Sandra L. Brown
Washington D.C. Chair, Spotlight on Women
Sandy is a partner in the firm's Transportation group. She represents bulk commodity shippers and other entities that use transportation services including Fortune 500 companies, electric utilities, government entities and ports that buy, sell or move coal, aggregates, chemicals, crude oil and other hazardous materials by rail. Sandy also has past experience representing a Class I Railroad. This unique blend of experience assists Sandy in providing strategic counsel for the transportation of bulk commodities aimed at increasing competitive leverage including counsel on rail construction options, contract negotiation and drafting, federal preemption, rate challenges, rail merger and other regulatory proceedings before the Surface Transportation Board. Sandy also defends shippers in contract and derailment disputes with railroads.
Prior to joining Thompson Hine, Sandy was a partner with Troutman Sanders LLP. Before entering private practice, she was an attorney with the White House Counsel's office and the Interstate Commerce Commission.
- Representation of a coalition of county governments in a 43-mile rail construction project to enhance economic development including shepherding through the federal construction approval process and National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) review and assisting the client in obtaining P3 funding for the project.
- Counsel to crude oil owner and railcar lessee on regulatory, and commercial issues related to crude-by-rail and derailment liability.
- Counsel and implement construction and operation of rail line projects for clients to transport coal and other bulk commodities, including securing necessary regulatory and environmental authorization from the Surface Transportation Board, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
- Advising various energy companies in contract negotiations throughout the logistics chain in crude-by-rail industry.
- Representing a shipper owned railroad in one of the largest rail abandonments including application of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA) and the National Trails System Act, 16 USC § 1247(d) (Trails Act).
- Advising major fuel supplier on Carmack Amendment liability for a derailment in multi-carrier movement of hazardous materials.
- Provide counsel to a Midwest energy company in developing and implementing a transportation and coal supply strategy designed to establish or enhance competitive coal transportation alternatives with one such strategy alone resulting in $15 million a year savings for the company.
- Provide strategic counsel to several leading power companies in North America. Representation includes: review, assessment, and negotiation of transportation, fuel and related agreements, along with counsel on all related fuel strategies including regulatory issues, rail competition issues, rate and fuel surcharge challenges at the STB and courts, derailments, coal dust, embargoes, force majeure implications and service and reliability issues.
- Representation of a West Coast port on the acquisition of 134-mile rail line through the “Feeder Line” process at the Surface Transportation Board to preserve the long-term connection to national rail system for domestic and international trade, including counsel on the financing and P3 funding for the rebuilding and ongoing operation of the rail asset.
- Counsel to aggregates and other bulk commodity shippers on issues such as commodity exemptions, federal preemption and the common carrier obligation as it relates to rail transportation.
- Prepare testimony, provide legal analysis and lead discovery process for railroad and shipper clients in numerous major rail merger proceedings and other STB proceedings.
- Litigation and advocacy counsel to railroads, citizen groups, utility companies and state and local governments on appellate review of agency decisions in federal courts.
