Mark T. Coberly

Mark is a partner with Vandeventer Black and is Manager of the firm’s Maritime Law Department. His practice is focused in the area of maritime and transportation matters, including litigation and arbitration. His federal court trial experience includes major casualties such as collisions, pollution, cargo damage, and serious personal injuries; as well as transactional disputes including charter parties, ship repair contracts, tariffs and towing agreements. He also litigates maritime matters in state court including personal injury defense and business transactional matters.  Administrative law related to the marine industry such as Coast Guard, Customs, and NOAA/NMFS are also areas in which Mark specializes.

In addition to local clients, Mark represents domestic marine insurers as well as the P & I Clubs in the International Group together with their domestic and foreign vessel operators.

Representative matters include recently obtaining a jury verdict in a case involving a dispute between the owner of a large custom yacht and the shipyard that performed design modifications.  Mark has represented a client in an oil pollution matter in which his team succeeded in obtaining limitation of liability under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and sustained the ruling through appeal. Mark and his team have both conducted and defended vessel arrests and attachments in multiple East Coast ports and successfully prosecuted same through the federal appeals courts. Other recent matters include representation in Coast Guard proceedings of operators of ships that have collided with yachts. And, on an ongoing basis, Mark is representing vessel operators and terminals in defending personal injury claims in litigation in state and federal courts.

Mark practices in federal and state court as well as before administrative law judges in proceedings of the United States Coast Guard, Customs, and National Marine Fisheries.  He handles arbitrations before multiple tribunals. He is admitted to practice in Virginia as well as the United States Court of International Trade, the United States Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia.


Representative Matters

  • World Fuel Services Trading, DMCC v. M/V Hebei Shijiazhuang, et al., 2014 AMC 1149 (E.D. Va. 2014) (maritime lien, vessel arrest).
  • Dry Handy Investments v. Corvina Shipping Co., et al., 2013 AMC 196 (E.D. Va. 2013) (alter ego Rule B, vessel attachment).
  • Suslick v. Sparkman & Stephens, et al., (Fairfax Cir. Ct. CL 2013-11742) Oct. 10, 2014 (yacht design/repair jury trial – defense verdict).
  • Dominion Resource Services, Inc. v. 5K Logistics, Inc., 2010 WL 2721355 (ED Va., July 8, 2010), (Carmack Amendment, trucker liability).
  • Norfolk Dredging Co. v. City of Chesapeake, 2007 WL 2126293, (E.D. Va.2007), (Maritime declaratory judgment action).
  • Virginia International Terminals, Inc. v. M/V KATSURAGI, 236 F. Supp. 2d 1025 (E.D. Va. 2003), (pier allision, docking pilot, and tug liability).
  • Franklin v. U.S., 289 F.3d 753 (Fed. Cir. 2002), (Customs duties and fines).
  • Enterprise Ship Co. v. Norfolk Southern Ry. Co., 185 F. Supp. 2d 622 (E.D. Va. 2001), (pier allision, docking pilot liability).
  • National Shipping Co. of Saudi Arabia v. Moran Trade Corp. of Delaware, 122 F.3d 1062 (4th Cir. 1997), aff’g., 924 F. Supp. 1436 (E.D.Va. 1996), cert. denied, 523 U.S. 1021 (1998), (collision, OPA 90 limitation of liability).