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Transportation Brief: Eleventh Circuit Upholds Downstream Carrier’s Limitation of Liability

by Kathleen C. Jeffries

May 22, 2018

Barrett Moving & Storage (Barrett) was asked to transport two truckloads of equipment from Illinois to Texas.  Barrett moved one truckload and retained Landstar under a broker/carrier agreement to move the other.  When the goods in the second truck were damaged, the shipper’s insurer sued both carriers.  Landstar moved to enforce the limitation of liability in its bill of lading.  The District Court rejected Landstar’s limitation, holding that Barrett’s agreement with the shipper, which contained no limitation, was binding on Landstar.  The Eleventh Circuit, in Essex Insurance v. Barrett Moving & Storage, reversed summary judgment against Landstar by upholding standing law that shippers are bound by liability limitations established between an intermediary and a carrier, notwithstanding the shipper’s claim that it was not aware that Barrett brokered the load.  The Court further held that it is the initial carrier, not the unknowing downstream carrier, that bears the burden of expanded liability to the shipper.

 

Scopelitis’ Transportation Brief® is intended as a report to our clients and friends on developments affecting the transportation industry. The published material does not constitute an exhaustive legal study and should not be regarded or relied upon as individual legal advice or opinion.


 

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