Regulatory, DOT, and Hazardous Materials Compliance
Regulatory Compliance: Even in today's "deregulated" environment, regulatory compliance still has a visible and important presence in the transportation industry. The Scopelitis firm has an understanding of the transportation-related regulatory requirements in each of the 48 states as well as in Canada and Mexico. As such, we assist our clients in obtaining the necessary operating authorities, permits, and licenses needed for intrastate, interstate, and international business operations. We also regularly assist clients in matters involving the International Registration Plan, the International Fuel Tax Agreement, Unified Carrier Registration, U.S. Customs approvals, alcoholic beverage commission licenses, and other regulatory requirements pertinent to the transportation industry.
When a dispute does arise with a state or federal administrative agency with respect to a regulatory compliance issue, it is important to have legal counsel who possess complete familiarity with both the regulations and the issues specific to the industry. Our attorneys regularly practice before such agencies as the DOT, FMCSA, IRS, NLRB, Department of Labor, and state administrative agencies on issues specific to transportation. This experience allows us to represent and assist clients on virtually any transportation issue in any state or federal forum.
DOT: With the abolishment of the Interstate Commerce Commission, the U.S. Department of Transportation took on additional authority and enforcement activities. In today's environment, safety is an essential element of a successful operation and the key to maintaining a good working relationship with the DOT. Importantly, the DOT often equates a safe operation with a compliant one. Thus, for DOT purposes, safety and compliance go hand in hand.
Scopelitis attorneys assist clients in complying with both DOT and related state laws and regulations and regularly defend carriers in civil forfeiture proceedings. Additionally, we have developed a consulting program in which experienced attorneys conduct a "mock" DOT audit at a client's office to spot particular problem areas and assist the client in achieving compliance, thus minimizing claims and liability exposure.
Hazardous Materials: In addition to DOT compliance, clients that handle or transport hazardous materials or wastes are subject to a litany of regulations from the DOT, as well as the EPA, OSHA, and each individual state. Transporting hazardous materials in interstate commerce can be particularly problematic because each state through which a shipment may travel has its own unique permitting, routing, and emergency response procedures. We have extensive experience in assisting clients' lawful transportation of hazardous materials and waste in intrastate, interstate, and international commerce. Moreover, through our DOT consulting program, we assist clients in establishing the hazardous materials training and emergency response programs required under federal and state law. Finally, if a liability claim or government fine results from the transportation or unintentional release of a hazardous substance, we have the experience to successfully defend clients in any administrative or civil litigation proceeding.