As the leader of the Admiralty, Global Logistics and Transportation team, Sean works strategically with regional, national, and international clients to identify and minimize commercial and liability risks. In his broad litigation practice, Sean resolves a wide variety of disputes, and he provides litigation avoidance counseling to businesses across the globe, including cruise lines, chassis pool interests, customs brokers, domestic and international marine insurers, dredging companies, financial institutions, freight forwarders and other logistics providers, heavy equipment manufacturers, importers and exporters, marine towing companies, recreational boat manufacturers, shipowners and charterers, steamship lines, watersports businesses, yacht brokers, and other clients who rely on the intermodal supply chain.

In addition, Sean provides emergency response to transportation casualties, and he creatively advocates for his clients to cost-effectively resolve claims arising from personal injury or death, pollution incidents and toxic torts, maritime arrests and attachment proceedings, cargo damage and loss, recreational boating and trucking accidents, and other casualties. Sean and his team also draft and negotiate transportation agreements, handle marine finance transactions, and provide transportation regulatory guidance.

A former prosecutor, Sean’s criminal practice includes the counseling of clients under investigation for alleged white collar criminal activity, and he helps victims of financial crimes to navigate the criminal process. Sean advises clients in response to MARPOL and other whistleblower allegations and governmental investigations, and he tactfully works with investigating agents to resolve issues before allegations lead to indictment. When disputes cannot be resolved outside of the courthouse, clients rely on Sean’s experience in trying cases to favorable verdict.

    Experience

    Any result the lawyer or law firm may have achieved on behalf of clients in other matters does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.

    • Lead counsel for British shipowner in defense of personal injury claim by longshoreman, alleging Scindia violations during cargo operations. Secured summary judgment in US District Court and successfully prevailed on appeal to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
    • Lead counsel for ocean carrier based in East Asia in defense of Natural Resources Damage Assessment claims under OPA ’90, arising from oil spill into navigable waters. Negotiated Consent Decree with the United States and state environmental agencies, resolving all NRDA claims, and litigated multi-million dollar OPA ’90 claims arising from alleged oil pollution damage to seafood businesses.
    • Lead counsel for Taiwanese ocean shipping company in defense of wrongful death claims pursued by estate of law enforcement officer, arising from catastrophic trucking accident.
    • Lead trial counsel in US District Court for national retailers, and trial co-counsel for Japanese manufacturer, in successful defense of alleged breaches of multi-million dollar contracts.
    • Secured pre-trial dismissals with prejudice of vessel owner/manager after briefing summary judgment motions in multiple occupational disease lawsuits alleging asbestos exposure damages

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    Contact information

    +1 843.720.4622
    sean.houseal@wbd-us.com
    +1 843.723.7398

    Bar admissions

    South Carolina

    Admitted to practice before:

    • United States District Court for the District of South Carolina
    • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
    • United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit