James L. Ross

Attorneys

James L. Ross

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As a partner with the firm, Mr. Ross has extensive experience in handling litigations before the State and Federal Courts in New York and New Jersey, as well as mediations and arbitrations. He has represented clients, including vessel Owners and Charterers, in litigations, mediations and arbitrations relating to:

  • Commercial contract disputes
  • Charter Party disputes
  • Fire and explosion casualties
  • Loss of containers overboard
  • Dry and liquid cargo damage/contamination claims
  • Dock damage claims
  • Collisions /Allisions
  • Off-Spec bunker disputes
  • Maritime liens
  • General Average
  • Hull and P&I insurance matters

Mr. Ross has received the highest AV preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell and has been annually rated as a leading maritime attorney by publications such as New York Super Lawyers and The Best Lawyers in America Guide.

William L. Juska, Jr.

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With over 45 years experience Mr. Juska, the managing partner of the firm, brings a broad perspective to the practice of law, informed by the handling of hundreds of cases. Chambers USA 2014 reported: “Sources say he is ‘very strong on all aspects and has a wealth of experience to draw on.’

He is noted for his expertise in cargo damage cases, charter party disputes and commodities sales contracts. Chambers Global 2013 stated that he is “highly regarded” in these areas of practice. Chambers Global 2007 described Mr. Juska as a “globally renowned practitioner” while in 2008 the same source wrote, “He impresses interviewees [clients] with his counsel on cargo defense cases and charter party disputes. His ability to read circumstances is such that ‘you can introduce him to anyone under the sun and he will respond effectively.’

Mr. Juska has long advised clients on U.S. trade regulations. Since 2010 he has played a leading role in counseling a broad range of clients on compliance with the U.S. sanctions against Iran as well as on the U.S. sanctions relating to the Ukraine, Syria, Sudan, Myanmar, and Cuba. Chambers 2016 described him as having “a wealth of experience and practical knowledge on sanctions.”

In addition to these primary areas of practice, Mr. Juska has considerable experience in oil pollution, marine contracts, commercial litigation and provisional remedies, such as arrest and attachment. He represents a wide variety of clients, such as P&I Clubs, shipowners, charterers and commodities traders in commercial disputes, whether requiring litigation or arbitration. He has arbitrated cases before the Society of Maritime Arbitrators, the American Arbitration Association and the International Centre for Dispute Resolution.

Mr. Juska is annually ranked as a Leader in the Field by Chambers USA. Chambers USA quotes sources declaring him as “tremendously smart”, a “gentleman and astute litigator” as well as “one of the most competent attorneys in the New York area.” Chambers USA 2018 quotes an interviewee calling him a “smart and efficient lawyer who sees things clearly” and who gives “top-rate advice.” He is similarly annually ranked by New York Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America, to whom one client stated in 2012, “If Bill does not know the answer, I am not sure who would.”

Michael Fernandez

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Michael Fernandez graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York in 1981 and thereafter sailed as a deck officer on a various types of commercial vessels including tankers, containerships and others. He holds an unlimited Master’s license issued by the United States Coast Guard. Mr. Fernandez received a J.D. from Rutgers Law School and joined Freehill Hogan & Mahar in 1990, where he has been a partner for over 15 years.

Mr. Fernandez’ practice has a particular emphasis on litigation and arbitration involving: marine casualties (collisions, fires, groundings and sinkings), cargo and contamination claims, shipboard investigations of all nature (cargo, hull and personal injury), intermodal claims, hazardous materials, marine pollution, charter party and bill of lading disputes, investigations and proceedings by state and federal agencies such as the USCG, NTSB, DOJ and OSHA. He also advises clients as to contractual matters including: terminal/stevedoring agreements, slot charters, vessel sharing agreements, service contracts, contracts of carriage and insurance coverage.

His sea-going background and experience provide Mr. Fernandez with unique insight and expertise while conducting shipboard investigations, reviewing vessel records, interfacing with crewmembers and interacting with state and federal agencies.

