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Bits & Pieces

March 2019

CAB Bits & Pieces March 2019

Happy Spring CAB Nation!

Well, spring is finally here. The weather is more spring-like in certain areas, but less in others. Regardless, astronomical spring arrived on March 20th and I’m expecting warmer weather! Some of you may be coming off of spring break trips. I hope you had safe travel and were able to re-charge those batteries in anticipation of the warmer weather.

With the potential for beautiful weather, it’s a good time to remind ourselves to look out for pedestrians and bicyclists that may now be sharing the roads with us. Additionally, it’s important to be extra aware of children especially in residential areas and school zones.

Don’t forget, we’re sharing pertinent industry information between Bits & Pieces volumes! Follow us at: CAB Linkedin Page CAB Facebook Page

Have a great month!

CAB’s Tips & Tricks:

This month’s enhancement is located on the Inspections / Accidents tab in the Motor Carrier/CAB Report. Based on input from users, our developers have added a Vehicle Age Breakdown table (yellow arrow).

The Vehicle Age Breakdown section provides the age of both power unit and non power units at the time of the inspection. The table defaults to 24 months of inspection information, but you can also adjust it to 12 months if you’d like to view less data. Keep in mind, vehicles can be inspected multiple times during the 12 or 24 month period. The Vehicle Age is broken down into 5 convenient buckets for quick review and understanding. For additional detail, you can click on the blue numbers for a complete list of all vehicles inspected during each time period. This tool is useful for quick-view understanding of fleet age and demographics.

As with many of our enhancements, this tool was brought to you by a user that reached out to us with this suggestion. We at CAB are constantly striving to improve our tools and resources to create value for our subscribers. Please feel free to contact us directly if you have any suggestions as to how we can enhance our services. We are a customer driven company and our goal is to help you Make Better Decisions!

This month we report:

Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) sets dates for International Roadcheck. On March 25th, the CVSA published that the International Roadcheck will take place June 4-6, 2019. The emphasis for 2019’s International Roadcheck will be Steering and Suspension. During that 72-hour period, Commercial Motor Vehicle Inspectors throughout North America will conduct inspections on CMVs and Drivers. International Roadcheck is the biggest enforcement program on CMVs in the world. Roughly 17 trucks and buses are inspected every minute in the U.S., Canada and Mexico during the 72 hours. For more information on the 2019 Roadcheck, click here.

NIOSH reports higher injury and death rates found in Motor Vehicle Towing Industry. From the years 2011 through 2016 nonfatal injuries and illnesses were roughly double the rate for all U.S. private industries. Additionally the motor vehicle tow industry suffered a fatality rate 15 times that of all U.S. private industries. More information on this topic can be reviewed by clicking here.

FMCSA only DOT administration with an increase in the Presidential Budget. The President’s recently submitted budget for 2020 has a 22% reduction in discretionary funding for the Department of Transportation. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will have a budget of $675.8 million, an increase of $9 million from the 2019 budget. Included in the FMCSA proposed budget is $288 million for safety operations and programs, an increase of $4 million. Additionally there was a $5 million increase in safety grants. The Office of the Secretary was provided a large budgetary increase of $1.105 billion for a total of $2.492 billion. Additional specifics related to the 2020 DOT Budget Highlights can be reviewed here.

ATRI releases study on Marijuana Legalization and Impaired Driving: Solutions for protecting our Roadways. The conclusion to the report is as follows: The increasing use of medical and recreational marijuana necessitates a better understanding of the relationship between marijuana use and roadway safety. In gaining this understanding, approaches to deterring, identifying, and prosecuting marijuana-impaired driving can begin. While increased access to marijuana has not directly impacted the trucking industry in terms of truck drivers testing positive for marijuana, the increased frequency of marijuana-positive drivers operating on the same roadways as trucks makes marijuana-impaired driving a critical safety issue for the trucking industry. You can access this and other ATRI Reports here. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, it is likely a comprehensive national approach to the issue will need to be developed in the near future. As the images below reveal, more and more states are adopting medical and/or recreational marijuana laws.

