THE HISTORY OF FOSTER, MEADOWS & BALLARD
Founded in 1940 by Sparkman Foster, Foster, Meadows & Ballard, P.C., remains the pre-eminent transportation firm in Michigan. The Firm spent its early years engaged primarily in the representation of domestic and foreign ship owners specializing in admiralty and maritime defense litigation.
The Firm continues to expertly litigate admiralty and maritime cases of every type, covering a wide range of claim areas including personal injury, property damage, collision, allision, cargo loss, environmental damages, passenger injury, Limitation Act matters, salvage claims and immigration issues. With the expansion of intermodal transportation of goods in the 1970's, the Firm's expertise expanded to representing the interest of parties involved in every step of cargo transportation property losses, including freight forwarders and non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCC). Within its admiralty practice, the Firm represents 12 of the 15 English, Scandinavian and Japanese Protection & Indemnity Clubs as well as a host of domestic Ocean Marine underwriters and numerous Great Lakes shipping companies directly.
By virtue of the proliferation of registered pleasure crafts throughout Michigan, Ohio and the Great Lakes the firm has handled countless significant personal injury, death and property loss cases arising from pleasure craft, offshore race boat, and personal watercraft calamities.
In the early 1970s, the Firm's transportation practice grew further to encompass railroad and aviation litigation. Like its natural counterpart in the maritime setting, Foster, Meadows & Ballard, P.C. represents railroad companies in a wide range of areas including employee personal injury litigation, crossing accidents, derailments, property damage and cargo claims.
The Firm's transportation practice reaches beyond Michigan's boarders including matters for our clients in Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana. Members of the firm are specifically licensed to practice in Ohio and multiple Federal courts including the United States Supreme Court, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Beyond its unparalleled transportation litigation expertise, Foster, Meadows & Ballard, P.C. has significant experience litigating insurance agent errors and omissions matters, No-Fault auto cases, marina injury and lien enforcement, warehouse liabilities, ecclesiastic negligence, and toxic tort matters, including a high volume of asbestos product liability cases, as well as marine asbestos cases defended on behalf of merchant vessel owners and operators.
Over the course of the last decade, the firm has expanded its services to assist individual and family estate planning including wills, trusts, and special needs planning.
Because of its size, Foster, Meadows & Ballard, P.C. takes pride in its ability to take a practical, efficient approach to handling matters for clients. Where warranted, dismissals are sought at the earliest point in litigation that the merits will allow. Our philosophy is to build an attorney/client relationship by communicating the case status and our analysis every step of the way to assure our clients are informed and their ongoing concerns and requirements satisfied.
607 Shelby St., 7th FL
Detroit, MI 48226
Admiralty and Maritime Law
Agency Error and Omission
Pleasure Craft Accidents
Special Needs Planning
Title Insurance Disputes
Insurance Coverage Matters
Freight Forwarder Claims
Mortgage Fraud Disputes
Trusts and Estates
Camille Raffa-Dietz is a shareholder who has been with the Foster, Meadows & Ballard, P.C. since 1985. She is a graduate of Wayne State University (BS with distinction, 1982) and the University of Michigan Law School (JD, 1985).
Ms. Raffa Dietz has extensive experience in commercial and business litigation. She has defended against breach of contract and quasi-contractual claims in all business contexts, including marine, transportation and other industries. She has defended businesses in claims involving the Consumer Protection Act, violations of the Sales Representatives' Commission Act, mortgage disputes and disputes regarding termination of business relationships. Ms. Raffa Dietz has defended employers in employment litigation matters, including defense against federal civil rights claims and harassment claims. She has defended a title insurance company agent, insurance agents and brokers in professional liability actions.
She has defended insurance companies in coverage suits, including disputes between insurance companies. She has both defended and brought declaratory judgment actions with respect to insurance disputes. She has provided opinion letters discussing insurance coverage liability issues and has handled subrogation actions on behalf of insurance companies.
Ms. Raffa Dietz' practice encompasses all types of litigation, including defense of personal injury, property damage, premises liability and asbestos products liability claims. She has brought and defended indemnification actions.
She has been an integral part of the transportation litigation team for which Foster Meadows & Ballard is renowned. Ms. Raffa Dietz has defended death and serious injury claims in Federal Employer's Liability Act (FELA) suits against railroads, as well as Jones Act claims in the shipping industry; railroad crossing accident claims, pleasure craft accidents, marina liability claims and claims against freight forwarders, including marine subrogation actions.
Throughout her career, Ms. Raffa Dietz has handled cases at the appellate level on insurance, admiralty, maritime and railroad issues in both state and federal courts and on Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court.