Mr. Fernandez is also a member of the Maritime Criminal Defense Group at the firm and routinely defends both corporations and individuals in matters involving the alleged by-passing of oily water separators and other MARPOL related violations, pollution and civil/ criminal enforcement actions. He has dealt with such cases in numerous jurisdictions, including, for example, New York, Massachusetts, Florida, Maryland, California, Georgia and North Carolina.

Mr. Fernandez routinely conducts internal investigations and lectures clients on best practices for claims handling, enhanced MARPOL compliance, training of crews and the role of counsel during investigations both in the USA and abroad. He has been selected as a leading lawyer in publications such as Chambers Global, Chambers USA, The Legal 500 and The Best Lawyers in America.

Mr. Fernandez has been selected by Best Lawyers in America from 2013 through 2020 and was listed in 2008 and 2017 by The Legal 500 USA. He has been named a New York Super Lawyer from 2013 to 2017, and is listed among the world’s leading transport lawyers in Who’s Who Legal: Transport 2016 through 2017. Chambers 2018 designated him as a “notable practioner.”

Gina M. Venezia

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Ms. Venezia is a partner in Freehill Hogan & Mahar’s New York office where her practice focuses on numerous areas of maritime and transportation law and international commercial litigation and arbitration. Ms. Venezia has extensive experience at both the trial and appellate levels, having tried and handled cases as both lead and second-chair attorney in U.S. federal and state courts and before U.S. arbitration tribunals. She has handled a wide variety of matters involving commodities contracts, contracts of sale and lease, charter parties, electronic bills of lading, hazardous cargos, mass casualties, collisions, the U.S. Limitation of Liability Act, provisional remedies of arrest and attachment, U.S. military cargos, insurance coverage disputes, and enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitration awards. She also counsels clients on compliance with U.S. sanctions regulations; commercial contracts of charter party, vessel sale, and commodities sales; and Coast Guard and NTSB investigations.

Ms. Venezia has repeatedly been recognized as a leader in her field. Chambers USA notes that she is a “well-regarded litigator” and “is continuing to build a formidable reputation for excellent work as a litigator.” She is also praised as “a smart, talented and dynamic young attorney” and one who is “particularly good at arguing on her feet.” Chambers USA.

Eric E. Lenck

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Mr. Lenck has over 35 years of experience in maritime law as a partner at Freehill Hogan & Mahar. He has litigated marine insurance, cargo and charter party disputes of all kinds, including trials and arbitrations in New York. His current practice focuses heavily on ship sale and finance, ship construction, yachts and the drafting and analysis of all types of maritime contracts.

Mr. Lenck has been the lead attorney on the Firm’s many vessel sale and financing transactions, including all manner of cargo vessels, yachts, research ships, and passenger vessels. These transactions have involved the U.S. flag registry and all the major foreign maritime flags. He has broad experience in working on loans from private banks and government entities in asset based maritime financings. His extensive knowledge of contract terms and lenders’ requirements helps to ensure that borrowers are adequately protected and that the lenders’ requirements are met in a timely and efficient way. Mr. Lenck has lectured on Ship Sale and Purchase as a visiting professor at World Maritime University in Malmö, Sweden.

Mr. Lenck draws on his years of litigation experience when providing advice on maritime contracts. He has drafted bills of lading and charter parties for major carriers, and has advised on ship construction and repair contracts, COA’s, service contracts, marine terminal agreements, asset purchase agreements, yachting agreements, dockage agreements and all manner of corporate documentation.

Mr. Lenck has authored numerous articles on maritime law and has been a speaker at many maritime conferences and seminars in the U.S. and abroad. He has taught courses on maritime law subjects at the John Gray Institute of Lamar University and at World Maritime University in Sweden. He is the author of LAW OF RECREATIONAL BOATING, published by Cornell Maritime Press in 2019. (order through Maritime Press, a Division of Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., Amazon Books,Barnes and Noble)

Language:
Swedish

Pro-Bono Activities:
South Street Seaport Museum

Eric J. Matheson

Freehill Hogan & Mahar LLP

Eric Matheson brings a diverse maritime background to Freehill Hogan & Mahar. Mr. Matheson is a graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy, where he received a Bachelors of Science in Marine Operations and Technology, a marine transportation program enhanced with marine engineering studies. He served in the U.S. Navy on a guided missile frigate as both a deck and engineering officer. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard Unlimited Third Mate’s License.

