UPCOMING: The Motor Carrier Act of 1980 mandates that MCS-90 and Form F endorsements protect the public from uncompensated losses – if the endorsee motor carrier operates “in interstate commerce”. Can a mistake by the driver as to routing that is not intended by the company employing the driver, “override and negate the authorized fixed and persisting intent of a shipper and interstate common carrier that the transportation involved be interstate”?

The 2nd Circuit ruled that it can do so. 

Before the U.S. Supreme Court

Lyons v. Lancer Ins. Co.


On a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit

Petitioner’s Reply Brief on the Merits available here (subscription required). 2013 WL 543282.

Petitioner here argues that there is a conflict between the circuits: 

“Notwithstanding the holding in Lyons v. Lancer, Courts, other than the Second Circuit have already held that a bus driver does not have the legal authority to act, nor is he a shipper with the authority to override the fixed and persisting intent of an actual shipper in determining whether transportation was interstate or intrastate. Consumers v. Sons Trucking Inc. IV, U.S. Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit No. 01-20201 (dated and filed October 8, 2002); Canal Insurance Company v. Owens, et al., 211 U.S. Dist. Lexis 118329 (dated and filed October 12, 2011).”

Legal doctrine take-away: 

“Deregulation” was premised in part on the “financial responsibility” minimums for insurance of motor carriers against harm to others. But that requirement applies only to an interstate motor carrier.

Practical business take-away: 

At issue here is whether or not the protection built into the “deregulation” of the motor carrier industry in 1980 will have an unpredictable gap where a driver has opted to routing that is intrastate notwithstanding the employer motor carrier’s “intent” that would render the carrier “interstate” in character.

This is about predictability that the MCS-90 and Form F endorsements will be enforceable on behalf of those harmed by motor carriers.