Mark J. Ayotte
- E firstname.lastname@example.org
- T (612) 977-8240
- F (612) 977-8650
Mark is a partner in Taft's Commercial Litigation practice. He practices principally in the areas of transportation law, telecommunications law and commercial litigation.
In the transportation and logistics area, Mark has acted as counsel for both shippers and transportation and distribution service providers, including motor carriers, property brokers, freight forwarders, 3PL’s, warehousemen and household goods carriers. His experience includes DOT regulatory compliance, personal injury and property damage claims, drug and alcohol testing, and contracts. He has drafted, negotiated, administered and enforced hundreds of transportation and distribution contracts related to motor carrier, brokerage, warehousing, consolidation, deconsolidation, fulfillment and transportation management services. He has also represented dozens of parties in the prosecution or defense of freight loss and damage claims, and counseled shippers in the defense of freight undercharge claims.
Mark formerly served as general counsel for a national diversified transportation and warehousing business with responsibility for labor, regulatory compliance, litigation management, real estate and mergers and acquisitions. He has firsthand business experience in the transportation and warehousing industries.
Mark represents a variety of telecommunications carriers in the region on numerous telecommunications issues, including certificates of authority, regulatory compliance, interconnection negotiations and arbitrations, pole attachments, cable television and transactional matters. Representing competitive local exchange carriers, interexchange carriers and commercial mobile radio services providers, he regularly appears before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) and in state and federal courts on telecommunications matters. He has also appeared before numerous state regulatory agencies, including Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. He has been involved in several landmark cases at the MPUC relating to the compulsory arbitration and approval of both landline and wireless interconnection agreements and eligible telecommunications carrier designations under the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996.
Mark is also active in various administrative rulemaking proceedings before the MPUC and other states. He has assisted clients on regulatory compliance issues regarding federal and state TCPA and telemarketing matters, CLEC regulations, universal service fund matters and public rights-of-way. He has also represented clients in agency investigations and adjudicatory matters, including hearings before administrative law judges and presiding officers, as well as appeals from agency decisions.
Honoree, Minnesota Super Lawyers
AV Peer Review Rated, LexisNexis/Martindale-Hubbell
- University of Minnesota Law School (1985)
- St. Mary's University (1982)
summa cum laude
- State - Minnesota
- Federal - U.S. Supreme Court
- Federal - 8th Circuit Court of Appeals
- Federal - District of Minnesota
- Advised and assisted on federal/state DOT regulatory compliance, including hours of service, driver qualifications, hazardous materials and drug/alcohol testing, and the development and negotiation of motor carrier/shipper contracts.
- Advised and assisted private and for-hire motor carriers on federal DOT regulatory compliance, including DOT audits, notice of claims, civil penalties and related matters.
- Evaluated, investigated and prosecuted/defended freight loss and damage claims in the transportation of property.
- Represented motor carrier clients in the drafting and administration of independent contractor services agreements.
- Prosecuted freight loss and damage claim against motor carrier for damage to food products due to failure to provide protective services.
- Defended shippers on claims by motor carriers for non-payment on brokered shipments.
- Defended courier services provider in audit by Minnesota Department of Revenue seeking to reclassify independent contractor drivers as employees.
- Assisted transportation providers in asset acquisitions of other carriers.
- Defended claims by 3PL for nonpayment due to delays in delivery and challenge to purported lien rights for goods in transit.
- Defended courier services provider in audit by Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development seeking to reclassify independent contractor drivers as employees.
- Drafted, negotiated and administrated transportation agreements involving motor carriers, property brokers, freight forwarders, air freight forwarders, ocean carriers and warehouse services providers.
- Represented clients in state public utility commission proceedings to obtain CLEC certificates of authority.
- Represented clients in state public utility commission proceedings on a variety of regulatory matters in numerous states.
- Represented wireless carriers in obtaining eligible telecommunications carrier designation from Federal Communications Commission and various state public utility commissions.
- Advised wireless telecommunications carriers on compliance with federal and state universal service/ETC requirements in numerous states.
- Advised wireless telecommunications carriers on compliance with federal and state requirements for Lifeline/Link-Up universal service programs in numerous states.
- Represented telecommunications clients in compliance audits and financial audits conducted by USAC related to universal service disbursements, universal service contributions, Lifeline/Link-Up programs, and connection with appeals of audit filings.
- Provided advocacy, regulatory advice, and prepared comments for rulemaking proceedings relating to universal service and ETC designation in numerous states.
- Handled federal litigation relating to designation of wireless carriers as eligible telecommunications carriers in numerous states.
- Provided regulatory due diligence analyses of universal service obligations and compliance in corporate merger and acquisition transactions in numerous states.
- Represented wireless carrier in federal court dispute with local telephone company regarding compensation for calls between parties' networks.
- Represented clients before the FCC in intercarrier compensation and notice and comment proceedings.
- Represented clients in responding to civil investigative demands from an Attorney General related to consumer protection and trade regulation of telecommunications carriers.
- Represented clients in toll fraud litigation.
- Defended against allegations that client violated telemarketing and auto-dialing regulations.
- Represented telecommunications carrier in administrative proceeding and litigation relating to alleged ex parte contacts with state regulatory commission.
- Advised and assisted on pole attachments and right-of-way matters, including the development, negotiation and administration of pole license agreements, NESC compliance and administration of right-of-way ordinances.
- Assisted client in development and administration of Request for Proposal (RFP) seeking national supplier to provide and deliver products to restaurants, including drafting and negotiation of Supply and Distribution Services Agreements.
- Drafted, negotiated and administrated RFPs and agreements for a distributed antennae system serving Major League Baseball facility and convention center/arena.
- Represented long-distance company in federal court proceedings regarding intercarrier compensation dispute for Voice over Internet Protocol traffic.
- Successfully obtained injunction preventing a Minnesota statute affecting wireless carriers' contracts and customer service procedures from taking effect.
- Represented the Minnesota Vikings in the development of U.S. Bank Stadium.
Taft Acts as Legal Counsel to Wholesale-Logistical Solutions, Inc. in its Merger With MaxTrans Logistics
Taft Acts as Legal Counsel to US Logistics and Nationwide Logistics in Sale to Transport Investments and Gemspring Capital
- Minnesota State Bar Association
Member, Public Utilities Committee
Former Chair, Communications Law Section
- Ramsey County Bar Association
- Transportation Lawyers Association