TLA Webinar Series

TLA’s webinar series seeks to expand the association’s CLE offerings by providing timely information on issues of concern to transportation attorneys from the leaders in the field.  TLA members, non-members and non-attorneys are welcome to attend.
Please see below before you register.
 Before You Register for a TLA Webinar 
  • TLA applies for Continuing Legal Education credit from every State in which it is required.
  • All participants who complete the evaluation following the webinar will be provided with the uniform certificate of attendance.
  • TLA uses Zoom for webinars. 

Next webinar will take place February 28, 2023.

This webinar will start at 1PM CST / 2PM EST

The Best Offense… Is a Good Defense?  Using Exceptions to Swallow the Rule: The Nuts and Bolts of Carmack Amendment Defenses

It is an oft-quoted canard that the Carmack Amendment is a “strict liability” statute. However, most ‎practitioners know that there is a finite laundry list of defenses that motor and rail carriers can assert ‎to possibly obviate that ostensible strict liability. These defenses have battle-worn names such as “Act ‎of God,” “Act of Public Enemy,” and “Inherent Vice,” to name a few. Although they are ‎anachronistically monikered, these defenses come into play in almost every Carmack Amendment ‎cargo claim lawsuit. Consequently, it is very important for practitioners and counsel alike to ‎understand the array of defenses available to carriers in these situations, and how and when they can ‎be cognizably implemented. This Blue Ribbon Panel of nationwide freight claim specialists will provide ‎attendees with the detailed knowledge of the defenses available to motor and rail carriers under the ‎Carmack Amendment, including the schematically shifting burden of proof that each party has in these ‎situations.‎

The panel will also explore real life examples of situations in which Carmack claims were either ‎successful or unsuccessful, depending upon the particular defense asserted, which will further serve ‎to illustrate how these defenses are not only used, but viewed by the courts. ‎

Finally, the panel will offer practice tip pointers on how to maximize Carmack defenses, both ‎in litigation and in cargo claims prevention. You won’t want to miss it!‎


Moderator/Speaker Bios:

Moderator: Eric Benton, Partner, Mayer LLP, Houston, TX
Eric served as the President and Chairman of Lorance &Thompson, P.C. from 2017 to 2021. He was an in-house attorney at one of the largest transportation companies for almost fifteen years prior to joining Lorance Thompson. After going into private practices, Eric created one of the largest transportation practice groups in the nation. He enjoys his job for its intellectual stimulation and friendships he has made during his career. Eric understands the client-attorney relationship from the in-house perspective and takes each case as if he is the client. He demands of himself excellent quality of representation with the efficiency and cost effectiveness as if he was the one paying the attorney fees. Outside of the workplace, Eric enjoys being a season ticket holder for Houston’s professional teams, the Texans and Rockets. When the opportunity presents itself, he enjoys saltwater fishing out of Galveston Island where he keeps his boat. Eric also enjoys an occasional round of golf.

Speakers Bios:

Kathleen Jeffries‎, Partner, Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary, LLP‎, Pasadena, CA
Kathleen C. Jeffries, a partner with Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary, LLP in Pasadena, ‎California, has over 39 years of experience in the practice of business litigation, contracts and general ‎transportation law.  With an emphasis on freight claim and freight charge litigation, she represents ‎motor carriers, freight forwarders and property brokers, among other transportation entities, in civil ‎litigation, regulatory and transportation-related misdemeanor proceedings, contract development and ‎general business counsel.  Ms. Jeffries is past president of the Transportation Lawyers Association; is a ‎recipient of TLA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Distinguished Service Award, Special Presidential ‎Commendation for Leadership and Mentorship and Bullshippers Award.  In addition, Ms. Jeffries is an ‎active member of the Conference of Freight Counsel (having served as Vice Chair and Chair), the ‎Transportation & Logistics Council and the Association of Transportation Law Professionals (past ‎president, Southern California Chapter).  ‎‎

Dan Sonneborn, Director, Preti Flaherty’s Litigation Practice Group,Boston, MA
Daniel R. Sonneborn is a Director at Preti Flaherty’s Litigation Practice Group, working primarily from the ‎firm’s Boston office. A negotiator and litigator, his clients include those in professional services and ‎regulated industries like transportation, insurance, health care, financial services, and construction. ‎Dan’s counsel ranges in focus from professional liability and risk mitigation to multi-jurisdictional class ‎actions. He has developed a particular interest in transportation law, and represents motor carriers, ‎brokers, freight forwarders, and insurance companies in transportation-related matters and ‎litigation, including cargo loss and damage, warehousing, contractual issues, and employment ‎matters.‎

Suggestions for webinar topics and presenters are welcome.
Please email the committee chair.
2022-23 Webinar Committee
Tamara Goorevitz
Tyler Hayes
Pam Palmer
Melissa Richardson
Daniel Sbanotto

Eric Zalud