Federal Diversity Jurisdiction for Trucking Companies

Kevin Anderson Regulations

Because of the interstate nature of the trucking and transportation industry, most legal issues involving a trucking company are dealt with at a federal level. This includes federal statutory schemes, regulations, and even court cases. But this is not to say that there is no state involvement with trucking companies. State departments of transportation have an enormous influence on the trucking and transportation industries, as do the 50 different judicial systems across the country. In fact, most of the lawsuits brought against trucking and transportation companies will first begin in state court, but will often be removed soon after to federal court. Federal Jurisdiction and Removal Power Many times a trucking company will be sued in a state court because of an accident, contract dispute, or other legal issue. The reason most lawsuits begin in state court is because most attorneys are familiar with their local courts and are more …

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Limitations to FAAAA and Preemption

Kevin Anderson Employment and Labor, Regulations, Transportation

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion that further clarified the limitations placed on the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act and preemption. The ruling was a reiteration of the ruling issued by the Ninth Circuit in Dilts v. Penske Logistics, LLC, in 2014. This case is another example of how trucking companies have tried to use the FAAAA as a way to prevent certain state’s laws. But on some occasions, even the powerful preemptive language of the FAAAA does not work to preempt a state law affecting a trucking or transportation company. Washington State Worker’s Compensation Laws This case began when the Washington Department of Labor and Industries imposed workers’ compensation premiums and penalties on a delivery company. The company argued to the Washington state agency, and later in federal court that the FAAAA preemption any such premiums or penalties. Ultimately, they have lost that argument. Preemption …

Court Dismisses Trucking Association Complaint, Allows Truckers to Proceed

Kevin Anderson Judgments, Transportation

In a court case that dates back to 2014, a federal district court in Washington D.C. recently dismissed any right to proceed in the case for OOIDA, but allowed two individual truckers to continue their case against The Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Now the court will have to consider whether the two truckers were damaged by the allegations they are bringing. Those allegations surround the disclosure of personal information by the FMCSA to the MCMIS system, which shows violations of state traffic laws. The problem with the disclosure was that in each of the cases of the plaintiffs suing, they had the violations dismissed or adjudicated in their favor. Nonetheless, when viewing the MCMIS, potential employers did not see the positive adjudication, and would be under the impression that the driver did violate a safety regulation. Problems With Reporting This presented a concrete problem …

Court Advances Trucking Company Retaliation Case

Kevin Anderson Judgments, Regulations, Transportation

A recent decision out of the U.S. District Court in Oregon provides many examples of ways a trucking or transportation company can get into trouble in dealing with its employees. The case reflects the reality that in the trucking and transportation industry, there are many complex laws that apply at any given time. It is an important lesson on why a company should have the right employment policies in place. What Happened in This Case The case, Roux v. Central Oregon Truck Company, involved a dispute between the driver and his employer over the safety of one of the trailers he drove, and how the company reacted at his insistence it be fixed. According to the opinion, one of the company’s trailers could not get a proper weight reading at loading because of damage to the axles, and the air brakes leaked air. Because of these deficiencies, the employee was …

Court Limits Scope of Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act and Preemption

Kevin Anderson Judgments, Regulations, Transportation

The United States Appeals Court for the 10th Circuit recently denied a petition from a garbage collection company to apply the preemption provisions of the FAAAA because of a city ordinance. The case, Dirty Boyz Sanitation Service, Inc. v. City of Rawlins, is an example of the limits on FAAAA preemption. The case began in 2008 when the garbage collection company took on a contract with a local municipality to collect and transfer garbage to the local landfill. Over time the company’s operations expanded, and they began collecting garbage from multiple places and shipping it interstate. Throughout this process, the company used city and other transfer stations to stage and collect garbage, getting it ready to ship interstate. It was at this point the company realized they could save a lot of money by not using the municipality’s transfer station, and constructing one of their own. This was a problem …

