7th Circuit reinstates insurer’s case against shipper

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An insurer’s lawsuit against an Indianapolis-based shipping company involving a loss of more than $1 million has been reinstated by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Judge Diane Wood wrote in a unanimous opinion that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana prematurely granted summary judgment for the defendant in Nipponkoa Insurance Company Ltd. v. Atlas Van Lines, 11-3085.

Nipponkoa insured Toshiba American Medical System, which in 2008 contracted with Comtrans, Ltd., and an Affiliate, Alternative Carrier Source, Inc., which hired Atlas to ship a device from California to a trade show in Chicago. A serious accident left TAMS with more than $1 million in losses.   

Atlas claims it had a contract with ACS and presented a bill of lading to Comtrans, each of which limited Atlas’ liability to 60 cents per pound. Atlas claims the Carmack Amendment 49 U.S.C. § 14706 limits its liability, but Nipponkoa contends neither the ACS contract or the bill of lading applied to TAMS and that if they did, they are not  Carmack-compliant.

“As is true in many contract cases that wind up in litigation, the fundamental question is who must ultimately bear the loss when multiple actors play a role in an arrangement,” Wood wrote. “While we appreciate the efforts made by both the parties and the district court to sort this out, we conclude that further proceedings are necessary. A final answer must await further development of the details of the shipping contract and the nature of the relationship among the four companies. Summary judgment was therefore inappropriate.”

The district court initially denied Atlas’ request for summary judgment, the 7th Circuit notes, but granted it after Atlas filed a motion to reconsider.

The order says further development of the relationship among players in the case is necessary, as is determining whether TAMS, which suffered the loss, is bound by Atlas’ contracts or a bill of lading signed by the intermediaries.



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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.