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Transportation Brief: Spotlight on Cargo Claim & Freight Charge Practice — Managing the Expected & Unexpected in the COVID-19 Era

Kathleen C. Jeffries, Andrew F. Marquis, Gregory A. Ostendorf, Michael J. Tauscher

August 6, 2020

When COVID-19 struck, shippers, brokers, and carriers had to stay focused on the immediate challenges of the pandemic. However, as we settle into the current “new normal”, cargo claims are back on everyone’s radar — including claims related to the pandemic (e.g., claims where a shipment was handled by a person who later tested positive; or claims where a shipment was unexpectedly delayed due to a local shutdown or similar issue). Consideration must be given to whether an act of God or act of government authority applies, whether the contract contemplates pandemics as a force majeure event, and whether insurance exists for the cause of the claim.

In addition, the first wave of COVID-19 related bankruptcies has begun — from Hertz to Cirque de Soleil. When assessing exposure to potential or actual customer bankruptcies, transportation and warehouse service providers should be careful not to increase their exposure to financially unstable clients and take action to minimize their exposure both before the bankruptcy filing and immediately thereafter.

The Firm’s Cargo Claim & Freight Charge/Collection group regularly assists clients with exposure mitigation and receivable recovery in these areas. If you expect the unexpected and prepare your game plan in advance, you can be prepared for these issues and minimize your exposure to cargo claims, customer bankruptcies, and other collection issues.

Scopelitis Partner Craig Helmreich directs the Firm’s Cargo Claim & Freight Charge/Collection practice with assistance from Kathleen Jeffries, Michael Tauscher, Andrew Marquis, Greg Ostendorf, and Tyler Biddle.


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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