- Provide legislative and policy counsel for railroads, state and local governments, and other entities on transportation issues, including the successful obtainment of Federal appropriations for transportation projects
- “STB Issues Final Rule on Expediting Rate Cases,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, December 2017
- “Court Denies Class Certification in Rail Freight Fuel Surcharge Antitrust Litigation,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, October 2017
- “STB Proposes Changes to Ex Parte Communication Rules,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, October 2017
- “Elliott to Depart STB, Leaving Just Two Members,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, September 2017
- “STB Reschedules Listening Session on CSXT Service,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, September 2017
- “STB Postpones CSX Service Hearing,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, September 2017
- “STB Public Listening Session on CSXT Service,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, August 2017
- “STB Proposes Rulemaking to Expedite Rate Review Process,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, April 2017
- “STB Issues Arbitration Procedure Final Rules,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, October 2016
- “STB Seeks Comments on New Rail Rate Case Methodology,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, September 2016
- “STB Seeks Comments on a Proposal to Facilitate Rail Competition Under New Reciprocal Switching Rules,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, July 2016
- “Class Certification Hearing Format Set in Fuel Surcharge Litigation,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, July 2016
- “STB Seeks Comments on Expediting Rate Cases,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, June 2016
- “STB Initiates Two Rulemaking Proceedings,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, May 2016
- “New Fuel Surcharge Litigation Class Certification Hearing Dates,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, April 2016
- “STB Seeks Comments on Proposed Rail Merger Structure,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, March 2016
- “FMCSA NPRM on Motor Carrier Safety Fitness Determinations,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, February 2016
- "Could Preemption be a Defense to Environmental Claims on Coal Dust During Transportation? And if so, is there any Benefit for Shippers?" Surface Transportation Board Update, 2015
- “STB Reauthorization Act of 2015,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, December 2015
- “Regulatory Developments – STB Moves Toward Relaxing Ex Parte Communication Ban; FMC Final Rule Modifies Ocean Transportation Intermediary Regulations,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, November 2015
- “Fuel Surcharge Class Certification Hearing Delayed,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, September 2015
- “TRB Report Recommends Significant Rail Regulatory Changes,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, June 2015
- “New Tank Car Standards & Rules for Crude Oil & Ethanol,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, May 1, 2015
- “DOT Addresses Safety of Crude Oil & Ethanol Trains,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, April 2015
- “Rail Transportation: Recent Developments,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, April 2015
- “STB Proposes Performance Reporting, Requests Coal Contingency Plans,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, January 2015
- “STB Retains $4 Million Relief Cap for Small Rate Cases,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, December 2014
- “Expert’s Potential Conflict Delays Fuel Surcharge Litigation,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, December 2014
- “DOT Proposes New Tank Car Standards, Classification Rules & Operational Controls for Crude Oil & Ethanol Transportation,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, July 2014
- "STB to Reconsider Rail Fuel Surcharge Safe Harbor," Thompson Hine Transportation Update, May 2014
- “Federal Court Dismisses Rail Indemnity Tariff Challenge,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, May 2014
- “Surface Transportation Board to Examine Core Element of Rail Regulation,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, April 2014
- "Notice of Public Hearing – United States Rail Service Issues," Thompson Hine Transportation Update, April 2014
- “FRA Clarifies Jurisdiction Over Private Track Owners,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, January 2014
- “Surface Transportation Board Update,” Coal Transporter, July 2013
- Co-author, "Section 11102: Is It the Answer to Competitive Access? – Examining the Varying Standards Applied by the Surface Transportation Board When It Is Determining Whether to Grant Terminal Trackage Rights Access," Journal of Transportation Law, Logistics and Policy, Spring 1999
- “Update on STB activities: Times they are a-changin’,” National Coal Transportation Association, 42nd Annual Meeting and Conference, September 2016
- Panelist, “Fuel Flexibility and Balance,” National Coal Transportation Association, 42nd Annual Meeting and Conference, September 2016
- "STB Update,” National Coal Transportation Association, April 2015
- Roundtable Discussion on Coal Dust Mitigation, National Coal Transportation Association, April 2010
- Testimony at Surface Transportation Board's Hearing: Renewed Petition, Western Coal Traffic League, Regarding Railroad Sale or Lease Agreements and "Paper Barriers," STB Ex Parte No. 575, July 2006
- "Something's Gotta Give – Where do Shippers and Railroads Go from Here?", National Coal Transportation Association, April 2006
- "Fuel Procurement Management: Supply, Stockpile & Transportation Administration," American Coal Council, October 2004
- "Rail Transportation Rates," Virginia Conference on World Trade, October 2003
- Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, 2016 - 2018
- Recognized in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Transportation, Nationwide, 2012 to 2017
- Selected for inclusion in Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers in Transportation/Maritime 2013 to 2015
- American Coal Council, member, 2002 to 2008
- Association for Transportation Law Professionals, 1997 to present; ATLP Secretary, 2004 to 2005; ATLP Program Committee Chair, 2003 to 2004; D.C. chapter president, 2002 to 2003
- National Coal Council, member by appointment of U.S. Secretary of Energy, 2004 to 2007
- Member of the Ambassadors Council for N Street Village, 2015 to present
- Special Olympics Basketball Coach, 1996 to present
July 27, 2014