Firmwide Vice Chair, Accessibility, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiative
Tim, a former senior U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) official, focuses his practice on advising clients on a broad range of transportation-related operational, litigation and enforcement, business, regulatory and legislative issues, while promoting safety, compliance, innovation, efficiencies and cost savings. With a deep understanding of the regulators, developed after nearly a decade leading matters of national and global significance at DOT, he helps clients marshal resources, achieve their goals, drive compliance, mitigate safety and business risks, and expand business and policy opportunities.
Tim helps clients adapt and bring order to constant disruption with lessons learned - from both sides of the table - in leading numerous high-profile litigation and enforcement actions (including matters before the U.S. Supreme Court and D.C. Circuit), consent orders, and teams in the automotive and mobility industry, as well as other transportation modes.
Tim brings creativity to solving problems in high-profile matters, including defending government inquiries and enforcement proceedings, negotiating multi-million- dollar government consent orders/settlements, safety, regulatory compliance and risk mitigation efforts, leading compliance audits and organizational change, standards enforcement, defects and non-compliance investigations, recall implementation, self-certification of standards, homologation, best practices and emerging trends.
While at the DOT, Tim served in various capacities, including at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and in the Secretary of Transportation’s Office of the General Counsel. As NHTSA’s Assistant Chief Counsel for Litigation and Enforcement, Tim was the chief legal officer for litigation and enforcement for the 600-plus employee federal agency. As a senior trial attorney in the Secretary of Transportation’s Office of the General Counsel, he led DOT legal teams in handling a wide variety of significant litigation matters and administrative proceedings.
Before joining DOT/NHTSA, Tim litigated on behalf of companies and individuals in various high-value matters. He was a seagoing officer in the U.S. Navy prior to practicing law.
Tim received his J.D., cum laude, from Case Western Reserve University School of Law, where he served as the executive articles editor for the Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, and his B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. He also completed the Strategic Management of Regulatory and Enforcement Agencies Program, Executive Education at Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Examples of Tim’s experience include:
Regulatory & Safety Compliance
- Providing the most current compliance insights, having negotiated – on both sides of the table – most of the landmark NHTSA consent orders and settlement agreements since 2015 involving safety regulatory obligations, including one of the three civil penalty consent orders concluded during the last presidential administration.
- Negotiating and working with NHTSA representatives to enhance company relationships with agency decision-makers, minimize corporate pain, and help companies navigate safety regulatory and compliance issues, including recall and field action obligations, investigation response and defense, and recall management and implementation matters.
- Partnering with corporate counsel to develop targeted safety programs aimed at instilling and expanding a robust corporate safety culture to help avoid future compliance problems and mitigate enforcement/civil penalty risks.
- Assisting manufacturers and operators of Automated Driving Systems (ADS) and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) in reporting certain crash incidents involving autonomous vehicles under NHTSA’s most recent Standing General Order (SGO).
- Providing ongoing advice and counsel to the corporate technical/product safety committees of several U.S. and global companies responsible for the determination of defect, compliance, field action and recall issues for the companies’ respective vehicles and equipment.
- Creating first-of-their-kind regulatory and legislative strategies for several prominent U.S. and international mobility and automotive clients to advance ADS and ADAS development and deployment in the absence of regulatory certainty.
- Leading a multi-month comprehensive legal and engineering analysis and assessment for a Fortune 500 mobility OEM on pre-production and design issues for new vehicle products and associated lines that avoided potentially costly safety and quality issues, promoted increased teamwork within the company’s relevant engineering and business units, and promoted the company’s market objectives.
- Conducting an internal regulatory and safety compliance review for a Fortune 50 multinational corporation and technology company, resulting in key business insights and recommended process improvements for operations and sales in the U.S. and global mobility and automotive sectors.
- Working with the firm’s Environmental practice group to advise mobility and automotive clients on environmental legal issues, particularly regulatory issues under the Clean Air Act and CARB mobile source emission regulations, and attendant matters before EPA and CARB.
- Providing clients with common-sense interpretations of federal statutes and regulations with clear business direction for business units, including, among other things, FMVSSs, early warning (EWR) and TREAD Act reporting, foreign recall reporting, registration, labeling, VIN requirements, vehicle importation, prototypes and other NHTSA regulatory requirements.
- Preparing petitions for determinations of inconsequential noncompliance, requests for temporary exemptions from federal safety standards, requests for agency interpretation of existing federal statutes and regulations, and requests for protection of confidential business information (CBI).
- Providing U.S. and global clients with business development advice and counsel on growth opportunities, including identifying new product segment and content feature opportunities, and guidance for startups with go-to-market strategies for novel mobility solutions.
- Facilitating business partnerships and joint ventures among leading automotive companies, technology and product suppliers, mobility startups and applicable regulators.
