REMARKS – Plaintiff shipper’s contract and tort claims against broker who arranged motor carrier shipment in which plaintiff’s freight (a machine) was damaged was NOT PREEMPTED by the Carmack Amendment because that statute does not cover actions by a broker. COMMENT: The basics of Carmack Amendment’s coverage remain the subject of confusion and – as here – unnecessary litigation.

ATLAS Aerospace LLC v. Advanced Transportation, Inc., Case No. 12-1200-JWL (U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, April 24, 2013). Free copy from the court available here.

Legal Take-Away:

The legal take-away is entirely unremarkable. A simple reading of the Carmack Amendment (49 U.S. Code § 14706) reveals that the Carmack Amendment does not apply to a “broker” but instead to a “carrier”.

Applicable “broker” and “carrier” definitions (49 U.S. Code § 13102) are mutually exclusive.

Practical Take-Away:

Non lawyers should assure themselves that counsel understand transportation law before paying them to bring expensive litigation.

Lawyers should know what they are doing before they file pleadings.

Not to be snarky, but there is no excuse for any lawyer bringing a lawsuit against a “broker” under the Carmack Amendment, or with Carmack Amendment defenses being raised with respect to the actions of a “broker”. 

Employment (Fair Labor Standards Act) / One motor carrier broker FLSA case and one maritime employee FLSA case from 2nd and 3rd weeks of January 2013:

Hendricks v. Total Quality Logistics, LLC, 2013 WL 210279 (United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, January 18, 2013). Garden-variety FLSA claim against motor carrier broker in context of class action certification decision. Free copy available here.

Coffin v. Blessey Marine Services, Inc., 2013 WL 244918 (United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, January 22, 2013). Action by maritime employee under FLSA by 9 individuals employed by inland riverway chemical barge towboat operator as tankermen. Defendant towboat operator contends tankermen are “seamen” and therefore do not qualify for FLSA rights to time-and-one-half for overtime work. Held: On motion for Continue reading