Monthly Archives: March 2015

HILLARY BOOTH SPEAKS AT THE TRANSPORTATION & LOGISTICS COUNCIL CONFERENCE

Hillary Booth participated in the “Law of the Land, Law of the Jungle” panel presentation at the 2015 Transportation & Logistics Council conference.   The panel discussed various topics of interest to transportation professionals, including the proper measure of damages for lost or delayed cargo, the requirements for enforcement of limitations on liability, and the rights of the parties in connection with concealed damages.  The conference was attended by industry members and attorneys from all over the Country, and provided education and networking opportunities.

HOUSE BILL WOULD PROVIDE UNIFORM STANDARD FOR THE SELECTION OF MOTOR CARRIERS

On February 26, 2015, Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN) reintroduced a Bill (H.R. 1120) that prohibits any state from enforcing a law or imposing liability on an entity that hires a motor carrier for the transportation of property or household goods under a negligent selection claim or cause of action.  This prohibition would apply to any type of damages, including personal injury, death, cargo damage, or other property damage.  The bill specifies the protected entities as those acting as a shipper, a broker, a consignee, a freight forwarder, a household goods freight forwarder, a Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier, an ocean freight forwarder, an ocean transportation intermediary, an indirect air carrier, a licensed customs broker, an interchange motor carrier, or a warehouse.

The entities may obtain the provided protections from liability only if, before tendering a shipment but not more than 35 days before the hired motor carrier picks up a shipment, the entity verifies that the motor carrier, at the time of verification:

1. Is registered with and authorized by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) to operate as a motor carrier or household goods motor carrier;

2. Has the minimum insurance coverage required by federal regulation; and

3. Does not have an unsatisfactory safety rating from the FMCSA at the time of verification.

If passed, the Bill would provide some needed stability and predictability in the industry, and would nullify what the Transportation Intermediaries Association (“TIA”) has termed “the confusing and conflicting vagaries of the CSA BASIC data as it relates to the negligent selection of a carrier.”  This Bill would confirm that a satisfactory rating from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the applicable standard, and that the FMCSA is the only entity authorized to determine whether a motor carrier is safe to operate and to hire.

H.R. 1120 is currently being considered by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.