- Drafting, reviewing and negotiating contracts and contract language on safety determination reporting responsibilities and recall cost recovery and risk allocation.
- Drafting, reviewing and negotiating contracts and contract language on mobility and emerging technology research projects and analysis of product usage, human factors, human machine interface (HMI) considerations and safety system integrity.
Litigation & Enforcement
- Defended countless NHTSA enforcement proceedings, defect and compliance investigations and recalls, and a host of other NHTSA administrative proceedings.
- Working with clients and the firm’s litigators in NHTSA investigations, product liability matters and class action litigations to cost-effectively identify, preserve, collect, process and produce relevant and material electronic data and documents involving hundreds of custodians, millions of documents and documents in foreign languages, including managing review teams for large document review projects in a centralized document review center, drafting and reviewing discovery responses to NHTSA, other federal agencies and courts.
- Working closely with the firm’s litigators in product liability cases, class action matters and cases involving judicial review of federal regulatory decisions, including issues regarding, among other things, associated compliance with federal safety standards, emerging technologies, ADS, ADAS, associated standards of care and preemption.
- Creating, in the absence of crisis and in collaboration with the firm’s litigators, modern and innovative approaches for clients that integrate regulatory issues arising in civil actions to benefit product liability litigation, class action litigation, and government inquiries and enforcement cases.
Legislative & Policy
- Providing strategic leadership for U.S. and global automotive and mobility OEMs in crisis management situations for recent high-profile government enforcement matters with significant congressional and media scrutiny, including proactive measures to build relationships with key federal regulators and other stakeholders.
- Developing client successes in connection with pending federal and state legislative proposals and policy issues, including, among other things, strategic advice and insights, legislative and regulatory monitoring, analyzing comments in federal rule-making proceedings, and day-to-day legal and engineering counseling that helps navigate the administrative and legislative processes.
- Preparing legislative testimony and comments in federal rule-making proceedings.
- Drafting legislative and regulatory language, with an eye to providing leadership to advance clients’ business goals and policy objectives.
- Representing clients before relevant trade associations and industry forums.
- Thompson Hine Mobility Matters Quarterly, October 2021
- “Executive Order Targets Rail, Ocean and Air Transportation Competition and Unreasonable Practices,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, July 2021
- Quoted, “Crash-report mandate a turning point for AV tech,” Automotive News, July 2021
- “U.S. Autonomous Driving Developments,” Association of Transportation Law Professionals (ATLP) Annual Meeting, June 2021
- “Liability Standards and Artificial Intelligence,” PLAC Fall 2020 Conference, October 2020
- “Infotainment Systems & Evaluating Driver Attention Events/Distraction,” PLAC Webinar Series, August 2020
- “Navigating the Regulatory Morass to Advance Emerging Technologies,” American Bar Association (ABA) Administrative Law Conference, Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice, November 2019
- “Interview with NHTSA on Regulatory Oversight, Recalls, and Safety Standards,” ACI Product Liability Litigation, July 2019
- Presenter and chair, “Automated/Autonomous Driving Systems (ADS) Innovation Boot Camp for Automotive Product Liability Litigators,” ACI National Advanced Forum on Automotive Product Liability Litigation, July 2018
- “Smart Products: Evolving Liability and Coverage Issues,” International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) Annual Meeting, July 2017
- “Self-Driving/Autonomous Vehicles: Advancements in Technology, Complex Insurance Issues, Shared Vehicles, Engineering Design, Regulatory Concerns, Ethical Considerations, and Litigation Risk,” ACI National Forum on Automotive Product Liability Litigation, June 2017
- Listed in Legal 500 (Transportation: Rail and Road), 2021
- Federal Senior Executive Service (key positions just below top presidential appointees, the highest-ranking 1% of career federal workforce)
- NHTSA Manager of the Year
- DOT Lawrence R. Schneider Award (DOT’s highest recognition of outstanding legal achievement)
- DOT General Counsel’s Award for Exceptional Performance (General Counsel’s highest award)
- DOT Gold Medal (Department’s highest award)
- NHTSA Administrator’s Superior Achievement and Superior Accomplishment Awards
- U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
- D.C. Bar, member
- PLAC (formerly the Product Liability Advisory Council), sustaining member
- The George Washington University Law School, professorial lecturer (upper-level litigation and scholarly writing courses)
- Georgetown University Alumni Admissions Committee, Annapolis/Anne Arundel County, chair
Crash-report mandate a turning point for AV techAutomotive News
July 03, 2021
November 14, 2019
Thompson Hine Welcomes Premier Mobility and Automotive Team to Transportation Practice in Washington - Timothy H. Goodman, Former NHTSA Assistant Chief Counsel for Enforcement, and William L. Godfrey, Former NHTSA Division Chief, Join Firm
November 14, 2019