Are your customers still using AOBRDs? When the ELD rule took effect on December 18, 2017 it allowed for a two year period to achieve full compliance in relation to motor carriers that were using Automatic On Board Recording Devices (AOBRDs). Effective December 17, 2019 AOBRDs are no longer allowed and fleets must convert to ELDs. The FMCSA Administrator, Raymond Martinez and others have spent a good amount of effort to get the word out that the change is coming more quickly than some might think. As the infographic below indicates, the FMCSA certainly has the data to show HOS compliance has improved with the ELD Rollout. To assist with this transition, the FMCSA has put together an ELD Home Page where stake holders can gather and review information related to ELDs. You can find that page by clicking here.

The FMCSA’s Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse is Coming!!! The FMCSA recently released online resources for CDL Holders, Employers, State Drivers Licensing Agencies, Medical Review Officers and Substance Abuse Professionals who will begin using the Clearinghouse in January of 2020. The website offers resources like a fact sheet, implementation timeline, FAQs and more. Among numerous other reasons, the D&A Clearinghouse rule was in-part, established to plug a loophole where a CDL Driver could apply for a CDL position at another company and fail the FMCSA mandated D&A Test, but the current employer would not be notified. The FMCSA Clearinghouse information can be accessed here.

GAO Report on Automated Trucking: Federal Agencies Should Take Additional Steps to Prepare for Potential Workforce Effects. The report noted two possible scenarios: 1. Long-haul highway driving will be fully automated, resulting in fewer trucking jobs and possibly lower wages, or 2. Self-driving trucks may still need operators, possibly changing the skillset and wages without significantly affecting the number of trucking jobs. The bottom line is that hundreds of thousands of jobs could be at risk. However, due to the driver shortage and the perceived safety advantage related to automated trucks, does it make sense and will it all be worth it in the long run? According to the report, most technology developers are developing trucks that can travel without drivers for just part of the route. This technology might be available in 5-10 years. Read the compete GAO report here.

Regulators act to update Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) regulations. The final rule is expected to reduce regulatory costs by $18,000,000 annually. FMCSA is amending the Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) regulations published on December 8, 2016. The ELDT rule requires the same level of theory training for individuals obtaining a CDL for the first time as for those who already hold a Class B CDL and are upgrading to a Class A CDL. FMCSA recognizes that because Class B CDL holders have prior training or experience, they should not be required to receive the same level of theory training as individuals who have never held a CDL. FMCSA has concluded this change will maintain the same level of safety established by the 2016 ELDT rule. More information about the final rule can be found here.

Interesting Tidbits:

March is Women’s History Month. Two interesting posts by the FMCSA highlight the contribution women have made to the trucking industry going back to the early days. These women were true pioneers and should be applauded for their contribution to the industry.

CASES

AUTO
Multi-vehicle accidents often results in disputes over which collision came first. The Appellate Division in New York upheld a trial court decision concluding that the doctrine of “the law of the case” applied when the trial court held that even where there was a fact issue regarding the order of the collision it would not preclude a later motion for summary judgment, that a rear-end collision between some vehicles could establish a prima facie case of negligence against second tractor trailer owner/operator; but whether there was a sudden and abrupt stop by first tractor trailer precluded summary judgment to first tractor trailer owner/operator. Of further note was the upholding of the trial court determination that the second tractor trailer owner/operator was entitled to adverse inference charge against first tractor trailer owner/operator for spoliation of evidence even if the destruction occurred through negligence, rather than willfulness, and even if the evidence was destroyed before the spoliator became a party, provided the party was on notice that the evidence might be needed for future litigation, in this case the event data recorder. Gitman v. Martinex, 2019 WL 960395