California Company Sues Over Damaged Freight Bound for Oregon

Kevin Anderson Cargo Liability, Transportation

In a recently filed lawsuit, a drilling company sued a Washington-based trucking company for damages to freight that was supposed to be delivered to an Oregon drilling site. The complaint is based on claims under the Carmack Amendment, but could involve the thorny issue of whether damages were limited at the outset of the contract. This case began when a trucking company was contracted to ship a large piece of drilling equipment from California to Oregon. En route, the truck caught on fire and the equipment was damaged. The plaintiffs in this case argue that the equipment had a market value of over $300,000 and the total cost of their damages because of lost production and replacement was just under $1 million. Before filing a lawsuit, the company made a demand on the carrier and its insurance for the loss, but the carrier and insurance company only tendered $100,000 (the …

Trucking and Transportation Issues Require a Trucking and Transportation Law Firm

Kevin Anderson Cargo Liability, Judgments, Transportation

A recent example from a federal district court decision illustrates the point that trucking and transportation legal issues demand the attention of a trucking and transportation law firm. That case, Reclaimed Goods, LLC v. Frisard’s Trucking Company, Inc., involved the age-old issue of damaged goods being transported from one state to another, but only one of the parties involved really understood the issues. The case in Reclaimed Goods was over a claim of damages to used lockers, which were shipped from Georgia to Louisiana. The plaintiff in the case claimed that the lockers were delivered damaged, and sued the carrier on a claim of negligence for not securing and shipping the lockers properly. The Carmack Amendment is Exclusive As any qualified trucking and transportation law professional will tell you, in cases of lost, damaged, or stolen goods shipped interstate, there is only one cause of action to recover – the …

Group to Challenge California Supreme Court Ruling

Kevin Anderson Regulations, Transportation

Some of the biggest legal challenges surrounding the trucking industry involve the classification of trucking employees. At the epicenter of these battles is California, where it is becoming increasingly difficult for trucking companies to know which laws apply to whom. As a result, a group representing owner-operators is challenging a recent California Supreme Court ruling. That ruling, Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County, concerned questions about whether an employee should be classified as an independent contractor or an employee. The contrast between the two can mean the difference between a company’s success or a company going out of business. Court Develops Test The Dynamex case was about drivers of a delivery service company who complained that they were not paid for rest, meal, and other breaks as required by California state law. They also complained that their pay did not meet the state minimum …

An Example of Limiting Liability Under the Carmack Amendment

Kevin Anderson Cargo Liability, Transportation

For trucking and transportation companies, limiting liability under the provisions of the Carmack Amendment is a particularly important detail that should not be overlooked. Limiting liability under the Carmack Amendment is not as easy as simply putting limiting language in a bill of lading or transportation contract. There are specific steps which must be taken. The Carmack Amendment was initiated by Congress as a nationwide policy for carriers who do business from state to state. Instead of dealing with 50 different state policies on what to do when cargo is lost, damaged, or stolen, the federal government set up one scheme known as the Carmack Amendment. The law itself is the embodiment of the common law for carriers, which was developed over hundreds of years and brought from England to America. The main principle behind it is that carriers are primarily responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen cargo when it …

FAAAA Preempts Personal Injury Claim Against Freight Broker

Kevin Anderson Judgments, Regulations, Transportation

In a case that has involved multiple claims pertinent to trucking and transportation law, a federal judge recently invoked the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act to preempt a claim for personal injuries against a freight broker. This is an area of trucking and transportation law which is not very developed, so the court in Krauss v. IRIS USA, INC., is helping pave the way for additional jurisprudence. Facts of the Case at Hand This case began when a charity called Fightback for Autism sought to have a truckload of Legos delivered interstate. The charity hired a freight broker who hired a carrier to deliver the Legos. According the complaint and various court documents, the Legos were packed in a trailer and delivered to the charity, where an employee tried to unload them with his forklift. Because the Legos were negligently loaded by the carrier, the employee was injured trying to …