Ms. Raffa Dietz' has substantial experience in estate planning, including wills and trusts, as well as probate administration, elder law and special needs planning.
Ms. Raffa-Dietz is a member of the American Bar Association, State Bar of Michigan, and is licensed to practice in the U. S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan, the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Railroad Law; Transportation; Asbestos Litigation; Personal Injury; Insurance; Insurance Defense; Premises Liability; Professional Liability
Bar Number: P38138
University of Michigan
Richard A. Dietz is a shareholder who has been with Foster, Meadows & Ballard, P.C. since 1980. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan (BA with distinction, 1977) and the University of Detroit School of Law (JD, Cum Laude, 1980).
Mr. Dietz' practice is dedicated to litigation and trials of major matters arising in various transportation industries. With the firm's specialization in maritime legal services for more than 60 years, Mr. Dietz has handled cases in the Port of Detroit and Ports in the Great Lakes region and is an integral part of the firm's admiralty and maritime legal practice. He has extensive experience defending death and serious injury claims as well as significant property damage claims. Representing commercial vessel owners, his cases have included defense of Jones Act claims, Petitions to Limit Liability and Limitation of Liability Proceedings; vessel sinkings and groundings, crew mutinies, stowaways on vessels; salvage and cargo claims, attempted seizures and boardings by the Coast Guard, immigration and customs issues involving vessel owners, as well as environmental disputes surrounding the vessel. He also handles matters involving common carrier liability for passenger vessels.
He has defended wharf and dock owners in claims involving breach of their duties. He has defended officers and captains in licensing disputes. With respect to pleasure boating, Mr. Dietz has handled marina liability matters including slips and falls, sinkings, as well as pleasure boat accidents and salvage claims.
Mr. Dietz heads the firm's railroad litigation practice with 30 years of experience in handling railroad transportation matters. He has extensive experience defending death and serious injury claims in Federal Employer's Liability Act (FELA) lawsuits, as well as railroad crossing accident claims. He has handled railroad matters involving derailments and related issues including evacuation of town or city where the derailment occurred and associated damages, including environmental and business interruption claims.
While specializing in transportation litigation, Mr. Dietz' practice encompasses all types of litigation. He has handled lawsuits in both federal and state courts in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. He has extensive experience in the areas of insurance litigation as well as professional liability and products liability.
Mr. Dietz is licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan, the State of Ohio, the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan, the Northern District of Ohio, the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin, as well as the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.
Mr. Dietz is a member of the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel (NARTC), The Maritime Law Association of the United States the Michigan Bar Association, American Bar Association, and Ohio Bar Association. He is a current member and past president of the Propeller Club of the United States, Port of Detroit.
Admiralty and Maritime Law; Railroad Law; Transportation; Professional Liability; Products Liability; Insurance; Insurance Defense; Insurance Litigation
Bar Number: P31940
University of Detroit Mercy
Michael J. Liddane is a shareholder who has been with the firm since 1986. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton (BA, 1982) and the Detroit College of Law (JD, 1985).
Mr. Liddane has spent his career handling a wide variety of transportation related lawsuits including significant personal injury, death and property damage cases from railroad, merchant vessel, and marine pleasure craft accidents, including numerous Limitation Act proceedings on behalf of vessel owners under Federal law. He has litigated dozens of Cogsa, Carmack and Warsaw cargo transit property losses, NVOCC matters and marine salvage cases.
He has extensive experience handling products liability cases including toxic tort asbestos claims, marina and warehouseman liabilties as well as carnival/ amusement park injury suits. He has defended many insurance agent errors and omissions matters. He has defended and prosecuted Class Actions and achieved significant subrogation recoveries for insurance clients. Mr. Liddane has substantial experience handling automobile negligence and no-fault coverage cases.
Mr. Liddane is admitted to practice law in the State of Michigan, the United States District Courts for the Eastern District of Michigan, the Western District of Michigan, the Eastern District of Wisconsin and the Western District of Wisconsin, the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.
Mr. Liddane is a member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States, the Transportation Law Association, and the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel (NARTC). He is a current member and past President of the Propeller Club of the United States, Port of Detroit. He is the co-founder and Vice President of Special Kids, Inc., a 501(c)3 charity serving special needs children in southeast Michigan.
Admiralty and Maritime Law; Transportation; Railroad Law; Personal Injury; Products Liability; Asbestos Litigation; Insurance Defense; Subrogation; Premises Liability
Bar Number: P38639
Michigan State University College of Law