Experts – in or out? In the Western District of Arkansas, Ben Railsback, presented as an accident Reconstructionist, was not allowed to testify because he did not bring any helpfulness to the fact issues the jury needed to resolve. David Dorrity, presented as a trucking safety expert, was permitted to testify but only as to industry standards and could not comment on his opinions on the accident Jordan v. Ventura, 2019 WL 1089430. In a related decision the plaintiff’s doctor was permitted to testify about the cause of plaintiff’s injuries and the connection to the accident. 2019 WL 105363 but defendant’s expert testimony was partially limited. 2019 WL 1233613

When the defendant opposed a plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment with an expert report which was not previously disclosed the Eastern District of New York concluded that the plaintiff was entitled to sanctions which included precluding the defendant from using the report. The court also denied the motor carrier’s motion for summary judgment, concluding that there was a question of fact as to the negligence of the parties. Colon v. Linchip, 2019 WL 959663

A plaintiff’s negligence per se claim was fatally flawed and therefore dismissed by the Eastern District of Missouri. Reliance upon a statute which did not set forth a specific standard of care could not support a claim of negligence per se against a motor carrier accused of operating a vehicle in a negligent manner. Whittaker v. CRST Malone, Inc. 2019 WL 931966

The Eastern District of Michigan agreed that additional negligence claims should be dismissed when a motor carrier accepted vicarious liability for the actions of a truck driver. However the motor carrier was not successful in obtaining summary judgment on the primary negligence, with the court concluding that there were questions of fact which remained to be resolved. King-Moore v. Roadrunner Transportation, 2019 WL 1113143

Pay attention to this decision. The Western District in Oklahoma held that a plaintiff’s request for driver info was relevant and capable of leading to discoverable evidence. The motor carrier was required to produce the driver qualification, personnel, accident, disciplinary, and safety file of every driver that had five or more preventable motor vehicle determinations for a 3 year period. Annese v. U.S. Express, 2019 WL 1089098

An insurer was not permitted to reform an insurance contract because the insured had related companies which were leasing its vehicles. The District Court in New Mexico held that there was no basis for reforming the contract when the insurer did not fully investigate the relationship between the entities. We remind you how important it is to “know your insured” and click on all of those hyperlinks in the Cab Report™ that tell the story. National American Ins. Co. v. ABC Concrete Mfg., 2019 WL 956022

The Western District in Louisiana is leaning toward permitting the testimony of defendants’ DOT Compliance Expert, Lane VanIngen, to be presented to the jury. In virtually all areas the court held that his testimony would be beneficial to the jury and could be used to circumvent the plaintiff’s effort to use the reptilian theory to establish the unsafe operations of the motor and to recover for a personal injury accident. Franco v. Mabe Trucking, 2019 WL 1109879

What documents from prior shipments are discoverable when there is a personal injury action against a truck driver? The Western District in Kentucky concluded that the driver logs and driver routes would be discoverable as those documents could support a claim for negligent supervision and address the capability of the driver to operate the vehicle. Bills of lading were not, however, discoverable. Patterson v. Contract Freighters, Inc. 2019 WL 1223311

The Western District of Louisiana dismissed a claim for punitive damages given that there was no statutory basis for punitive damages or attorney fees under Louisiana law. Even though the defendant was domiciled in another state the court held that the defendant had sufficient contacts with the state to allow Louisiana to prohibit the claim. Stacks v. Harco Services, 2019 WL 1191059

A plaintiff’s efforts to amend its complaint to add the owner of a vehicle which was being operated under the authority of a defendant motor carrier failed in the Southern District of Indiana. The Court held that the plaintiff failed to sustain its burden to establish that the new defendant knew or should have known about the suit. The causes of action were time barred. Miller v. Panther II Transportation, 2019 WL 1171235.