Following his service in the U.S. Navy, Mr. Matheson obtained his law degree from Villanova University School of Law, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Villanova Environmental Law Journal.

Mr. Matheson works on a variety of matters, using his legal skills as well as his technical background in Marine Operations and Technology and his experience at sea on a variety of vessels. He has worked with Vessel Data Recorders (VDR) and other recording systems in accident reconstruction involving collision, grounding, sinking, and other vessel casualties. He has worked on cases involving modern vessel incinerators and oily water separators (OWS) which involve computerized data and the tracking of use and function of ship’s equipment. He is active in both litigation and arbitration involving ship sale, vessel collision, electrical fires, power outages, sinkings, loss of cargo, safe port/safe berth warranties, and the mechanical failure of intermodal equipment, including cranes, tractors, brake systems, and refrigeration systems. He also has experience in cases involving sensitive chemical cargo contamination claims.  Mr. Matheson has been named a Rising Star in the field of maritime law from 2015 through 2017 by New York Super Lawyers, and in 2018 was listed as a recommended attorney by The Legal 500.

Don P. Murnane, Jr.

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Mr. Murnane graduated with highest honors from the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point in 1982 where he ranked second in his graduating class. He earned his law degree at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington D.C. and began practicing maritime law in 1986 (first with former Haight, Gardner Poor & Havens in New York, and then joining FHM as a partner in 1997).

Mr. Murnane has handled a wide variety of domestic and international contract and tort maritime litigations and arbitrations. Chambers USA labels him “an expert litigator” and “major player” who is described by clients as “simply a great advocate”; a “fierce litigator” with a “calm, deliberative and bright” litigation style. His “reliability and accessibility” makes clients feel that they “are at the top of his list.” A client told Best Lawyers in 2011, “Don Murnane is more than a safe pair of hands. You know you will get the best result for the deck of cards which you may have been dealt.”  His case handling approach has been described in Chambers USA as “a practical attorney …sensitive to the client’s needs”; “really excellent: he does not waste time on tangential disputes and gets right to the heart of things”; “the primary sounding-board when there are issues that aren’t quite right.

With nearly 30 years experience, Mr. Murnane has acted as lead counsel on disputes concerning vessel and marine terminal casualties, international commercial fraud, time and voyage charters, terminal agreements and liner service contracts. His practice frequently involves issues of international conflicts of law including jurisdiction and forum disputes. In 2011, Chambers USA described Mr. Murnane as a leading expert on the investigation and litigation of sophisticated chemical product tanker disputes.  He has represented one of the world’s largest chemical tanker owner-operators for more than 25 years. He also possesses expertise with perishable goods litigation and U.S. government contract disputes. For the last several years he has represented a major U.S. flag container vessel operator providing wartime intermodal transportation of U.S. military goods to and from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Mr. Murnane has testified in foreign litigation as a trial expert on U.S. maritime law and has served as an American Arbitration Association / International Centre for Dispute Resolution arbitrator. He presently serves as the Chair of the U.S. Maritime Law Association’s Liaison Committee to the Society of Maritime Arbitrators, Inc., New York. He is rated “AV Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubble and has been consistently recognized for many years as a leading maritime attorney by The Best Lawyers in America Guide; Expert Guide Best of the Best USA; Chambers; New York Super Lawyers Magazine and The International Who’s Who of Shipping and Maritime Lawyers.

He has authored articles and lectured publicly and for clients in the U.S. and abroad on the topics of marine casualty investigation and response, electronic commerce contracts, bills of lading, arbitration, claims handling and the work product doctrine, the attorney client privilege and client management of litigation. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Mr. Murnane sailed as a deck officer aboard various types of oceangoing ships and inland marine vessels in both foreign and domestic trade.