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January 26, 2023 Profile

Commercial Transportation Litigation Committee

Mark A. Perkins

The American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section Commercial Transportation Litigation Committee (CTLC) focuses on all litigation-related issues of commercial vehicles.

Unlike some organizations that focus on all modes of transportation, the CTLC is focused only on the commercial vehicle. Similarly, there are groups that are comprised of only the plaintiffs’ bar or the defense bar. The CTLC is comprised of both plaintiffs’ and defense lawyers focusing their practice on 18-wheelers and other large commercial vehicles. We are “frenemies” who sue and protect the trucking industry, and that’s what is unique about this committee: we welcome both sides to discuss how we can be better lawyers representing our clients involved in trucking-related issues.

If there is a large commercial vehicle involved, whether it’s a cargo dispute, accident, or brokerage issue, this is the committee to consult. If you want to know the nuances of electronic control modules, as well as the mechanics of air brakes, the regeneration process of environmental control filters on diesel engines, or what the Carmack Amendment is, then this is the committee you want to join. Our members share best practices on rapid response to catastrophic accidents involving all aspects of commercial transportation matters, from lowboys to dual tandems and Cummins engines to automated vehicles. Are you trying to defend a broker that has been sued in a personal injury claim, a car hauler in a wrongful death case, or a reefer in a loading accident? This committee provides you with the proficiency of the best in the nation.

No one would deny that the trucking industry is vital to the American economy. According to the American Trucking Associations’ American Trucking Trends 2021, the trucking industry moved 10.23 billion tons of freight in 2020, generating $732.3 billion in revenue. Everything we eat, live in, and wear had to be delivered by a truck driver. In the aftermath of a hurricane, large commercial vehicles deliver food, water, and energy. During the economic shutdown of the COVID pandemic, trucking companies were deemed essential services and continued to operate.

The safe operation of the trucking industry is essential to the trucking industry, and in turn, to the entire economy. The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) recently submitted an exhaustive analysis of nuclear verdicts. Many members of the CTLC, such as Jeff Burns and Rob Moseley, provided data, reviews, technical guidance, and general support to ATRI. Such are examples of the quality of membership in the CTLC.

Longtime members of the CTLC have been planning and presenting one of the most successful stand-alone conferences since 1993: the Transportation Megaconference! Held every other year (odd years) in New Orleans, the next Megaconference takes place March 1–3, 2023. Longtime program chair Roy Cohen says, “The conference itself brings together the nation’s leading trucking litigation experts to address the issues influencing the daily operations of the trucking business and their impact upon litigation. This comprehensive seminar is a must for lawyers, investigators, trucking company personnel and executives, and claims, insurance, and risk management professionals.”

In addition to the outstanding work of the members chairing the Megaconference, the CTLC offers its members opportunities to speak at webinars and write articles for the CTLC newsletter focusing on trucking litigation. Additionally, members of the CTLC have skills and techniques that offer a unique perspective to the scholarly Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal. Similarly, CTLC members who routinely handle commercial trucking produce outstanding articles of substance for The Brief.

Whether you have a national profile or are a statewide or regional advocate, we need people willing to share a small part of their practice to enhance the trucking industry to be even more effective, productive, and safe. We invite you to attend the Megaconference in March 2023 and welcome your insight on speaking and teaching webinars, writing articles, or mentoring others on how to handle the commercial vehicle litigated claim. We are now planning specific webinars, newsletters, and scholarly articles for 2023, so if you have an interest in trucks, cargo, international trade, or catastrophic accidents, join the CTLC.

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Mark A. Perkins

Perkins & Associates, LLC

Mark A. Perkins is the founder of Perkins & Associates, LLC in Shreveport, Louisiana, a boutique law firm focusing on the defense of complex and catastrophic claims, particularly involving the trucking defense.