Michael W. Higginbotham


Memphis Office

5050 Poplar Avenue, Suite 1430

Memphis, Tennessee 38157

Telephone: (901) 312-1640

Facsimile: (901) 312-1639


Michael W. Higginbotham is a partner in the Memphis office of Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. Mr. Higginbotham has 29 years of experience handling high stakes, complex litigation matters and in the areas of insurance defense litigation, general liability and personal injury actions. His practice is emphasized on the defense of professional negligence, product liability, insurance coverage, and personal injury claims in the state and federal courts of Tennessee. Mr. Higginbotham has extensive experience as first chair trial counsel and managing complex commercial litigation involving class actions, government enforcement actions and commercial and cargo loss claims.

Previously, and for 15 years, Mr. Higginbotham handled the nationwide defense of a broad range of commercial disputes as a trial attorney and managing director in the FedEx legal organization, where he litigated matters in courts throughout the country. He has deep experience litigating disputes between surface carriers and their independent operators. His transportation law expertise includes a unique understanding of liability issues and the doctrine of federal preemption under the Airline Deregulation Act, FAAAA and Carmack Amendments.

First chair responsibility for the defense and prosecution of claims for FedEx Corp., FedEx Express, FedEx Services, FedEx Supply Chain and FedEx Ground

Representative Matters

  • City of New York and the People of the State of New York v. FedEx Ground. Allegations - deliveries of untaxed cigarettes to residents of the City and State, in violation of state and federal laws, including RICO. Settlement of $35.4 million, in comparison to judgement against UPS for $97.6 million. U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.
  • California Attorney General Contraband Cigarette Investigation. Response to subpoena and follow-on investigation resulted in closure of investigation without closing order or litigation.
  • EEOC v. FedEx Ground. Nationwide mass action brought on behalf of over 200 deaf and hard of hearing package handlers and applicants.  Allegations - violations of the ADA. Managed virtual law firm consisting of internal and external resources. U.S. District Court, Pittsburgh.
  • In re Allentown Hub Construction Litigation. Successfully resolved litigation related to the construction of a new hub in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Overcame challenges by neighboring property owners, including environmental claims, as well as delay and other claims relating to the project itself.
  • FedEx Ground Service Provider (Vendor) Litigation. Managed docket of contract disputes between FedEx Ground and its transportation contractors, ranging between thirty and forty cases at any given time. Over 50% of the cases sought in excess of $1 million.
  • Openshaw v. FedEx Ground. Following a jury verdict in favor of this former service provider in a breach of contract dispute, a reversal and the entry of a judgment in FedEx Ground's favor was obtained from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. U.S. District Court, Central District of California.

Subjects of litigation included consumer class actions, employment disputes, ERISA claims and cargo claim litigation:

  • Kings Choice Neckwear v. FedEx Corp., FedEx Services. Lead attorney in nationwide consumer class action challenging the legality of FedEx collection fees. Defeated class certification and obtained dismissal of plaintiff's remaining claim. U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey.
  • Cohen v. FedEx Express, FedEx Ground. Lead attorney in California consumer class action challenging the assessment of charges on multi-piece shipments. Following discovery, obtained settlement for $20K, below nuisance value. California Superior Court, Los Angeles.
  • FedEx Employees' Pension Fund v. Northern Trust Bank. Lead attorney in suit against pension trustee for investing pension assets in securities lending funds, resulting in large losses in connection with the 2008 market crash. Obtained multi-million- dollar settlement. U.S. District Court, Western District of Tennessee.
  • FedEx Corporation v. Accu-Sort. Worked with and managed outside counsel in suit against a former technology vendor for theft of trade secrets. The vendor had worked with FedEx to develop scanning solutions that allowed multiple pieces to be scanned and measured even when placed adjacent to others on a sortation belt. The vendor later shared the technology with a competitor. Negotiated multi-million-dollar settlement of the case during jury trial in federal court. U.S. District Court, Western District of Tennessee.
  • Cargo loss, damage and delay litigation. Lead attorney in over 50 matters claiming loss to goods in transit under the Carmack Amendment, federal common law and international trade treaties. Developed unique expertise on the law of federal preemption under the Airline Deregulation Act, Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act, and the Carmack Amendment.
  • Defend employment claims against FedEx management within the FedEx legal organization, including a lawsuit by a former officer. While the subjects of these cases may not be disclosed, the case brought by the former officer involved 14 expert witnesses, including three authors of leading legal treatises and a former U.S. Attorney. Both cases were in U.S. District Court, Western District of Tennessee.
  • Internal investigation - Asia. Led an internal investigation into potential corruption by a FedEx Express vendor, which included witness interviews in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Manila. Required extensive coordination with internal audit and a financial forensic investigative vendor.

Mr. Higginbotham's experience also includes working as an associate attorney with various Memphis law firms where he handled general civil litigation in federal and state courts mainly focusing on insurance defense litigation, products liability, trucking liability, nursing home liability defense, and medical malpractice. He commenced his legal practice in 1993 as an assistant district attorney with the 18th Judicial District of Tennessee, prosecuting a full range of state criminal charges where he completed 12 jury trials and over 100 bench trials in two years.

Mr. Higginbotham received his Juris Doctor from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1993 and a Bachelor of Arts in 1990 from Washington and Lee University.

He is licensed to practice law in Tennessee and Pennsylvania and is admitted in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Six Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Areas of Practice

  • General Litigation
  • Product Liability
  • Insurance and Insurers
  • Labor and Employment
  • Medical Malpractice Defense
  • Nursing Homes
  • Premises Liability
  • Trucking and Transportation
  • Automotive Liability


Washington and Lee University, B.A. (1990)

University of Tennessee College of Law, J.D. (1993)

Bar Admissions



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