Mark T. Coberly

Office Location: Norfolk, VA., Hamburg, Germany

  • B.A. (with distinction) University of Virginia
  • Albert-Ludwigs University, Freiburg, Germany (one year)
  • J.D. Washington & Lee University  (Law Review Editor)
Professional & Community Activities
  • Maritime Law Association of the United States, Board Member
  • Virginia Maritime Association – Board Member and General Counsel
  • Vandeventer Black – Maritime Practice Group, Chair
  • Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute, past-Director
  • Virginia Bar Association – Sections on Transportation and International Law
  • American Bar Association
  • Propeller Club, Port of Hampton Roads
  • Hampton Roads Foreign Commerce Council
Notable Accomplishments
  • Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating
  • Best Lawyers in America® “Lawyer of the Year” – Transportation Law (2018, 2023); Admiralty and Maritime Law (2017)
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America®: Admiralty and Maritime Law (2007-present); Transportation Law (2007-present)
  • Thomson Reuters, “Virginia Super Lawyers” – Transportation/Maritime Law (2006-present)
  • Virginia Business, “Virginia Legal Elite” – Transportation, Admiralty & Intermodal Law

Mark is the former Chair of the Maritime Practice Group of Vandeventer Black, where he is part of a team of lawyers who concentrate on maritime and transportation law for international, national and local clients and insurers. 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 commercial 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.

In recent matters he has represented a bunker supplier in successfully opposing a petition for certiorari before the U.S. Supreme Court, and obtained a jury verdict in a dispute between the owner of a large custom yacht and the shipyard that performed design modifications.  Other recent matters include representation in Coast Guard proceedings of operators of ships that have collided with yachts.  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 to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Mark and his team have both conducted and defended numerous vessel arrests and attachments in multiple East Coast ports and successfully prosecuted same through the federal appeals courts. 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.

Reported Cases
  • Bulk Juliana, Ltd., et al., v. World Fuel Services (Singapore) PTE Ltd., Case No. 16-26 (S. Ct.), cert. denied, 582 U.S. 9 (2017). (maritime lien/vessel arrest litigation)
  • SPM Management LLC, et al. v. M/Y SEA AYRE, etc., et al, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14418 (E.D. Va. 2018), aff’d. per curiam, 756 Fed. Appx. 304 (4th Cir. 2018). (maritime lien/vessel arrest litigation)
  • Molly Sobel v. Institute for Shipboard Education d/b/a Semester at Sea, et al., 2017 WL 375054 (W.D. Va. Jan. 26, 2017) (summary judgment in maritime personal injury action).
  • World Fuel Services v. M/V Hebei Shijiazhuang, et al., 2014 AMC 1149 (E.D. Va. 2014), aff’d., 783 F.3d 507 (4th 2015) (maritime lien, vessel arrest).
  • Suslick v. Sparkman & Stephens, et al., (Fairfax Cir. Ct. CL 2013-11742) Oct. 10, 2014 (yacht design and repair; defense verdict in jury trial).
  • Dry Handy Investments v. Corvina Shipping Co., et al., 2013 AMC 196 (E.D. Va. 2013) (alter ego Rule B, vessel attachment).
  • Marine Builders, Inc. v. MBTT 1, 2012 AMC 1569 (E.D. Va. 2012), (Vessel arrest, Admiralty Rule D action)
  • 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).
  • Heretick v. Amberley Shipping Corp., 227 F. Supp. 2d 575 (E.D. Va. Oct 17, 2002), (personal injury, charterer 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).
  • Dominion Terminal Associates v. M/V CAPE DAISY, 24 F. Supp. 2d 532 (E.D. Va. 1998), (pier allision, docking pilot liability).
  • Nat’l Shipping Co. of Saudi Arabia v. Moran Trade Corp., 122 F.3d 1062 (4th Cir. 1997), aff’g., 924 F. Supp. 1436 (E.D.Va 1996), denied, 523 U.S. 1021 (1998), (collision, pollution, OPA 90 limitation of liability).
  • Young v. James, 168 F.R.D. 24 (E.D. Va. 1996). (Federal Court removal proceeding).
  • Schultz v. Butcher, 24 F.3d 626 (4th Cir. 1994), (personal injury verdict reversed).
  • Carib Alba, Ltd. v. 26 Units Amusement Equipment, 1985 WL 8798 (E.D. Va.1985), (maritime lien litigation).
  • Virginia International Terminals, Inc. v. S.S. AMCO TRADER, 1986 A.M.C. 1163 (E.D. Va. 1985), (maritime lien litigation).
  • Whorton v. Home Ins. Co., 724 F.2d 427 (4th Cir. 1984), (marine insurance coverage litigation).
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/ Maritime & Admiralty
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