Christopher-J.-Merrick

Practice Areas

Freight Loss and Damage Litigation; Expenditure Recovery Litigation; Admiralty and Maritime Disputes; General Commercial Litigation; Appellate Advocacy; Transportation and Logistics Contracts; Alternative Dispute Resolution and Mediation

Education

  • Villanova University School of Law, J.D., 2008
  • Appalachian State University, B.S., 2003

Contact Information
Direct Line: 267.628.1520
E-Mail: cmerrick@freightlaw.net

Christopher J. Merrick

Background

Chris Merrick is an officer of Keenan Cohen & Merrick, P.C. and focuses his practice on the national representation of rail carriers, motor carriers, and ocean carriers in connection with a wide variety of claims arising out of major derailments and collisions.  Chris both defends carriers in high-value freight loss and damage suits filed by shippers, and pursues recovery of expenditures incurred by carriers due to the negligence of outside parties.

In addition to freight loss and damage matters, Chris handles a wide array of commercial disputes for transportation carriers and other clients.  These engagements have included national and international contract disputes between multi-national corporations, as well as other transportation related matters ranging from products liability to bankruptcy.

Chris’s practice extends to all stages of litigation, and includes appellate litigation and alternative dispute resolution. Chris has obtained a number of successful results for clients in state and federal appellate courts throughout the country in a wide variety of commercial disputes.  And, when preferred by the client, Chris has successfully represented the interests of clients in matters submitted to private arbitration.

Prior to joining Keenan Cohen & Merrick, Chris was a law clerk to the Honorable Lynne A. Sitarski of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and he served as a Special Deputy Attorney General in the Civil Litigation Section of the New Jersey Attorney General’s office.

Chris’s professional activities include membership in the National Conference of Freight Counsel and the Villanova Law School J. Willard O’Brien American Inn of Court.

Admissions

  • Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
  • Supreme Court of New Jersey
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • United States District Court for the District of Colorado
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana

Representative Engagements

CNA Ins. Co. v. Hyundai Merch. Marine Co., Ltd.,747 F.3d 339 (6th Cir. 2014), in a matter of first impression on the circuit-court level, successfully argued that the Carmack Amendment does not apply to export intermodal shipments transported under a through bill of lading, resulting in reversal of trial-court judgment against rail clients and their dismissal from case

Norfolk S. Ry. Co. v. Jefferson Iron & Metal Brokerage, Inc., 490 F. App’x 297 (11th Cir. 2012), successful in persuading appellate court that constructive notice for purposes of assessing demurrage can be established through electronic information available on carrier’s website

Nipponkoa Ins. Co., Ltd. v. Norfolk S. Ry. Co., 794 F. Supp. 2d 838 (S.D. Ohio 2011), successfully persuaded court to extend covenant not to sue clause appearing in ocean carrier’s bill of lading to downstream rail carrier, resulting in client’s dismissal

Phoenix Ins. Co., Ltd. v. Norfolk S. R.R. Corp., 2014 WL 2008958 (D.N.J. May 16, 2014), successfully persuaded Court to enforce $25,000 limitation of liability in seven-figure freight damage claim against client

Am. Home Assur. v. A.P. Moller-Maersk, 2013 WL 8558970 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 12, 2013) and 2014 WL 1303610 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 31, 2014), successfully obtained dismissal of all claims against rail and ocean carrier clients in high-value freight loss and damage claim involving subrogated insurer

Norfolk S. Ry. Co. v. Sun Chem. Corp., 318 Ga. App. 893, 735 S.E.2d 19 (2012)cert denied (April 29, 2013), successfully persuaded appellate court to enforce tariff provision limiting freight damage claims to direct customers of client, resulting in judgment in favor of client and client’s dismissal

Publications

  • The Continuing Role of Carrier Tariffs in the Aftermath of ABB, Inc., v. CSX Transportation, Inc., The Transportation Lawyer, Volume 15 No. 2 at 33-35 (Oct. 2013) (co-authored with C. Fredric Marcinak)
  • A New Take on Locomotive Video: A Troubling New Trend in the Discoverability of Locomotive Viewer Software, Rail Law Reconnaissance (Oct. 2013)
  • East Coast Coal Shippers: The Walking Dead?, Rail Law Reconnaissance (Feb. 2013) (co-authored with Paul D. Keenan)

Personal

Chris and his wife Hillorie have two sons.  Prior to law school, Chris’s interests in international affairs led to positions with the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the German Bundestag in Berlin.  Chris also worked as a sommelier in one of the nation’s best restaurants.  As a native of North Carolina, and an avid sports fan, Chris suffers through the trials and tribulations of his home state’s collegiate and professional sports teams – particularly the Carolina Panthers.

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