Morrison & Foerster’s Transportation Group provides comprehensive and strategic services to all types of transportation sector clients, whether they, or their products or services, operate underground or on the surface, or in the air or on the sea.

We provide in-depth counseling on transportation-related regulatory, litigation, environmental, energy, infrastructure, product liability, finance, and safety issues. We have decades of experience representing aviation and aerospace clients, including major airlines, airports, aerospace manufacturers, and those involved in the development of drones/unmanned aircraft systems. We also know automobiles, providing counsel on how the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, state, and local regulations will shape technological innovations in transportation, including automated vehicles and the deployment of sophisticated transportation systems and networks.

Our transportation team collaborates across several legal disciplines and understands the enabling technologies that permit our transportation-sector clients to meet their business objectives.

We also understand the barriers that restrict innovation and slow implementation.

We are here to help navigate these challenges.

Our Transportation Group’s key capabilities are highlighted below:


  • Shape global regulatory frameworks for manned, unmanned, and autonomous vehicles: sea, surface, or air
  • Investigate and mitigate risks arising from aircraft and motor vehicle safety issues and recalls
  • Counsel on international environmental and transport standards
  • Litigate regulatory issues as necessary to meet client objectives

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  • Provide safety analysis of sophisticated, technology-based, integrated transportation vehicles, systems, and networks
  • Offer risk management and litigation avoidance counseling
  • Respond to transportation accidents and incidents, coordinating multi-agency onsite investigations and associated litigation
  • Advise on issues in specialty insurance markets for auto, aviation, and rail
  • Litigate – we are go-to trial and national coordinating counsel for transportation sector clients

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Emerging Technologies

  • Support clients integrating new and disruptive technologies into transportation, including vehicles and infrastructure
  • Provide strategic advice on the challenges presented by regulation of rapidly advancing software and hardware platforms for transportation
  • Anticipate and overcome legal obstacles when clients develop, acquire, or adopt new technologies and IP assets
  • Help commercialize, divest, and monetize transportation technologies

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Environment and Energy

  • Counsel on and litigate Clean Air Act and state air regulation, including permitting, compliance, and litigation
  • Counsel on and litigate federal, state, and local laws and regulations for development and operation of transportation systems and networks, including NEPA and counterpart state environmental review statutes, as well as water quality (stormwater), species, and other laws and regulations
  • Advise on clean and renewable energy programs and regulations for electric vehicles
  • Manage and minimize the environmental and health risks associated with transport of hazardous materials
  • Counsel and litigate on pipeline permitting and compliance

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Mergers & Acquisitions / Corporate Finance

  • Connect companies and funding sources, including forming private investment partnerships and participate in financings from early stage seed rounds to pre-IPO
  • Represent emerging growth companies and investors in the transportation sector with cutting-edge technologies, including software, e-commerce, cybersecurity, data analytics, robotics, drones, and other automated vehicles
  • Work with people founding, funding, and growing the transportation industry

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  • Provide unparalleled expertise in antitrust issues affecting regulated and partially regulated industries, particularly in the airline sector
  • Represent leaders in the airline, railroad, and freight sectors in significant merger reviews, government investigations, and civil litigation
  • Recognized leader in matters involving the intersection of antitrust and technology

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  • Advise on transactional and regulatory matters in the development, financing, and purchase and sale of major transportation facilities and large-scale public works
  • Understand the strategic and legal challenges in developing large and often controversial transportation projects
  • Represent airlines, airports, and public-private partnerships in the development of public facilities, such as airports and public transit
  • Counsel concerning evolving issues in energy and transportation, and on the relationship between trade and the environment

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American Airlines
We represented American Airlines in its bid to gain government approval for its alliance with British Airways and Iberia Airlines. The companies formed a joint venture that permits them to operate as a single carrier on transatlantic routes. In 2010, the parties received regulatory approval of the alliance from competition authorities in the United States and Europe.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
We advise Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the busiest airport in the U.S., in negotiating a new long-term Lease and Use Agreement with all airlines to guide future Airport operation and development, analyzing federal regulatory and contract issues related to the completion of the $1.5 billion Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal, and responding to proposed State of Georgia legislation to privatize the Airport, or transfer it to a regional authority.
New Hampshire Motor Transport Association, Massachusetts Motor Transportation Association, and Vermont Truck & Bus Association
We won a 9-0 Supreme Court victory in the preemption case of Rowe v. New Hampshire Motor Transport Association (128 S. Ct. 989 (2008)), prevailing at all three levels of the federal court system (District of Maine, First Circuit Court of Appeals, and U.S. Supreme Court) on behalf of three trucking trade associations: the New Hampshire Motor Transport Association, the Massachusetts Motor Transportation Association, and the Vermont Truck & Bus Association. In front of the Supreme Court of the United States, we won an unusual unanimous ruling that invalidated two provisions of Maine law that would have imposed state regulation on the services that motor carriers provide when they deliver packages containing tobacco.
San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
We represented the Authority, from its creation in January of 2002, through the transfer of the San Diego International Airport from its prior operator, the San Diego Unified Port District, to the Authority. This included the negotiation of transfers of the personal property, real estate and contracts relating to the Airport, and negotiating a division of the financial assets held by the Port, but deriving from the Airport, as well as working with the Federal Aviation Administration on the approval of the transfer, and numerous state and regional regulatory authorities on the repermitting of the operations of the Airport upon the transfer. We also drafted new codes and policies to guide the new Authority's activities. We continue to advise the Authority in a wide variety of matters, including its first Airport Master Plan and Environmental Impact Report on that Plan, both adopted in May 2008, and litigation with the exclusive FBO operator.
Southwest Airlines
We negotiated, on behalf of Southwest Airlines, a new lease and use agreement and a concession agreement with the City of Chicago and a consortium of companies, for the proposed $2.6 billion transaction to transfer Midway Airport to a private operator.

Chambers USA 2015
National: Transportation: Aviation: Litigation

Legal 500 US 2015
Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense: Aerospace & Aviation

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