Trucking and Automotive

Trucking companies and businesses whose operations involve automotive transportation operate in a highly competitive business world and a complex and ever-changing legal environment. Each delivery or trip may be subject to dozens of local, state, and federal regulations, all of which affect the vehicles, the personnel operating them, the manner of operation, and the consequences of non-compliance. Meanwhile, motor vehicle and commercial fleet litigation matters range in complexity from a collision with uncontested liability to multimillion-dollar exposure including catastrophic injuries and fatalities.

Our goal is to enable our clients to obtain all of the counsel and advice they need to keep their business moving with just one telephone call to our full-service team of transportation lawyers.

Goldberg Segalla’s 24/7 Emergency Response Team

When there is an accident, time is of the essence in getting investigators to the scene in order to start building the best possible defense. That is why we provide our clients with contact information to reach partners in each of our offices — day or night, any day of the year. This team is ready to take action immediately and manage the first response to an accident, including:

  • Developing contacts with the police agencies involved
  • Getting photographers and accident reconstruction experts to the scene
  • Obtaining witness statements before they can be corrupted by the passage of time or the influence of other investigators
  • Securing the client’s vehicle as soon as it is released from police impound
  • Beginning the process of building a defense to a potential claim right away, before skid marks fade, evidence is moved, or witnesses cannot be located

When there is a personal injury lawsuit, we offer our clients trial-tested litigators in each of our offices, ready to defend against the liability and damages claims that can result from accidents. We have strong relationships with leading national experts in accident reconstruction, trauma medicine, vocational rehabilitation, and other disciplines, which helps us build a successful defense. Our strategic courtroom use of on-board electronic data recording systems, global positioning, and other technologies employed by our clients can make the difference in helping a jury understand how an accident developed and occurred.

Proactive Counsel

Perhaps most importantly, we consider our role as attorneys and advisers to be like being a critical member of our clients’ team. We provide our trucking and automotive clients with advice on how to reduce exposure, address liability, and plan for indemnification (if warranted) from the beginning. We believe that the most effective way to achieve success is to partner with the client to attain realistic goals, including everything from an early settlement to a successful defense at trial.

Because of this philosophy, we regularly provide in-house educational presentations for our clients on risk and litigation avoidance techniques, current trends in litigation, innovative methods to address complex defense issues, and suggestions to increase the success of our defense while reducing the overall expense to defend claims.

Regional and National Reach

We know the very business of trucking and transportation means crossing great distances, so we have built our practice to assist clients wherever their needs take them. Through our wide geographic reach, experience litigating cases across the country, and memberships in expansive networks of qualified defense counsel, our clients have only one call to make in order to get the representation they need.

As just one example of the far-reaching trust clients put in Goldberg Segalla, one of our partners is Regional Coordinating Counsel for a major, national trucking company. In this capacity, he is responsible for overseeing and trying the company’s catastrophic personal injury cases throughout all of the eastern United States.

Comprehensive Advice and Services for Trucking and Automotive Companies

In Goldberg Segalla’s Global Insurance Services Practice Group, we have some of the leading insurance coverage attorneys in the country. As a result, our clients have the benefit of our experience and knowledge when there is a question of whether an insurer of a company must provide coverage for a particular vehicle, use, or load. Few areas of insurance law are as challenging as the interplay of insuring documents on tractors, the trailers they tow, and the loads they carry. Our trucking clients rely on us for informed, up-to-date analysis in this ever-changing area of the law. Additionally, we have extensive experience with the complex issues that may arise in cases involving uninsured or underinsured motorists.

When there is an employment issue, attorneys from our Labor and Employment Practice Group are available to counsel our trucking and automotive clients on termination, background checks, employee benefits law, and the defense of wrongful termination claims. To help prevent claims from happening, we offer counsel to employers before adverse action is taken, to structure the action in accordance with all applicable employment laws so claims are less likely to result (or are more likely to be successfully defended when they are asserted).

Our Workers’ Compensation Practice Group attorneys have successfully represented our trucking clients in defending meritless medical and injury claims, and know the intricacies involved in navigating the Workers’ Compensation Board claims and hearing system.

When our clients own or lease land or equipment for the operation of their fleet, we offer them the services of our Business and Commercial Practice Group attorneys, who are well-versed in sophisticated commercial and realty transactional law.

No-Fault

No-Fault litigation presents unique challenges to carriers doing business within New York State. Individually, the amounts at stake with these claims make the cost-effective defense of these cases problematic. However, with a minimum of $50,000 in coverage available for each individual in a covered auto, medical expenses can quickly exceed the liability exposures on actions against the carrier.

Goldberg Segalla has experienced no-fault attorneys in each of our offices. These attorneys are well-versed in the defense of these actions, and are familiar with the venues where these actions are frequently commenced (including the New York City Civil Courts, the local district courts, the American Arbitration Association, and arbitration forums). We can also assist in the development of fraud defenses by conducting pre-litigation examinations under oath, and providing other programs that are tailored to meet the specific needs of our clients.

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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: