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A chargeback isn't a sale of insurance

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held today that a chargeback for the cost of insurance is not a sale of insurance, as some owner-operators of leased trucks argued. The Circuit Court also took issue with the District judge’s decision on which statute of limitations applied to the parts of the suit.

In Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Inc., et al. v. Mayflower Transit, LLC, No. 08-1679, some owner-operators of trucks leased by Mayflower Transit challenged the company’s policy of reducing price-per-mile payments and other fees by the cost of insurance, a process called chargeback. They argued under 49.U.S.C. Section 14704(a)(2) that a chargeback violates 49 C.F.R. Section 376.12(i), which says “the lessor is not required to purchase or rent any products, equipment, or services from the authorized carrier as a condition of entering into a lease arrangement.” The owner-operators claimed the requirement to reimburse Mayflower for the insurance is the same thing as buying insurance from Mayflower.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker dismissed some of the plaintiffs’ claims for relief after finding that the statute of limitations is two years, even though Section 14704(a)(2) didn’t define a period of limitations for suits on its authority. The owner-operators argued that the residual statute of limitations allows for a four-year period.

Judge Barker held that a chargeback for the cost of insurance isn’t a sale of insurance. She also thought the failure of Section 14705(c), which states a two-year statute of limitations under Section 14704(b), but doesn’t mention Section 14704(a)(2), was a scrivener’s error and that it could be corrected by reading the reference to (b) as if it were referring to (a)(2).

This was a problematic approach, wrote Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook, because Congress enacted and the president signed a statute that places a two-year limitation on administrative complaints under (b), but left (a)(2) to the four-year residual statute of limitations.

“A judge’s belief that Congress planned to do something different but bollixed the job does not alter what the enacted statute provides,” he wrote. “The Constitution gives the force of law only to what is actually passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President. What Congress meant to do, but didn’t, is not the law.”

Two other Circuit Courts have also addressed this subject and found that (b) must be enforced as written and the period of limitations for suits under (a)(2) is four years.

The 7th Circuit also affirmed that a chargeback is not considered a sale of insurance and does not violate Section 376.12(i). Chief Judge Easterbrook noted that the 8th Circuit reached the same conclusion on chargebacks and no other Court of Appeals has held otherwise. The judges remanded for any further proceedings that may be required by their ruling on the limitations issue.

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  1. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  3. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  4. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  5. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

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