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Alissa J. Allison

Of Counsel

Alissa J. Allison, of counsel in the New Orleans office, concentrates her practice in tort litigation.

Featured Experience

Working with four different law firms, represented a Class I railroad in litigation brought on behalf of putative class of over 12,000 persons allegedly damaged as a result of a catastrophic derailment resulting in a release of multiple hazardous substances over a period of several days. Liability issues concerned track inspection and maintenance. Claims included an allegation that Texas law applied and provided a punitive damage remedy. Trial court's certification of a class vacated by Fifth Circuit. Case ultimately settled on settlement class basis.

Represented a Class I railroad in occupational exposure cases, including hearing loss, asbestos and repetitive stress claims filed by employees under the Federal Employers Liability Act, achieving multiple dismissals on summary judgment.
Lead counsel in catastrophic scaffolding failure cases involving one death and several severe injuries. Wrongful death case dismissed on 12(b)(6) motion; all personal injury cases settled for nominal amount.

Professional Biography

Overview

Ms. Allison has extensive experience defending personal injury lawsuits in state and federal courts both at trial and on appeal. Her casualty litigation practice has included products liability, premises liability and insurance defense as well as complex litigation with an emphasis on mass torts arising out of toxic exposures.

A large portion of Ms. Allison's practice is devoted to the defense of railroad companies in the context of employee lawsuits arising under the FELA, involving both traumatic injuries and a variety of occupational injuries such as hearing loss, repetitive stresses, and asbestos and silica exposures.  Her railroad practice also includes defending grade crossing accidents, derailments, trespasser claims, and providing litigation assistance to railroad clients in the areas of employment discrimination and business torts.  Prior to entering private practice, Ms. Allison served as law clerk to Judge L.T. Senter, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi.

Representative Matters
  • Working with four different law firms, represented a Class I railroad in litigation brought on behalf of putative class of over 12,000 persons allegedly damaged as a result of a catastrophic derailment resulting in a release of multiple hazardous substances over a period of several days. Liability issues concerned track inspection and maintenance. Claims included an allegation that Texas law applied and provided a punitive damage remedy. Trial court's certification of a class vacated by Fifth Circuit. Case ultimately settled on settlement class basis.

  • Represented a Class I railroad in occupational exposure cases, including hearing loss, asbestos and repetitive stress claims filed by employees under the Federal Employers Liability Act, achieving multiple dismissals on summary judgment.
  • Lead counsel in catastrophic scaffolding failure cases involving one death and several severe injuries. Wrongful death case dismissed on 12(b)(6) motion; all personal injury cases settled for nominal amount.
  • Obtained multiple directed verdicts in actions arising out of vehicle-train and train-trespasser accidents.
  • Multiple 12(b)(6) dismissals and summary judgments on preemption grounds under FRSA and ICCTA in suits against Class 1 railroad.

  • Obtained summary judgment for a railroad in an employment discrimination/harassment lawsuit arising out of Maintenance of Way operations in southeast Louisiana.
  • Putative national class action filed on behalf of every transportation employee working for any one or more of the 5 Class I railroads in the United States seeking injunctive relief and money damages on the basis of allegations that the railroads were negligent and, in addition, conspired in failing to warn the employees against the hazards of exposures to toxic chemicals at railroad yards and at industrial plants. Originally working with a team of attorneys for all major railroads. Obtained dismissal of all but FELA claims. After additional motion practice, plaintiffs dismissed all remaining claims.

Professional Honors & Activities
  • Listed since 2009 in The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of Railroad Law
  • Recognized as a "Top Lawyer" in Railroad and Transportation Law by New Orleans Magazine (2010, 2013, 2014 and 2015); Railroad Law (2016, 2017)
  • Firm voted Best Lawyers' 2015 "Law Firm Of The Year" in Railroad Law by U.S. News
  • Listed in Louisiana Super Lawyers (2007)
  • Member – American, Louisiana and Mississippi Bar Associations
  • Member – National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel
  • Member – DRI, Committee on Railroad Law
  • Member – Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel
  • President, Board of Directors – New Orleans Ballet Theatre
  • New Orleans Pro Bono Volunteers (2004 – 2012)
  • Criminal Matters by Appointment

Awards

Education

  • University of Mississippi, J.D., 1984
    • Phi Kappa Phi
    • Articles Editor – Mississippi Law Journal
  • Mount Holyoke College, B.A, with honors, 1976

Admissions

  • Louisiana, 1986
  • Mississippi, 1984

I had a specific legal question about a claim and called Alissa. She had the answer for me in 15 minutes. In my [private] practice, it would have taken at least a day.

Claims Representative at a major freight hauling railroad

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