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SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD

General Counsel

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) Office of the General Counsel (OGC) provides legal advice to the Board on a variety of issues, including not only substantive issues related to Board decisions, but also more general matters such as ethics and procurement.  OGC’s primary mission in defending the agency is two-fold:  (1) to work closely with Members and other staff to enhance the defensibility of agency decisions; and (2) to defend in court the STB’s decisions that are challenged.  When STB decisions are challenged – typically in a United States court of appeals – the STB has independent litigating authority.  That means that both the STB (represented by the agency’s own attorneys) and the United States (represented by U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys) must be named as respondents, and both have authority to appear in court in such cases.  28 U.S.C. § 2323; 49 U.S.C. § 1303(b).  STB and DOJ attorneys, in most cases, jointly defend the agency’s decisions, with the STB’s attorneys preparing written briefs (in consultation with DOJ attorneys) and presenting oral arguments on behalf of the Federal Government.