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Transportation Brief: Graves Amendment Shields Lessor From Liability

by Michael B. Langford

Mar 21, 2017

Owners of intermodal containers and chassis recently received protection from the Graves Amendment (49 U.S.C. § 30106) in a New York appellate case. In Eisenberg v. Cope Bestway Exp., Inc., the court held that the intermodal chassis lessor was not liable for the Plaintiff’s injuries. In reaching this decision, the court determined the lessor was a bona fide commercial lessor of motor vehicles, a chassis qualifies as a motor vehicle under the Graves Amendment, and there was no allegation that the accident was the result of any negligence on the lessor’s part. The plaintiffs’ bar continues to pursue equipment owners in injury litigation as an additional source of liability and damage recovery. The Graves Amendment continues to be a vital defense against such attacks.

Also in this issue:
  • Transportation Brief: Warehouse Claims – How to Respond, Defend, Settle
    by Eric J. Meyers , Kevin  M. Phillips
    Upon receiving a claim from a customer, a warehouse should first notify its insurer. It is imperative to satisfy the policy’s timely notice requirement should coverage be available. The warehouse should assess the claim, including the type of damages sought, and confirm the depositor has provided proper notice of claim by adequately identifying the goods or shipments involved.
  • Transportation Brief: First Circuit Deals Blow to Hair-Testing
    by Prasad Sharma , Timothy W. Wiseman
    On December 28, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit dealt a setback to the Boston Police Department’s hair-testing program used to assess an individual’s prior use of banned drugs. Jones v. City of Boston, No. 15-2015 (1st Cir. 2016). The decision may impact the potential use of hair testing programs in the trucking industry in lieu of currently prescribed pre-employment urine-testing.
  • Transportation Brief: Ohio Commercial Activity Tax Audits on the Rise
    by Andrew K. Light , Ronald J. Morelock
    Operating interstate motor vehicles in and through a jurisdiction where the carrier does not maintain an office, terminal or resident employee may create a state tax filing obligation. There is an increase in Ohio Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) audit activity involving interstate motor carriers with some presence in the state.
  • On the Road
    Scopelitis attorneys are often invited to participate in meetings with transportation industry leaders. Learn more about their trips this quarter.
  • Dispatches
    Transportation Industry News & Trends