W. Brett Mason's practice focuses on the representation of businesses in the transportation and other sectors. He frequently defends clients in business related casualty litigation, contract disputes, ownership disputes, and with insured risks. In addition to being a seasoned litigator, he has negotiated and documented numerous marine related transactions, including vessel construction, repair contracts, preferred ship mortgages, charter agreements, shipping contracts, terminal service agreements, batture leases and fleet lease agreements.
One of Brett’s more notable cases was when he seized a ship owned by the government of Ghana in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana for its failure to pay a steamship agent. The facts of the case were challenging and complex and ultimately the vessel was sold at a private sale with the client being paid in full.
Brett also provides pro bono legal defense to merchant mariners in administrative proceedings.
Successfully defended a ready mix company in a suit brought by the Lafayette Consolidated Government to recover property damage to roads in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Defended a third party administrator in a suit filed by the receiver of a health insurer placed in rehabilitation by the Louisiana Department of Insurance.
As local counsel for a medical device manufacturer, successfully removed cases from Louisiana state court to federal court and got them transferred from the Middle District of Louisiana to federal district court in Texas in connection with disputes over a non-compete agreement.
- Successfully defended a supply chain management company in a suit for contractual indemnity arising out of a transportation contract with a luxury home furnishing retailer.
- Initiated a subrogation action to recover damages sustained by a construction supply and material company when one of its ready-mix concrete trucks overturned due to an allegedly unreasonably dangerous road condition.
- Representation of a privately held automobile transportation company in litigation resulting from an accident involving a pickup truck that rolled multiple times after leaving the interstate.
- Prosecuted a claim for property damage to a water intake structure resulting from a barge break-away on the lower Mississippi River.
- Represented a leading contract logistics provider in connection with white glove delivery services.
- Defended one of the world's largest trucking fleets against claims arising out of a tractor trailer striking a commercial building.
- Defended a tug boat captain in a Suspension and Revocation Proceeding initiated by the United States Coast Guard for alleged misconduct for which the Coast Guard sought to suspend or revoke the captain's Coast Guard issued credentials.
- Successfully assisted a steamship agent on the Lower Mississippi River in securing a full and complete recovery of maritime liens against the M/V POMORYE and contract claims against the vessel's owner JSC Murmansk Shipping Company in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
- Successfully assisted a third party transportation and logistics company in connection with a dispute regarding a shipment of goods from the United States to the Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait.
- Served as local counsel for an agribusiness commodities broker in connection with an extended vessel seizure on the Lower Mississippi River involving a cargo of soy beans valued in excess of twelve million dollars.
- Prosecuted contract claims on behalf of a purchaser of bulk unloading equipment in an arbitration proceeding before the ICC International Court of Arbitration.
- Successfully defended a state of the art transport service provider to large oil companies, convenience store operators and petroleum marketers in a suit involving alleged ADA violations filed by a former dispatcher claiming he suffered from a seizure disorder and was unable to drive 75 miles one way to/from work.
- Represented a commercial dive contractor against its insurance carrier for insurance coverage and duty to defend against claims arising out of multiple occurrences that resulted in death and significant bodily injury and disability.
- Defended tugboat owner/operator against claims for property damage and wreck removal expenses associated with a sunken breaker barge being used in connection with offshore drilling operations.
- Prosecuted claims against a wholly owned subsidiary of a global agribusiness resulting from barge collisions with a deep water dock located on the lower Mississippi River.
- Defended a domestic company in an international dispute over a long-term cement supply agreement.
- Represented barge charterer in limitation of liability action and class actions resulting from alleged release/emission of hydrogen sulfide from a tank barge.
- Represented a chemical company in a suit resulting from an alleged release of EDC from a barge and/or loading dock into the Mississippi River.
- Served as an expert witness for the defense in a legal malpractice case involving preferred ship mortgages in the 24th Judicial Court for the Parish of Jefferson, State of Louisiana.
Professional & Civic Activities
Professional and Civic Activities
- Propeller Club of New Orleans Board of Governors 2019 – 2021 and Past-President 2009 – 2011.
- Propeller Club of the United States member. In 2011, Brett served on the Executive Committee and was the International Third Vice President and Co-Chair of the International Convention.
- Consumer Arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association.
- Washington and Lee University Alumni Association Board member and a founding member of the Baton Rouge Alumni Chapter.
- Transportation Lawyers Association member.
- U.S. Maritime Law Association member.
- Louisiana Bar Association member.
- Texas Bar Association member.
- Baton Rouge Bar Association member.
- Louisiana Bar Foundation Development Committee member.
- Wex Malone American Inns of Court former President and Treasurer.
- Former Magister of the White Inn of Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society at Tulane University School of Law.
- Louisiana Special Olympics Board of Directors 2001 – 2006.
- Vice Chairman of the Mainstream Committee of the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge 2006 – 2007.
- Brett has volunteered for the Capital Area United Way, Community Partnership Division and the Junior Achievement Teaching Program at Scotlandville Magnet High School and Catholic High School.
Honors & Awards
Honors & Awards
- Council for a Better Louisiana 2019 Leadership Louisiana Class.
- Best Lawyers in America 2018 – 2024.
- Louisiana Super Lawyers 2014 – 2023.
- Top 50 Louisiana Super Lawyers 2015 – 2022.
- New Orleans Magazine "Top Lawyer" 2016.
News & Events
- Transportation Update: Does the MCS-90 Endorsement in Your Policy Afford Coverage When a Trailer You Leased to Another Company is Involved in a Fatal Accident?04.04.2016
- Maritime Update: Court Affirms Dismissal of Cal Dive's Challenge to Settlement with a Commercial Diver02.15.2016
In the News
Speaker, "Current Issues: Air, Land and Sea Transportation," Claims & Litigation Management Alliance Transportation Conference, June 2015.
Speaker, "Admiralty & Maritime Case Law Year in Review: An Examination of the Key Case Law Developments from 2014 and What They Mean for Your Practice in 2015, and the Current Stat of the Law 25 Years After the Enactment of the Oil Pollution Act and 5 years after Deepwater Horizon," American Conference Institute, 4th Annual Forum on Admiralty and Maritime Claims and Litigation, February 2015.
- Supreme Court of Louisiana
- Supreme Court of Texas
- U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
- U.S. District Courts for Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of Louisiana
- U.S. District Court for Southern District of Texas
LL.M., Admiralty Law, Tulane School of Law, 1994
J.D., Tulane School of Law, 1993
B.A., Washington and Lee University, 1990
- Judicial Extern to Judge Martin L.C. Feldman of the U.S. District Court
- Research assistant to Professor A.N. Yiannopoulos.