WORKER’S COMPENSATION

The Southern District of Mississippi concluded that the temporal span of medical benefits coverage for an occupational accident insurance policy does not have to be completely coextensive with that available under the Workers’ Compensation Law of Mississippi. A truck driver may in fact have coverage under the occupational accident policy which does not have the same coverage required under a worker’s comp policy. Witte v. Zurich American Insurance Co. 2019 WL 01006241

Does Ohio’s workers compensation immunize a third party from a contribution claim when the third party is a complying employer? Although certain contributing employers are immune as against requests for contribution per Ohio’s workers’ compensation scheme, this immunity is contingent on the plaintiff’s employee’s actions being in the scope of employment at the time of the truck accident. In this case the Court held that there was a question of fact and denied the summary judgment request without prejudice to renew after discovery. Binger v. Alpont Transportation 2019 WL 1167836

CARGO

A state law claim for bad faith for unfair claims handling was dismissed against a motor carrier in the District Court in New Mexico. The court held that such a claim was preempted by the Carmack Amendment. Security USA Services v. UPS, 2019 WL 1051017

The Court of Appeals in Texas denied a request for a writ of mandamus in which a truck broker sought to transfer a suit to the forum noted in its terms and conditions. The court held that the broker could not establish that the customer agreed to the terms and conditions when it entered into its contractual agreement with the broker. That does not bode well for any anticipated limitation of liability. In re Freightquote, 2019 WL 995791

The Southern District of California concluded that it would be appropriate to vacate a default judgment entered against a motor carrier when there was excusable error in answering the complaint and the defendant was able to support a defense that the damages were not fully documented. Pathway Innovations & Technology v. XPO Logistics, 2019 WL 1259165.

Plaintiff’s claims for breach of bailment and breach of contract for a cargo loss were determined to be subject to dismissal under the terms of the Carmack Amendment. Secura Insurance Co. v. Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. 2019 WL 1114887

Pre and post judgment interest were at issue in a declaratory judgement arising from a cargo loss. The District Court in Minnesota held that a broker was entitled to recovery for the cargo claim, attorney’s fees and pre and post judgment interest. The court however reduced the interest rate for both. Sunteck Transport Company, LLC v. King’s Express, Inc. 2019 WL 1238833

Thanks for joining us,

Jean & Chad

February 2019

CAB Bits & Pieces February 2019

Good day CAB Nation!

Spring is on its way! Right? Perhaps not. According to Punxsutawney Phil, who did not see his shadow, we should be having an early spring. It seems were all still waiting for that early spring. A reminder of the continued wintry weather was evident Sunday, February 24th when there was a 131 car pile-up in broad daylight between Appleton and Oshkosh, WI. This is a keen reminder that winter is still here and it packs a punch. Freezing temperatures and high winds mixed with snow fall can result in whiteout conditions. If you’re located in a warmer area and winter has been declared over, consider me jealous. That being said, keep working with your customers, associates, family and friends to drive defensively and stay safe this winter.

Don’t forget, we’re sharing pertinent industry information between Bits & Pieces volumes! Follow us at: CAB Linkedin Page CAB Facebook Page

CAB’s Tips & Tricks:

Did you know CAB is mobile friendly! You can easily access CAB Motor Carrier Reports and other content via mobile phone or tablet using mobile web browsers including Internet Explorer, Safari and Google Chrome. Remember, you don’t have to leave your CAB access at the office on your computer. Take it with you wherever you go.

 

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We at CAB are constantly striving to improve our tools and resources to create value for our subscribers. Please feel free to contact us directly if you have any suggestions as to how we can enhance our services. We are a customer driven company and our goal is to help you Make Better Decisions!

This month we report:

Did the Electronic Logging Devices make the Roads Safer? A study recently released indicated that the ELD mandate achieved its goal of reducing Hours of Service violations in the smaller trucking company segment. However, it noted that crashes did not reduce at the same rates as larger carriers and may have actually increased. Additionally, drivers for small carriers seem to have increased their frequency of Unsafe Driving violations in response to the productivity loss as a result of the mandate. This study was based on information early in ELD era. Only time will tell us the long term results of the ELD mandate.

