STEVEN W. BLOCK
Member

Steven W. Block

Steve has over 30 years of experience representing clients of all sizes in all modes of transportation and logistics; as well as in general commercial litigation before courts and administrative bodies across the country. He counsels and represents local and national transportation service providers and consumers, as well as companies involved in a wide array of commercial disputes.

Steve represents domestic and international maritime, trucking, aviation and railroad companies in litigation concerning lost and damaged cargo; licensing and regulatory matters before state and federal agencies; freight broker liability; freight charge disputes; employment and independent contractor matters; and insurance coverage. He also prepares and provides consultation regarding transportation and logistics, freight brokerage, and shipper/carrier contracts; interline and sub-haul agreements; owner-operator leases and employed driver contracts; and shipping and warehousing documentation. As a general commercial litigator, Steve is experienced in business, real estate and land use, intellectual property, and employment law.

Activities

Association of Transportation Law Professionals

  • National President, 2005-2006
  • Puget Sound Chapter President, 1999-2000

Cardozo Society of Washington State

Conference of Freight Counsel

Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals

Maritime Law Association of the United States

  • Proctor in Admiralty 

National Industrial Transportation League

  • Associate Member

Seattle Transportation Club

Transportation Club of Tacoma

Transportation Lawyers Association

  • Admiralty and Maritime Law Committee, Co-Chair, 2000-2012

Washington State Bar Association

  • Litigation Section
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Publications

Steve is a prolific writer. He has authored numerous articles under his monthly column, Legal Lookout, as the western United States member of ForwarderLaw (an internet-based repository of legal resources of interest to the shipping community - www.forwarderlaw.com); and as co-editor of the Motor Column of ATLP Highlights. He is a frequent contributor to The Transportation Lawyer (published by the Transportation Lawyers Association). 

What’s up on the Washington Wharves? Developments in the U.S. Pacific Northwest’s Ports

Presented at the Canadian Transportation Lawyers Association 2010 Conference

Maritime Modal Update

Presented at the Transportation Lawyers Association 2010 Conference

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The Intermodal Lead

Legal Lookout

October 2018 - The evolution continues: FMC accommodates NVOCC contracting by revising regs governing NSAs and NRAs

December 2017 - Paying to play: Considerations transportation intermediaries should consider before contractually accepting cargo liability

September 2017 - Hurricanes highlight the Jones Act’s faults

April 2017 - FMC overhauls regs governing service contract and NSA filing

August 2016 - COGSA may be extended to on-deck cargo, but the extension must be express

March 2016 - DC Court of Appeals doesn’t like FMC’s rationale for allowing disparate rates

December 2015 - The material deviation doctrine hits the road

September 2015 - Remotely located contract terms: incorporated tariffs, rules, terms and conditions, and other documents

July 2015 - Spring cleaning at the ports: a summary of recent legislative and regulatory attention directed at the wharves

March 2015 - A non-vessel operating common carrier isn't a cargo owner for purposes of claims against shipper

December 2014 - Arbitration clauses can't be unconscionable, at least within the Ninth Circuit

October 2014 - NVOCCs must require original bill of lading for delivery, and failure to do so is an FMC-actionable Shipping Act violation

July 2014 - Holding Vessels Liable for their Owners’ Debt: a Couple Illustrative Cases

March 2014 - The Maritime Goods Movement act for the 21st Century Act - a proposed measure to send seaport use fees where they're needed and properly directed

September-October 2013 - The shifting tides of punitive damages in maritime personal injury claims rise in seamen's favor

May-August 2013 - By Land or By Sea...A Comparison of the Fundamentals of the Carmack and COGSA Liability Regimes

January-April 2013 - Parked Freight: the Legal Issues of Storage and Distribution Logistics

December 2012 - Competitors of a said-to-be fraudulently documented water carrier have no private right of action under state law

November 2012 - Classification Societies probably don’t have duties to third parties, but even if they do, a “reckless misconduct” standard is tough to meet.

October 2012 - Product liability in the maritime law context: a federal court sitting in Admiralty sorts out state law issues.

September 2012 - COGSA can contractually kick in only after carrier takes custody

July-August 2012 - MAP-21: New Surface Transportation Legislation Overcomes Political Obstacles to Bring Law Closer to Industry Realities

June 2012 - A P&I primer: how the ocean shipping industry insures itself.

