An innovative incident and crisis response manager, Scott Riddle leads investigations and legal response for clients in the transportation industry.
From transportation incidents and terrorist attacks to corporate criminality and governmental investigations, Scott and his teams have guided clients through complex crises. As an attorney who clients turn to when things get tough, Scott has developed a crisis management practice employing a strategic and business-focused approach for clients facing emergencies and distinguished himself as a top-notch legal crisis manager. In this role, he guides teams of employees, attorneys, and outside consultants in the development and implementation of crisis management and public relations strategies to protect a client's interests and reputation, minimize harm to business assets, and achieve the most favorable outcome.
Scott has advised motor carriers, railroad companies, air fleets and airlines, as well as others in the transportation industry. Additionally, he has represented individuals and companies involved in commercial trucking, mass transit and automobile accidents, commercial and private plane crashes, derailments and crossing accidents, and other casualty incidents. Scott, who is available to clients 24 hours a day, provides on-site support after incidents and conducts thorough investigations, manages the full spectrum of legal and regulatory obligations, and interacts with accident investigative agencies where appropriate. Scott prepares his clients for exposures including civil litigation and related regulatory and criminal enforcement actions.
Scott has experience representing clients in high-profile and highly confidential critical matters. In addition to casualty incidents, his clients have faced major industrial and environmental accidents, congressional subpoenas, unwanted connections to national tragedies and terrorist attacks, mass tort and class action lawsuits, product recalls, plant shutdowns, and intense media scrutiny. Two clients have even been directly targeted in presidential tweets. Scott brings both an old-school work ethic and an ability to craft innovative strategies. In every instance, Scott puts his clients first and works tirelessly to mitigate negative fallout.
Perhaps more importantly, Scott helps clients create detailed, client-specific incident response/crisis management plans and tailored response teams. Scott’s clients benefit from a proactive approach towards accidents and other potential crises. Scott provides pragmatic, battle-tested protocols and plans based on best practices developed with his experience and careful consideration of crisis patterns and strategies.
Away from the Office
Scott was born and raised in New Orleans, but moved to Arkansas when his dad, a 30-year veteran of Walmart, relocated to the home office in Bentonville. Scott likes to spend time with his family and friends. He enjoys the outdoors, dive bars, and traveling with his wife. A past season ticket holder, Scott is a passionate third-generation Saints fan.
- State Bar of Texas
- United States District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, Western and Southern Districts of Texas
- State Bar of Arkansas
- United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas
- Baylor University School of Law, J.D., with special distinction, 2010
- University of Arkansas, B.A., with honors, 2007
- Texas Rising Stars, Thomson Reuters (2017 - 2022)
- Best Lawyers Under 40, D Magazine (2018 – 2021)
- Pakis Giotes Page & Burleson Advocacy Award, Baylor Law School (2010)
- Scott represented a collection of pilots and operators after a series of similar crashes. Scott built out a team of experts formerly with the FAA and NTSB and quickly investigated the crashes to identify the cause(s). Despite tremendous pushback from the investigatory agencies and manufacturer, the team identified probable design and manufacturing defects. The team also uncovered similar incidents unreported by the manufacturer's pilots. Scott developed a media plan that resulted in a groundswell of support and a bombshell article in The Wall Street Journal. Scott and his team turned the tide from determinations likely focused on pilot error to a full-out investigation into the manufacturer that led to numerous service letters and mandatory bulletins and a grounding of the fleet.
- Scott represented a company following its connection to a mass shooting. Scott quickly organized a multidisciplinary team to address unprecedented pressure on the company. The team, led by Scott, dealt with a bevy of issues: analysis of complex risk exposure and preparedness for looming high-volume litigation; numerous governmental investigations; intense media attention; insurance coverage dispute; and likely reputational ruin. Scott and the team combined rapid response with strategic guidance to mitigate long-term legal, business, regulatory, and public relations impacts from the crisis.
- Scott’s client was forced to close a manufacturing plant and lay off the entire workforce. Scott organized and led an employment/public relations team to assist in the closing. The team designed employee separation packages to eliminate legal exposure, afford advance notice, and provide significant post-closing compensation. Because the President of the United States had attacked the company in social media, the team prepared a detailed communications strategy. The sophisticated and thoughtful strategy paid off as the closing quickly fell from the news cycle.