ATRI Releases Top 100 Truck Bottlenecks. The states with the most truck bottlenecks are Texas with 13 and California with 7. The top spot goes to Fort Lee, NJ for I-95 as SR 4. Why are bottlenecks a concern and why do they need to be dealt with? Bottlenecks slow traffic and can cause crashes. Additionally, it causes billions of lost hours in productivity and is the equivalent to roughly 425,000 truckers sitting idle for an entire year. ATRI states this annual study has also resulted in different parts of the country addressing the bottlenecks via construction projects. A complete report can be obtained here.

US DOT’s Office of Inspector General Announced Audit of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Medical Certification Program on February 20, 2019. According to FMCSA data, fatalities have increase 11% from 2012 to 2017. The DOT’s OIG also states that since August of 2014, eight criminal investigations have resulted in indictments and six convictions as a result of fraud in the Medical Certification Program. The FMCSA requires that all CDL holders obtain a current medical examiners certificate and submit it to the state of residence. A US DOT physical exam for commercial driver medical certification is valid for up to 24 months. Due to the rise in fatalities and the safety risk posed by fraud, the DOT states they are initiating this audit to evaluate procedures for the following reasons: 1) Oversight of its medical certificate program, including commercial driver medical certificate data quality, and 2) validating information in its National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. The audit commenced immediately. A full text of the announcement can be found here.

Most Cargo Theft Fell in 2018. However, small scale pilferage grew. According to SensiGuard Supply Chain Intelligence Center, the average value of theft stayed relatively flat, down roughly 2%. Incidents of theft showed a decline of almost 20% compared to the previous year. Half of Cargo Theft took place in California, Texas and Florida. Pilferage is growing as thieves take smaller quantities to gather information about future shipments and to reduce the risk of selling the stolen goods. In 2017, the most frequently stolen item was Home & Garden (17%), followed closely by Food & Drinks (16%) and Electronics (15%).

Drivers Transporting Livestock or Insects: The ELD exemption granted to livestock and insect drivers has been extended through the end of September 2019. This exemption was granted via the omnibus appropriations bill that was signed into law on February 15, 2019. The term “livestock” includes cattle, elk, reindeer, bison, horses, deer, sheep, goats, swine, poultry, fish used for food, and other animals that are part of a foundation herd. Most long-haul interstate motor carriers were required to start using ELDs in place of paper logs on December 18, 2017; the FMCSA temporarily waived that requirement for drivers transporting livestock. Congress then stepped in and has kept the exemption alive through several stopgap spending bills.

Interesting Tidbits:

FMCSA grants American Pyrotechnics Association July 4th Exemption. Rest assured the ELD mandate will not cause any delay in your 4th of July fireworks enjoyment. The drivers may use paper logs instead of ELDs from June 28 through July 8 of 2019 and 2020. The APA requested the exemption due to the potential financial burden place upon motor carriers to install ELD systems for only a short time during the industry’s limited season. The exemption impacts 53 motor carriers across the U.S. A full text of the announcement can be found here.

Colorado State Senate Passes Law that Permits 18-20 Year Olds to Drive in Interstate Commerce…As soon as Federal Law Allows that Activity. SB19-018 “authorizes the department of revenue to adopt rules authorizing a person who is at least 18 years of age but under 21 years of age to be licensed to drive a commercial vehicle in interstate commerce if the person holds a commercial driver’s license and operation of a commercial vehicle in interstate commerce by a person in that age range is permitted under federal law.” One of the sponsors of the bill notes, that nothing really changes with the federal regulations, but he encourages other states to take similar steps to draw attention to the driver shortage. Perhaps other states will follow-suit and create pressure for the federal government to address the driver shortage issue.