May 2012 - The Harbor Maintenance Tax: what’s it really doing to the U.S. port volumes and imports; and what should be done about it?

April 2012 - A consignee isn’t liable for damage to carriers’ equipment caused by bad packaging; or Ocean Transportation Intermediaries’ oft ambiguous role revisited.

March 2012 - Burdens of proof in COGSA claims: Ping Pong, anyone?

February 2012 - You snooze, you lose: how the passage of time can bar maritime claims.

January 2012 - The Discretionary Function Exception to Uncle Sam’s Waiver of Sovereign Immunity shields Coasties from liability.

December 2011 - Transportation Service Providers Other Than Carriers Limit Their Liability Too!

November 2011 - Mitigation of damages: the plaintiff’s duty to its wrongdoer

October 2011 - The evolution of ocean shipping deregulation continues: FMC considers relaxing its requirement of specified rates in service contracts.

September 2011 - The Pennsylvania Rule: Violation of a Safety Regulation Creates Presumption of Fault

August 2011 - The Intersection of Admiralty’s Limitations – of Liability and Right to a Jury Trial

July 2011 - Regal Beloit/Kirby revisited: The Supreme Court’s statutory analysis takes subsequent case law off course.

June 2011 - Charter parties: who’s the “carrier” for purposes of COGSA liability?

May 2011 - Two maritime law queries: What constitutes “discharge” and “delivery” commencing the time to give notice of claim; and is a freight forwarder an “agent” in its relationships with ocean carriers and shippers?

April 2011 - Blurred lines: An intermediary’s roles as cargo owner, dispatcher, and controller of trucking operations produce huge accident liability.

March 2011 - “It’s just not fair”: the doctrine of Unjust Enrichment under maritime law

February 2011 - The impact of a complex charter party arrangement on cargo liability.

January 2011 - But what about my attorneys’ fees?!?!

November-December 2010 - The politics of piracy: contemporary U.S. law addresses a timeless issue.

October 2010 - "The Shipping Act of 2010": the Evolution Continues...

September 2010 - Expanding vessel owner liability and the rights of injured seamen: punitive damages are recoverable in vessel unseaworthiness claims.

July-August 2010 - Regal Beloit: Sompo Japan and kin step aside – the U.S. Supreme Court strikes back by clarifying that Kirby applies to interstate connecting hauls.

June 2010 - The Outer Continental Shelf Land Act: the law’s increasing recognition of land-based, maritime personal injury

May 2010 - NVOCC Tariff Exemption: Deregulation’s stepchild continues making progress toward parity with its industry peers.

April 2010 - Saving Ryan: vessel owners who utilize employees of other maritime service providers must indemnify their employers for personal injury liability.

March 2010 - Who’s an ocean carrier’s “agent” for purposes of extension of COGSA to land-based service providers?

February 2010 - A “customary freight unit” can be determined by flat rate a carrier charges for entire load, but the Rotterdam Rules might change the outcome …

January 2010 - Suit in a non-designated forum results in dismissal of case – and sanctions

Hot Motor Carrier Law

September 2018 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

May 2018 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

April 2018 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

February 2018 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

November 2017 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

September 2017 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

August 2017 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

May 2017 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

March 2017 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

January 2017 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

December 2016 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

September 2016 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

August 2016 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

June 2016 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

March 2016 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

January 2016 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

November 2015 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

October 2015 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

July 2015 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

May 2015 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

March 2015 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

February 2015 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

November 2014 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

September 2014 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

June 2014 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

April 2014 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

February 2014 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

November 2013 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

September 2013 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

July 2013 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

May 2013 - Recent Casses in Motor Carrier Law

March 2013 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

January 2013 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

November 2012 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

September 2012 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

July 2012 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

May 2012 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

March 2012 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

January 2012 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

November 2011 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

September 2011 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

July 2011 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

May 2011 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

March 2011 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

January 2011 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

November 2010 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

September 2010 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

July 2010 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

May 2010 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

March 2010 - Recent Cases in Motor Carrier Law

 

Presentations

The Jubilee Panel! Half-Century Game Changers that Rocked the Transpo World! And How They Impact Our Practices Today