- Scott advised a company in an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. Scott immediately performed an internal investigation, developed a strategy for responding to document subpoenas, and prepared the company’s CEO for testimony before a grand jury. The case was resolved with no charges filed.
- At the request of the majority investor in an oilfield trucking company, Scott conducted an internal investigation into the company’s spending practices and management of financial capital. Scott teamed up with an accounting firm and quickly identified misuse of confidential information; tortious interference with existing and prospective business relationships; and breaches of fiduciary duties by the operating partners. Under threat of litigation, the targeted partners forfeited their ownership. Creative steps were taken to recover lost capital.
For some of the country’s leading transportation companies, Scott also handles a wide variety of litigation and regulatory matters. Scott has a deep understanding of the transportation industry with noteworthy experience to help companies avoid, settle or prevail in litigation.
- Scott represented a regional trucking company in a breach of contract trial. The opposing party, a multinational waste collection company, attempted to terminate a long-term exclusive hauling contract under false pretenses so the company could bring the work in-house. Scott’s client filed suit, “bet the company,” and tried the case to a jury. After a one-week trial, the jury awarded all requested damages and attorneys’ fees. The case settled during appeal on favorable terms.
- Scott was part of a trial team that convinced a Texas state judge to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit after six days of trial. The plaintiffs argued the client, a waste management company, and its driver caused an accident that led to the death of their family member. In a motion for directed verdict, Scott argued the uniqueness of the decedent’s injury and death required specific expert testimony that plaintiffs failed to present at trial. Although there was no on-point appellate precedent to support the creative argument, the judge agreed and dismissed the lawsuit in its entirety.
- The founders of an innovative telecommunications company were embroiled in an internal dispute over alleged breach of fiduciary duty and mishandling of millions in investments. The company develops technology that allows for continuous wireless access along any paved surface. Shareholders filed a derivative lawsuit. Scott argued and won a summary judgment dismissing all of the plaintiffs’ claims against the founders. Scott also sought a declaratory judgment on behalf of the company to dilute the plaintiffs’ ownership. It was granted with an award for attorneys’ fees. Scott used this judgment to obtain an ex parte turnover order, which in turn was used to reclaim the entirety of the plaintiffs’ ownership in the company.
- Scott served on a trial team hired by a national trucking company to try a high-damages lawsuit filed by a police officer. The officer, responding to a call with lights and sirens, was gravely injured when the company’s truck struck his police cruiser in an intersection. The collision occurred at 1 a.m. During preparation, Scott discovered the truck driver, who had exceeded his permissible driving hours at the time of the collision, doctored his logbooks and lied in his deposition. The prior defense team was unaware of the issue, but the officer’s lawyer was not. Scott and the trial team were able to adapt, prepare a solid defense, and convince a jury to issue a defense verdict.
- Scott’s client, a regional trucking company, suspected a high-level employee of diverting contracts to a new trucking entity the employee created, in secrecy, as a direct competitor. Scott quickly assembled investigative and litigation teams. The litigation team swiftly obtained an ex parte temporary restraining order. The investigative team, using a computer forensics expert and an emergency discovery order, established ample evidence to support the client’s suspicions. Scott put the now-fired employee through a grueling deposition that made it clear he was dead to rights. The parties reached a favorable settlement before the completion of a temporary injunction hearing.
- Scott represented a Texas corporation in a battle with an aircraft management company charged with managing its corporate jet. Scott’s client discovered the management company was defrauding it under the guise of its charter services. Scott’s client was fearful the management company would destroy the aircraft’s maintenance logbooks when served with the lawsuit. Scott obtained an ex parte writ of sequestration to permit a sheriff deputy and flight crew to secure the logbooks and fly the jet to a safe airport. Once litigation ensued, the management company took an aggressive posture, asserted counterclaims, and accused Scott’s client of making false and misleading statements. Scott meticulously tracked the jet’s three-year history, uncovering the underlying fraud and “cooked books.” The case settled on very favorable terms.
- Aviation Emergency Response Organization
- International Air & Transportation Safety Bar Association (formerly the National Transportation Safety Board Bar Association)
- State Bar of Texas, Aviation Law Section
- Transportation Lawyers Association