Current Cases

Auto

The Court of Appeals in Kentucky dismissed an insurer’s appeal as premature, concluding that an underlying order did not resolve all of the issues on the applicability of coverage under a trucker’s policy. The lower court failed to determine the amount the insurer owed after finding that coverage existed and failed to resolve the claim for defense costs. Great West Casualty Insurance Co. v. Debord, 2018 WL 413663

Plaintiff was unable to sustain the burden of showing that a motor carrier was negligent or wanton following a multi-vehicle accident. The Middle District of Alabama held that the motor carrier involved in an initial accident was not responsible for events which occurred hours later as a result of the traffic jam and clean up caused by the accident. Quarles v. Tennessee Steel Haulers, 2019 WL 758616

A truck driver’s judgment against another motor carrier whose driver injured him was upheld in the Southern District of Texas. The court held that the defendant motor carrier waived the issue of whether the statutory-employee doctrine had been overruled; the jury was not required to find that defendant met the statutory definition of “motor carrier” to support imposition of liability; the state trooper’s expert testimony regarding cause of collision was relevant; the award of $1.8 million for loss of future consortium to wife was not clearly excessive under Texas law, the maximum award of past loss of consortium damages was $409,125; and the trial court was required to apply settlement credit to final damage award. Puga v. RCX Solutions, Inc. 2019 WL 409698

An insurer who issued a surety bond on behalf of a motor carrier was not subject to a direct action in Georgia. The Middle District found that this was strong evidence that the current version of the direct-action statue does not permit a direct action against the issuer of a surety bond. The court refused to stay the action against the motor carrier pending resolution of criminal proceedings related to the accident. Hammonds v. Gray Transportation, 2019 WL 861408

The Court of Appeals of Louisiana reversed summary judgment which had been entered in favor of the defendants on causation following a truck accident. By invoking the sudden emergency doctrine in defending against summary judgment, the plaintiff burden was to present facts to the trial court demonstrating that defendants negligently created a hazard that could not be avoided. He argued that the trailer failed to comply with federal safety regulations which could be a contributing factor. The court held that the evidence presented supported a conclusion that reasonable minds could disagree as to whether and in what proportions the acts and omissions of defendants may have contributed to the accident. Stelly v. National Union Fire Ins. Co., 2019 WL 458476

Whether the plaintiff had a seizure while walking behind a truck, or was struck by the cherry picker extending off the truck, was a question of fact. The Appellate Division upheld the denial of summary judgment to both parties, sending the case to trial. The conflicting testimony of the two eyewitnesses, concerning how plaintiff came to be lying in the intersection with a severe head injury, as well as the conflicting expert opinions, present triable issues of fact and credibility precluding summary judgment. Evans v. Acosta, 2019 WL 469796

The Eastern District in Louisiana upheld the dismissal of a counter-claim by a trucker and its insurer against the plaintiff which alleged that the plaintiff caused the accident and suffered no damages. The court held that the claim was not legally cognizable and that defendants’ claim that the allegations in the complaint were false did not give rise to claim for fraud. Thomas v Chambers, 2019 WL 485781

Over in the Western District of Arkansas the court granted summary judgment to a motor carrier in a suit for personal injury suffered in a truck accident. The court held that the driver was operating under an “Independent Contractor Agreement” with the motor carrier and was responsible for providing drivers and trucks. The court held that the motor carrier was not liable for the actions of the driver. Jordan v. Central Transport, 2019 WL 885917

In a related case the same court held that sanctions which were imposed against a defendant, specifically admitting that the defendant was an agent of the motor carrier, could not be used against the motor carrier. The court reconsidered its prior decision and limited the scope of the sanction. Jordan v. Central Transport, 2019 WL 885916

An employee was unsuccessful in pursuing a claim against a trucking company for wrongful dismissal allegedly because he filed a worker’s compensation claim. The court held that the plaintiff had not demonstrated, as he is required to do, that he was discharged in retaliation for filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Rather, claimant’s discharge resulted from the provision of the collective bargaining agreement, to which claimant was bound, permitting the employer to terminate claimant’s employment for three consecutive days of unexcused absences from work. Romero v. DHL Holdings (USA), Inc. 2019 WL 469515

