In the years following trucking deregulation, a crisis arose for shippers. In what became known as the "balance due bill" crisis, thousands of shippers around the nation were hit with demands from trustees for bankrupt carriers claiming they owed back payments on trucking bills the shippers thought had long since been settled.
But shippers found a fierce and unrelenting advocate in William Augello, a lawyer who battled for years against what he saw as the injustice of those claims and who worked tirelessly to ensure that shippers understood what they needed to do to protect themselves. He was one of the founders of the group now known as the Transportation Logistics Council, an organization that focused on transportation-related legal issues. He was also a prolific writer on transportation law and an accomplished pianist.
In November, Augello passed away from an untreatable form of cancer that had been diagnosed earlier in the fall.
Augello practiced transportation and administrative law for 52 years. After retiring from the firm of Augello, Pezold and Hirschmann of Huntington, N.Y., he continued to consult with and present expert testimony for the transportation industry and members of the bar from his office in Tucson, Ariz. At the time of his death, he was an adjunct professor at the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona.
A graduate of Dartmouth College, Augello earned his law degree at Fordham Law School. He was also on the faculty of Denver University's Intermodal Transportation Institute and of the Institute of Logistical Management, having served on both institutes' boards of directors. In addition, he was coordinator for transportation law education at the National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade in Tucson, Ariz.
Augello also served as a member of the U.S. State Department's Advisory Committee on Private International Law. He was a founder and member of the board of the National Freight Transportation Library, the Shippers National Freight Claim Council, the Transportation Arbitration Board and the Certified Claims Professional Accreditation Council.
His accomplishments in transportation law were widely recognized. Among the awards Augello received over the years were the Harry E. Saltzberg Honorary Medallion from Syracuse University, the National Transportation Man of the Year Award from the Delta Nu Alpha Transportation Fraternity, and the Distinguished Service Award from the Transportation Lawyers Association.
One of Augello's books, Freight Claims in Plain English, written in collaboration with George Pezold, has become a leading text on carrier liability for loss, damage and delay. The fourth edition will be published this year. His last book, Legal Issues Affecting Shippers, Carriers and Intermediaries, was completed in the final weeks of his life and is scheduled to be published this month.
Prior to Augello's death, the University of Arizona Law Center established a scholarship fund in his name. Donations in his memory may be sent to Law College Association - William J. Augello Scholarship for Transportation and Commercial Law Studies, James E. Rogers College of Law, The University of Arizona, P.O. Box 210176, Tucson, AZ 85721-0176.