communities that embracing diversity contributes to greater overall success. We conduct training sessions for in-house counsel at Fortune 500 corporations on increasing and promoting diversity.  Our attorneys have authored articles and delivered presentations on diversity for various legal organizations, including the Defense Research Institute and the American Bar Association, and our efforts and accomplishments in this area have been profiled in publications such as Law360, the New York State Bar Association’s State Bar NewsBusiness First of Buffalo, the Buffalo Law Journal, and others.

In one recent example of our work to provide inspiration and raise awareness of diversity and women’s issues in the legal community, Caroline Berdzik, a partner in our Princeton office and a member of our Women’s Initiative Leadership Committee, spoke to Law360 for the publication’s “Female Powerbrokers” series. In the interview, Caroline discussed her career, the challenges of being a woman at a senior level at a law firm, the work-family life balance, and the importance of taking risks. She also offered guidance to female attorneys on moving their careers forward and advice to law firms on both increasing the number of women partners and retaining top female talent. Her longtime advocacy for women (at her previous firm, she served on the Women’s Business Development Committee and was a member of what became the national Women’s Presidents Organization) helped earn her a spot on the 2015 NJBIZ list of New Jersey’s Best 50 Women in Business.

Joe Hanna also was featured by Law360 in its “Minority Powerbrokers” series, in which he shared his perspective on breaking the glass ceiling in the legal industry, the challenges of being a lawyer of color at a senior level, how law firms can increase diversity in their partner ranks, and Goldberg Segalla’s core commitment to diversity.

Partnerships

Goldberg Segalla is proud to be a member of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association Firm Affiliate Network, which was created by the MCCA to assist and acknowledge law firms that are committed to advancing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

We are also a member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), a national organization of leaders in law firms and corporate legal departments dedicated to creating a truly diverse legal profession. As noted earlier, Joe Hanna was a Fellow of the LCLD in 2014. In this position, he played a critical role in organizing the first-ever New York City LCLD Fellows Roundtable event, and he was instrumental in establishing a mentorship program in Hartford for local diverse first-year law students.

We support the diversity efforts of numerous organizations, including:

  • American Bar Association
  • Asian American Bar Association of New York
  • Columbian Lawyers Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Korean American Association of Greater New York
  • League of First Nations
  • Minority Bar Association of Western New York
  • National Bar Association
  • Native American Rights Fund
  • National Association of Asian American Professionals
  • National Congress of American Indians
  • New York State Bar Association
  • Seneca Free Trade Association
  • SUNY Buffalo Law School
  • Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York

Our outreach efforts led to the creation of a comprehensive database of more than 500 minority law organizations throughout the United States. Contact between these organizations takes place in anticipation of bringing CLE and legal programs together. This group of minority bar associations includes both local and national organizations, such as:

  • National Association of Women Lawyers
  • National Association of Muslim Lawyers
  • Hispanic National Bar Association
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar
  • Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles
  • South Asian Bar Association of Philadelphia
  • Vietnamese American Bar Association of North Carolina
A Talented and Diverse Team

Diversity is further evident within our firm through the many languages and dialects our team speaks, including Arabic, Croatian, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Malayalam, Mandarin, Marathi, Norwegian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, and Urdu.

Goldberg Segalla’s culture is one that values team-spiritedness, collegiality, and interpersonal harmony within our working community. We are a firm that believes in diversity in the workplace, and we are proud to offer a professional and positive work environment for each and every member of our team.

On these values, and on our commitment to diversity, we will never waver. We are proud of what we have accomplished thus far, but we also realize that this is a long-term mission. We will continue to innovate and to improve diversity in law and business — both within Goldberg Segalla and across the communities in which we live and work.

Diversity Matters — Join the Conversation

If you have questions regarding any of the firm’s diversity initiatives or would like to discuss ideas regarding increasing diversity in the legal profession, please contact Joe Hanna (716.566.5447;[email protected]) or another member of our Diversity Task Force: