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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. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

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