Mitsui Sumito Ins. Co. v. Wheels MSM Canada, Inc., and Tiger Express, Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150053)

Claim under the Carmack Amendment is viable against broker even when broker does not actually carry the cargo.

This matter involved a subrogation action brought by insurers of Sharp Electronics against Wheels MSM and Tiger Express. Mitsui alleged that its insured engaged Wheels and Tiger as carriers and that litigation was commenced for property damage under the Carmack Amendment. Wheels moved for summary judgment on the basis they did not actually carry the cargo and, therefore, were not a carrier. In its analysis of the Carmack Amendment, the United District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied Wheels’ motion, finding its argument “meritless.” The court stated that under the Carmack Amendment, an originating carrier or one that has issued a bill of lading is liable for damage to cargo. Since Wheels issued a bill of lading for the cargo, the court held that Wheels could not escape liability by pointing its finger at Tiger. Accordingly, Wheels’ motion for summary judgment was denied under the Carmack Amendment, and the court directed Wheels to seek recovery from Tiger.


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