Publications

Section Newsletter Articles on Transportation Law

FMCSA bars driver “texting” while driving By William D. Brejcha Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, March 2010 Electronic devices used for texting are prohibited under current FMCSR safety regulations.
Carrier not a broker and remains liable for cargo damage By William D. Brejcha Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, December 2009  In Aioi Ins. Co. v. Timely Integrated, Inc., 2009 WL 2474072 (S.D.N.Y. 8/12/09), shipper Yazaki hired motor carrier Timely to move auto parts from AZ to IL.
Supreme Court to hear cargo claim case: Does Carmack or COGSA control? By William D. Brejcha Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, December 2009 The U.S. Supreme Court has accepted a 9th Circuit case for review where the issue will be which federal statute controls in a cargo damage claim arising from an Oklahoma train derailment on a through bill of lading shipment that originated in China with a sea move to Long Beach, CA followed by an inland rail move to Midwest U.S. destinations in Regal-Beloit Corp. v. Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd., 557 F.3d 985 (9th Cir. 2/17/09).
Appellate Court chooses the substantive law of the place of crash as controlling in derailment action By William D. Brejcha Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, June 2009 In The Burlington Northern And Santa Fe Railway Company v. ABC-NACO, the Illinois Appellate Court for the First District affirmed the Circuit Court of Cook County’s finding that Arizona law controlled product liability/negligence claims that resulted from an Arizona derailment of a BNSF train.
Seventh Circuit allows Union Pacific higher transport rate under Force Majeure clause By William D. Brejcha Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, June 2009 A look at the case of Wisconsin Electric Power Co. v. Union Pacific Railroad Co.
Carrier wins summary judgment in cargo damage suit By William D. Brejcha Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, March 2009 In Design X Manufacturing, Inc. v. ABF Freight Systems, Inc., the United States District Court for Connecticut granted motor carrier ABF’s motion for summary judgment in a shipper’s cargo damage lawsuit.
Seventh Circuit finds driver’s own negligence defeated her claims against logistics company and shipper By William D. Brejcha Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, March 2009 The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago has rejected a truck driver’s personal injury claim against a logistics company and a shipper in Camp v. TNT Logistics Corporation.
How federal regulations are used to build a punitive damages claim in trucking accident cases By Dawn M. Mefford Tort Law, December 2008 This article examines the requirements for imposing punitive damages on a trucking company and discusses the general burden a plaintiff must meet in order to submit a claim for punitive damages to the jury.
Mexico helps reduce transportation costs: The Ciudad Juárez-El Paso metro area is the ideal location By Humberto Guerrero International and Immigration Law, December 2008 High oil prices are indeed affecting U.S. and non-U.S. companies around the world. A U.S. company that manufactures a product 7,000 miles away from home is definitely running into cost problems due to the unprecedented high transportation costs.
9th Circuit finds Carmack preempts intentional tort claim against mover By William D. Brejcha Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, October 2008 The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has affirmed a California District Court ruling that the Carmack Amendment of 49 U.S.C. §14706 preempted an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim arising out of an interstate household goods move inWhite v. Mayflower Transit, L.L.C., Case No. 07-55528 (decided 9/12/08).
Carmack damages do not allow for any shipper windfall By William D. Brejcha Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, June 2008 In Houmani v. Roadway Express, Inc., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20774 (N.D. Oh., 3/17/08), the Court granted Roadway partial summary judgment in an action where the appropriate damage standard under the Carmack Amendment, 49 U.S.C. §14706, was at issue.
No railroad liability when auto’s driver hits a stopped train on dark, foggy night By William D. Brejcha Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, June 2008 In Phillip Morris v. Illinois Central Railroad Company, No. 4-07-0816 (5/18/08), the Illinois Appellate Court for the Fourth District affirmed a trial court’s dismissal of a wrongful death claim arising from a January 1, 2004 incident where the plaintiff’s decedent crashed his car into an Illinois Central train that was stopped at a rail crossing at 7:04 p.m.
Fact questions as to “good order” of cargo at origin and the shipper’s duty of mitigation bar summary judgment in cargo claim litigation By William D. Brejcha Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, March 2008 U.S. District Judge William Griesbach refused to grant summary judgment in cargo loss and damage litigation in Land O’Lakes, Inc. v. Superior Service Transportation of Wisconsin, Inc., 500 F.Supp. 2d 1150 (E.D. Wis. 6/27/07).