Be careful to comply with rules when objecting to discovery. The District Court in Florida held that a plaintiff seeking recovery against a trucker was required to produce its private investigator’s records. The court held that the privileges claimed with regard to specific documents must be affirmatively asserted through the filing of a privilege log, or the segregation of documents claimed to be privileged by the non-party for further consideration by the trial court. The failure to do so was fatal to the plaintiff’s objection to the release of the documents. Dade Truss Co. Inc. v. Beaty, 2019 WL 453491

After an extensive recitation on the back log in the Court, and a directive to the parties to contact U.S. Senators to get more judges, the Eastern District of California concluded that it would not dismiss a cause of action for declaratory judgment involving a multi-party truck accident litigation. The court concluded that it was appropriate to allow for a declaratory judgment to determine the apportionment of liability for all interested parties. Gonzalez v. JAG Trucking, 2019 WL 528441

The Southern District in Alabama granted summary judgment to a motor carrier on claims on wantonness and negligent entrustment arising from a truck accident. The court held that there was insufficient evidence of intentional actions rising to a level of wantonness. The causes of action for negligence were permitted to proceed. Figgers v Carroll Fulmer Logistics, 2019 WL 637710

A motor carrier was successful in having an action transferred from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to the Middle District of North Carolina when the accident occurred in North Carolina. The plaintiff’s only connection to Pennsylvania was her lawyer. Mendoza v. Ferro, 2019 WL 687879

Another plaintiff was unsuccessful in getting a suit for damages from a truck accident remanded back to state court in the Northern District of Virginia. While the defendant did not seek removal for 6 months the court held that it was not reasonably known to the defendant any earlier that the damages were in excess of the jurisdictional minimum of $75,000. Estate of Fraire v. Transam Trucking, 2019 WL 654312

The Middle District in Alabama dismissed causes of action against a trucking company for negligent/wanton hiring of a driver (after plaintiff conceded that claims for negligent and wanton maintenance, inspection, repair, supervision, hiring and training were subject to dismissal). The court held that the simple fact that the motor carrier may not have properly complied with its obligations when hiring the driver did not give rise to a cause of action when that failure had nothing to do with the proximate cause of the accident. Estate of Brown v. Cox 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26917

The Court of Appeals in Michigan reversed a trial court’s ruling that the plaintiff had failed to establish that he suffered an objectively manifested impairment under Michigan law following a rear end collision by the defendant’s truck. The court held that the plaintiff produced sufficient evidence of injury which may have been proximately caused by the accident to withstand summary disposition. Pelc v. North Star Ranch, 2019 WL 847214

How much information has to be released about a truck driver? The Western District in Missouri held that 5 years of the driver records must be disclosed. The court also held that medical records related to the driver’s CDL certification must also be disclosed. Mitchell v. Mims, 2019 WL 573435

Worker’s Compensation

There was an interesting fight on a worker’s compensation audit claim by an insurer in Illinois. The Appellate Court in the First District vacated a default judgement of almost 3 million dollars which was imposed as a sanction based upon the lower court’s determination that the motor carrier fraudulently back-dated a contract which it claimed showed that it had no worker’s compensation obligation for more than 60 employees. The Appellate Court held there were questions of fact which did not warrant the tough imposition of a default judgment as a sanction. Maybe we will see a decision on how that plays out. LM Insurance Corp. v. Go To Logistics, 2019 WL 454318
Cargo

The Carmack Amendment preempts again (will they ever give up on this issue?). The Eastern District in Kentucky ruled that a plaintiff was permitted to allege only a Carmack claim against a motor carrier when his vehicle was damaged in transit. The court further held that the action was properly removed to federal court and denied the motion to remand. Val’s Auto Sales & Repair v Garcia, 2019 WL 440570

Thanks for joining us,

Jean & Chad

© 2019 Central Analysis Bureau