Overview

Hal is a partner in the firm's Admiralty & Maritime practice group with a significant interest in admiralty law and chemical exposure. He focuses his practice on defense of Jones Act and longshoremen's personal injury actions, maritime tort actions, cargo damage actions, commercial litigation, toxic tort defense (asbestos and chemical exposure), federal multidistrict litigation (asbestos), marine insurance disputes, maritime arbitrations, salvage matters, maritime lien and vessel arrest matters, marine environmental matters, Coast Guard matters and general representation of vessel owners.

Hal has defended clients in actions involving personal injury to and deaths of seamen, longshoremen and harbor workers (slips, falls, fire, explosion, crush injuries, head injuries, cumulative trauma, back injuries and toxic exposures to asbestos, benzene, miscellaneous chemicals, noise).

He also has served as trial counsel in matters involving property damage (grounding, collision, allision, propeller wash, submarine cable damage, dock damage), cargo damage (carrier, consignee) and marine insurance coverage.

Hal has appeared before courts in jurisdictions across the country including Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, New York, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, U.S. Virgin Islands, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Alabama.

Prior to joining the firm, Hal was a staff attorney with the Office of the Chief Counsel of the Coast Guard from 1979 to 1982, and prior to that was an assistant legal officer of the 9th Coast Guard District from 1976 to 1979. Additionally, from 1970 to 1982, Hal was a commissioned officer of the United States Coast Guard with three years of shipboard experience.


Experience
  • Successfully represented a shipowner before en banc Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, resulting in holding that seamen cannot recover for heart attack due to work-related stress.
  • Successfully represented shipowners before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, resulting in holding that as a matter of law, seamen cannot recover punitive damages from a shipowner-employer under Jones Act or for unseaworthiness.
  • Successfully represented shipowners before the Washington Court of Appeals, resulting in favorable ruling on accrual of statute of limitations in seamen's toxic exposure cases.
  • Successfully represented a shipowner before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, resulting in holding the dock owner was obligated to indemnify shipowner for death of a seaman who fell from dock, notwithstanding shipowner negligence that contributed to the fall.
  • Successfully represented a shipowner before the Ohio Court of Appeals, resulting in vacating $1.8 million personal injury verdict as excessive due to passion and prejudice of jury.
  • Represented a shipowner in negotiations with the Department of Justice, resulting in satisfactory resolution of $3.5 million claim for oil pollution cleanup expenses from sunken vessel.
  • Represented a shipowner in defense of a seaman's claim of career-ending back injury, resulting in jury verdict for the shipowner.

Significant Cases

  • Szymanski v. Columbia Transportation Co., 154 F.3d 591 (6th Cir., 1998) (en banc)
  • Miller v. American President Lines, Ltd., 989 F. 2d 1450 (6th Cir., 1993), cert. denied 510 U.S. 915 (1993)
  • Oglebay Norton Co. v. CSX Corp., 788 F. 2d 361 (6th Cir., 1986), cert. denied 479 U.S. 849 (1986)
  • Miller v. Foster Wheeler Co., 993 P.2d 917 (Wash. App. 1999)
  • Kasper v. Oglebay Norton Co., 1998 A.M.C. 1158 (N.D. Ohio 1998)
  • Federal Ins. Co. v. PGG Realty, LLC, 2007 A.M.C. 1125 (S.D.N.Y. 2007), aff'd 340 Fed. Appx. 5 (2nd Cir. July 9, 2009)
  • In Re Asbestos Prod. Liab. Litig. (No. VI), 965 F. Supp. 2d 612 (E.D. Pa. 2013); In Re Asbestos Prod. Liab. Litig. (No. VI), 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33768 (E.D. Pa. March 11, 2014)
Presentations
  • "1993 Amendments to Federal Rules of Civil Procedures," Maritime Law Association, October 1993
Distinctions
  • The Best Lawyers in America 2006 to 2019; recognized in 2016 Maritime Law "Lawyer of the Year"
  • The Best Lawyers in America 2013 and 2018 Cleveland Admiralty & Maritime Law "Lawyer of the Year"
Professional and Civic

Professional Associations

  • Lake Carriers Association, general counsel, 1992 to present

Professional Activities

  • Defense Research Institute, Member
  • Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University,  lecturer in law (Admiralty), 2001 to 2008
  • Propeller Club, Port of Cleveland

 

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