Illinois Supreme Court construes indemnity provision to require indemnitor to indemnify indemnitee from its own negligence By Corey B. Stern Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, March 2008 In Buenz v. Frontline Transp. Co., 2008 WL 217169 (Ill., Jan. 2008), the Illinois Supreme Court held that the language in an interchange agreement (hereinafter “Agreement”) between two carriers required the first carrier to indemnify the second carrier for any and all claims, even claims based on the second carrier’s negligence.
Illinois Supreme Court affirms finding of truck owner-operator employee status By William D. Brejcha Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, December 2007 A controversial issue in transportation law is whether owner-operators who lease their trucks to motor carriers are employees or independent contractors.
Virginia District Court sustains personal injury action against property broker By William D. Brejcha Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, December 2007 A summary of Jones v. D’Souza.
Seventh Circuit enforces tariff non-liability rule against jeweler By William D. Brejcha Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, April 2007 In Trieber & Straub, Inc. v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 474 F.3d 379 (7th Cir., 1/9/07), the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit both affirmed and modified a summary judgment entered by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in favor of the United Parcel Service (“UPS”) in an action where jeweler Trieber sued UPS for the loss of a diamond ring in transit in UPS’ air freight service.
Seventh Circuit rejects Disabilities Act claim in driver termination for a blood pressure disorder By William D. Brejcha Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, April 2007 On March 21, 2007, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago affirmed a summary judgment from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Schneider National, Inc., No. 06-3108.
District Court enforces 18-month statute of limitations for carrier accessorial charges and a contract according to its terms By William D. Brejcha Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, March 2007 In Emmert Industrial Corporation v. Artisan Associates, Inc., 2005 WL 913129 (D.Or.), motor carrier Emmert sued broker Artisan for some $570,000 worth of packing and storage charges and other damages.
First District finds indemnity agreement covers claims of indemnitee negligence By William D. Brejcha Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, March 2007 On October 1, 2003, a truck driver who operated a tractor hauling a China Ocean Shipping Co. container hit a bus, killing passenger John Buenz. Buenz’s wife then brought a wrongful death claim against the driver, the transportation company and COSCO.
Court finds both that Carmack Amendment remedy preempts state law claims and that Carmack Amendment waiver was not established By William D. Brejcha Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, February 2007 In MidAmerican Energy Co. v. Start Enterprises, Inc., a motor carrier dropped a storage array on the floor during the course of an interstate move from Nebraska to Iowa, causing damage of approximately $213,392.
Federal District Court finds preemption bars carrier’s state law tort claims By William D. Brejcha Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, February 2007 In Yellow Transp., Inc. v. DM Transp. Management Services, Inc., the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania found that 49 U.S.C. §14501(c)(1) of the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995 (“ICCTA”) preempted Yellow’s state law tort claims against DM.
The Illinois Supreme Court revisits intrastate forum non conveniens in Langenhorst v. Norfolk Southern Railway: “A battle over the minutiae” By Kris R. Murphy Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, November 2006 In Langenhorst v. Norfolk Southern Railway Company, the Supreme Court of Illinois recently revisited the doctrine of intrastate forum non conveniens.
Cost of doing business: Air freight carriers pay prejudgment interest too By Michael S. Schimmel and Matthew J. Kissling International and Immigration Law, May 2003 While the Warsaw Convention appears on its face outdated and the Hague Protocol inapplicable, these two doctrines are still well alive and are often applied in modern day situations.
Surface Transportation Board affirms earlier decision that truck licensing issues—including definition of “household goods carrier”—should be resolved by federal motor carrier safety administration Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, August 2001 Surface Transportation Board (Board) Linda J. Morgan announced on July 13, 2001 that the Board issued a decision affirming an earlier ruling that the determination of whether particular trucking companies were household goods carriers ("moving companies") should not be resolved by the Board but, rather by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
Recent news releases Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, January 1999 Surface Transportation Board (board) Chairman Linda J. Morgan announced today that, to date, 22 written decisions have been issued by the board in the "Conrail" railroad control proceeding following the board's July 1998 approval of the application of CSX Corporation and CSX Transportation, Inc. (collectively, CSX) and Norfolk Southern Corporation and Norfolk Southern Railway Company (collectively, NS) to acquire control of Conrail Inc. and Consolidated Rail Corporation (collectively, Conrail) and to divide Conrail's assets between them.
Transportation law update By William D. Brejcha Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, January 1999 In the update for this issue, we will again address recent rulings and decisions which impact on our transportation clients generally.