Christopher J. Merrick

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Chris Merrick represents rail carriers, motor carriers (including household goods carriers), freight forwarders, warehouses, and ocean carriers in a wide variety of commercial matters.  Chris handles all stages of litigation, including appellate litigation and alternative dispute resolution, on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants. Chris also assists clients with preparation and revision of their commercial contracts, as well as navigating challenging regulatory issues impacting their operations.


Chris has handled multimillion-dollar contractual disputes between multinational corporations and “bet the company” matters involving unique and diverse actions such as: Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) actions; litigation arising out of complex transportation statutes, treaties, and regulations; and defending carrier clients named in class action lawsuits. In addition, Chris defends carriers in high-value freight loss and damage suits throughout the country, and pursues recovery of expenditures incurred by carriers due to the negligence of outside parties. 


In addition to this litigation work, Chris assists clients with their unique legal needs related to the international, interstate, and intrastate transportation and storage of goods. This has included navigating and overcoming the legal and logistical hurdles associated with transporting historically-significant items from the White House and negotiating terms for international transportation and storage of priceless paintings prior to their sale at auction.


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


Chris is a long-time member of the National Conference of Freight Counsel and the Villanova Law School J. Willard O’Brien American Inn of Court. Chris and his wife Hillorie have two children, Simon and George. 

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

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PRACTICE AREAS

  • class action defense
  • freight loss and damage
  • expenditure recovery
  • fraud and RICO actions
  • admiralty and maritime disputes
  • general commercial litigation
  • appellate advocacy
  • transportation and logistics contracts

ADMISSIONS

  • Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
  • Supreme Court of New Jersey
  • U. S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U. S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U. S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U. S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U. S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U. S. District Court, District of New Jersey
  • U. S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana
  • U. S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • U. S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • U. S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U. S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana
  • U. S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas

PRESENTATIONS & 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)

REPRESENTATIVE ENGAGEMENTS

  

  • Norfolk S. Ry. Co. v. Jefferson Iron & Metal Brokerage, Inc., 2012 WL 12951918 (N.D. Ala. Mar. 16, 2012), aff'd, 490 F. App'x 297 (11th Cir. 2012) successful in persuading trial and appellate courts that constructive notice for purposes of assessing demurrage can be established through electronic data available on carrier’s website
  • 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
  • CSX Transp., Inc. v. Emjay Envtl. Recycling, Ltd., 2014 WL 4175798 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 20, 2014), aff'd, 629 F. App'x 147 (2d Cir. 2015) successfully obtained summary judgment for client, and affirmance in appellate court, in complex contractual dispute involving more than $1 million in unpaid carrier freight charges and counterclaim seeking more than $1 million in damages
  • Norfolk S. Ry. Co. v. Baltimore & Annapolis R.R. Co., 2016 WL 11606622 (D.S.C. Apr. 25, 2016), aff'd in relevant part, 715 F. App'x 244 (4th Cir. 2017) successfully obtained summary judgment on client affirmative claim, as well as preliminary injunction, fee-shifting, and affirmance in appellate court, in dispute involving conversion of client property
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 involving electric transformer
  • Alfamodess Logistics, LLC v. Catalent Pharma Sols., LLC, 2014 WL 4545763 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 12, 2014) assisted with obtaining successful ruling for client at bench trial in matter involving attempts to defraud client by insider in client shipping department and brokerage company
  • Daniluk v. Norfolk S. Ry. Co., 2015 WL 148560 (D. Colo. Jan. 12, 2015) successfully obtained summary judgment for client in international shipping dispute involving tortious interference claims against client
  • CSX Transportation, Inc. v. PSL N. Am., LLC, 2015 WL 9181107 (N.D. Ala. Dec. 17, 2015) obtained 100% recovery for client at trial in commercial dispute arising out of damages incurred by client due to shipper’s improper loading of pipe for transportation
  • CSX Transportation, Inc. v. Five Star Enter. of Illinois, Inc., 2018 WL 6735705 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 24, 2018) successfully defeated claim for more than $30 million in damages against client and additionally obtained judgment against shipper and its owner personally in conjunction with their perpetration of fraud scheme against client 
  • Norfolk S. Ry. Co. v. Boatright R.R. Prod., Inc., 2019 WL 1199836 (N.D. Ala. Mar. 14, 2019) defending client in contract, RICO, and fraud action related to alleged fraudulent treatment of more than 4.5 million rail ties leading to multimillion-dollar damages