William F. Dougherty

Of Counsel

Washington, D.C.
T +1.202.861.1546
F +1.202.861.1783

Overview

Bill Dougherty focuses his practice on counseling and representing vessel owners and operators, as well as other maritime commercial entities, in all areas of maritime tort, contract and regulatory law. He has managed cases and disputes arising out of vessel collisions and groundings, marine salvage incidents, casualties to main propulsion engines and associated systems and equipment, oil pollution response, and natural resource damage assessments. Notably, he has represented vessel owners in administrative and criminal proceedings arising out of violations of international environmental conventions and U.S. environmental laws and regulations. Bill has also conducted environmental regulatory compliance investigations and audits, and has drafted and negotiated both long- and short-term vessel charters, a broad range of marine service contracts, and other commercial agreements on behalf of clients.

Drawing from his long-standing experience in the maritime industry, Bill is able to analyze each matter from the client's perspective and address it in an efficient, professional manner.

[*Not admitted in the District of Columbia, admitted in New York. Practicing pursuant to D.C. Rule 49(c)(8) under the direct supervision of Jack Fornaciari during pendency of application for admission to the District of Columbia Bar.]

Select Experience

  • Represented a major Canadian-based international flag tanker owner in the arbitration of a general average claim arising out of a catastrophic rudder stock failure, which resulted in the loss of the vessel’s rudder.
  • Represented the underwriters of a Philippines-based international flag container vessel that had been involved in a significant collision with a U.S. Navy vessel.
  • Represented a major U.S.-based international flag tanker owner in interpleader proceedings commenced in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which arose out of the collapse and bankruptcy of a global marine fuels dealer.
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Experience

  • Represented a major Canadian-based international flag tanker owner in the arbitration of a general average claim arising out of a catastrophic rudder stock failure, which resulted in the loss of the vessel’s rudder.
  • Represented the underwriters of a Philippines-based international flag container vessel that had been involved in a significant collision with a U.S. Navy vessel.
  • Represented a major U.S.-based international flag tanker owner in interpleader proceedings commenced in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which arose out of the collapse and bankruptcy of a global marine fuels dealer.
  • Acted on behalf of vessel owners in a natural resource damage assessment and in the preparation, submission and resolution of a claim against the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund following a major oil spill in Portland, Maine.
  • Assisting several major ship operators in the negotiation and review of ship repair contracts, tug and container barge charters and the resolution of disputes arising out of vessel charters.
  • Assisting a major U.S. flag tanker owner and operator in the preparation of bid proposals for the acquisition or management of various vessels and the review and preparation of charter parties and ship repair contracts.
  • Conducted an extensive investigation for a major tanker owner of a number of engineering record keeping and oily waste management irregularities on board one of the owner’s vessels and counseling and assisting the owner in preparing and submitting a voluntary disclosure report to the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Performing an extensive internal liability exposure analysis for a major vessel classification society in connection with natural resource damage claims arising out of a catastrophic vessel casualty and resulting major oil spill in the Bay of Biscay.
  • Represented, through trial and appeal, owners and crew in a case arising out of the salvage of the external fuel cell for NASA’s space shuttle, which resulted in the largest salvage award in U.S. history.
  • Representing a major U.S. agricultural commodity trader in an arbitration to recover salvage contributions and extraordinary expenses incurred as a consequence of a main engine breakdown.
  • Represents a major ocean shipping company, in its capacity as a slot-charterer, in limitation of liability proceedings and claims arising out of a catastrophic fire onboard a container vessel owned by another shipping company.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • Chambers USA: Transportation: Shipping/Maritime: Litigation (New York)
    • Band 4 (2019)
  • New York Metro "Super Lawyer" (2013 to 2019)

Memberships

  • Maritime Law Association
  • Association of the Bar of the City of New York
  • American Bureau of Shipping
  • Connecticut Maritime Association

Prior Positions

  • Town of Islip, New York: Senior Assistant Town Attorney
  • Suffolk County Attorney, Tort Claim Litigation Bureau: Acting Chief

Military Service

  • U.S. Navy
    • Attained rank of Lieutenant (Surface Warfare) (1973 to 1977)
  • U.S. Navy Reserve
    • Retired in the rank of Captain (Intelligence) (1977 to 1994)

Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • New York
  • [*Not admitted in the District of Columbia, admitted in New York. Practicing pursuant to D.C. Rule 49(c)(8) under the direct supervision of Jack Fornaciari during pendency of application for admission to the District of Columbia Bar.]

Education

  • J.D., St. John’s University School of Law, 1980
  • A.B., College of the Holy Cross, 1973