Michael Higginbotham has tried over 100 cases to judges and juries in state and federal courts. Having practiced law since 1993, he came to the firm after 15 years with the FedEx legal organization, in which he served as both first chair trial counsel and as a manager. Most recently, he served as Managing Director of Government and Commercial Litigation for FedEx Ground. He has litigated matters in courts all over the country, including consumer class actions, government enforcement actions, and commercial and cargo loss claims. His transportation law expertise includes a unique understanding of liability issues and the doctrine of federal preemption under the Airline Deregulation Act, FAAAA and Carmack Amendment. He has deep experience in litigated disputes between surface carriers and their independent operators. Prior to his tenure with FedEx, Michael’s practice included the defense of professional negligence, product liability, insurance coverage, and personal injury claims in the state and federal courts of Tennessee.
Michael is a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel and is a past member of the Tennessee Bar Association Committee on Ethics and Professionalism and the Leo Bearman Sr. American Inn of Court.
His experience includes:
- City of New York and the People of the State of New York v. FedEx Ground. This dispute was about allegations of deliveries of untaxed cigarettes to residents of the City and State, in violation of state and federal laws, including RICO. Settlement of $35.4M, in comparison to judgment against UPS for $97.6M. U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.
- FedEx Ground Service Provider (Vendor) Litigation. Managed docket of contract disputes between FedEx Ground and its transportation contractors, ranging between thirty and forty cases at any given time. Over 50% of the cases sought in excess of $1M.
- Openshaw v. FedEx Ground. Following a jury verdict in favor of this former service provider in a breach of contract dispute, we obtained a reversal and the entry of a judgment in FedEx Ground’s favor from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. U.S. District Court, Central District of California.
- Kings Choice Neckwear v. FedEx Corp., FedEx Services. Lead attorney in nationwide consumer class action challenging the legality of FedEx collection fees. Defeated class certification and obtained dismissal of plaintiff’s remaining claim. U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey
- FedEx Employees’ Pension Fund v. Northern Trust Bank. Lead attorney in suit against pension trustee for investing pension assets in securities lending funds, resulting in large losses in connection with the 2008 market crash. Obtained multi-million-dollar settlement. U.S. District Court, Western District of Tennessee
- Cargo loss, damage and delay litigation. Lead attorney in over 50 matters claiming loss to goods in transit under the Carmack Amendment, federal common law and international trade treaties. Provided training to FedEx attorneys on the law governing cargo claims.
- Tennessee State Courts
- Pennsylvania State Courts
- United States District Court – Western District of Tennessee
- United States District Court – Middle District of Tennessee
- United States District Court – Western District of Pennsylvania
- United States District Court – Northern District of Illinois
- US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- United States Supreme Court
- Washington & Lee University, BA, History (1990)
- University of Tennessee College of Law, JD (1993)