Panelist, Annual Transportation Law Institute, November 2017

2017 Advanced Compliance Workshop

Speaker, Washington Trucking Associations, November 2017

Give Us A Break! Navigating Employment Issues in the Trucking Industry

Speaker, Washington Trucking Associations, February 2017

Cargo Risk Management

Speaker, Building Resilience to Supply Chain Risk & Disruption, February 2017

Trucking/Transportation Company Recordkeeping, Liabilities and Legal Landmines

Speaker, Trucking and Transportation Regulations, Liability and Litigation, National Business Institute, December 2016

Maritime Law & Regulation

Speaker, Certificate in Maritime Management, Pacific Lutheran University, January/February 2016

U.S. Warehousing Law

Speaker, Canadian Transport Lawyers Association Annual Conference, October 2015

Association of Transportation Law Professionals Annual Meeting

  • "Recent Developments in Motor Carrier Law," Speaker, June 2015
  • "From Truck Drivers to Middlemen, What's New Regarding Motor Carrier Law?" Moderator, June 2015
  • "Canadian Transport Law - A Perspective From Up North," Moderator, June 2015

One if by air, two if by sea... (three if by rail): Cargo does not only move by truck!

Speaker, Transportation Lawyers Association Annual Conference, May 2015

Marine Cargo Claims, Start to Finish – Getting’ Around the Heroes and Villains of a Marine Cargo Claim

Moderator, 46th Transportation Law Institute, November 2013

Law of Piracy

Speaker, Center of Excellence for Global Trade & Supply Chain Management, September 2013

Modal Updates: Ocean

Speaker, Canadian Transport Lawyers Association 2013 Annual Conference, September 2013

Vocabulary Vinification

Panelist, Transportation Lawyers Association Annual Conference, May 2013

The Driver/Motor Carrier Relationship – Employment Law Points of Significance to Intermediaries

Speaker, Transportation Intermediaries Association Annual Convention, April 2013

New Developments in Employment & Labor Law

Speaker, Wage & Hour Compliance – Beyond the Basics (Part I), February 2013

How to Protect Evidence of a Trucking Accident from Crash to Trial

Speaker, Safety Management Council of the Washington Trucking Association, December 2012

Update in Recent Regulatory and Legislative Developments

Speaker, Conducting Effective Workplace Investigations, February 2012

Kirby-Sompo Japan-Royal Beloit

Speaker, Federal Bar Association Admiralty Committee & WSBA CLE Course, October 2011

Evolution from the Sea

Speaker, Transportation Lawyers Association Webinar Series: Brief Survey of Maritime Law's Origins, Impacts and Future, August 2011

The Jones Act: How vessel operators are their employees' de facto comprehensive life, health and disability insurers

Speaker, 43rd Transportation Law Institute, October 2010

West Coast Port and Marine Developments

Speaker, 2010 Canadian Transport Lawyers Association Annual Conference, September 2010

Multimodal Lightning Round

Speaker, 2010 TLA Annual Conference and CTLA Mid-Year Meeting, April 2010

Legal Implications of Insurance Coverages Available to Transportation Intermediaries

Speaker, TIA 32nd Annual Convention and Tradeshow, April 2010

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Litigation & Dispute ResolutionBusinessEmployment & LaborPortsReal EstateTransportation (Chair)Yachts, Ships & Submersibles

Contact

Tel: 206.447.7273Fax: 206.749.2109

Recognition

Washington Super Lawyers list, 2008-2018

Martindale-Hubbell AV rating

Education

LL.M., Admiralty, Tulane Law School, 1994

J.D., American University Washington College of Law, 1986

M.A., Middlebury College, 1985

Certificate, Moscow’s Pushkin Institute, 1983

B.A., University of North Carolina, 1982

Bar Admissions

Washington

Alaska

New York

District of Columbia

U.S. District Courts

  • Eastern District of Washington
  • Western District of Washington
  • District of Alaska
  • Southern District of New York

9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals

U.S. Court of International Trade

Experience

Foster Pepper PLLC, Member, 2010-Present

Betts, Patterson & Mines, P.S., Shareholder, 1997-2010

Languages

Russian, fluent

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