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TRANSPORTATION LAW
CARGO SUBROGATION
  • Air
  • Land
  • Sea
MARINE AND TRANSPORTATION INSURANCE
WAREHOUSE GOODS LOSS
PERSONAL INJURY
3351 N.W. Boca Raton Boulevard
Boca Raton, Florida 33431
Telephone: 954-476-1770
​Fax: 954-476-1577
E-mail: pfudali@fudalilaw.com
Newsletter
CARGO UPDATE NEWSLETTER

CARRIER NOT NAMED IN B/L MAY NOT USE B/L TO LIMIT LIABILITY – Fall 2014

    In a recent decision, the United States District Court for the Northern District of
Illinois, in Frontier Supply Chain Solutions, Inc. v. Streamline Transport Solutions, LLC,
2014 WL 3705349 (N.D. IL 2014), denied a motor carrier’s motion for partial judgment
on the pleadings seeking to limit liability under terms of the shipper’s bill of lading,
where the motor carrier was not listed as the “carrier.”

    The case involved the theft of cargo from the motor carrier’s warehouse in Illinois
that was destined for Winnipeg, Canada. Frontier, a Canadian logistics company, agreed
to transport the goods for three of its customers and issued three bills of lading. Frontier
hired Streamline, a motor carrier, to transport the cargo and a load confirmation sheet was
also issued. The three bills of lading listed Frontier and Streamline as the “shipper,” and
no entity was identified as the “carrier.” The bills of lading each contained a $2.00 per
pound limitation of liability and there was no value declared. The load confirmation sheet
designated Frontier as the “shipper,” and Streamline as the “carrier,” and also stated,
“Carrier accepts full liability from pickup to delivery for temperature control, piece
count, damage, and on-time service.” Frontier alleged that it was the “originating carrier”
and contended that the bills of lading were its agreements with the three shipping
customers and that the load confirmation sheet was evidence of its contract with
Streamline. Frontier sought indemnification from Streamline under Carmack for the full
amount of the loss, $99,569.80. Streamline sought partial judgment on the pleadings
arguing that its potential liability was limited to $16,888.00 by virtue of the bill of lading
$2.00 per pound limitation.

    The court denied Streamline’s motion because it could not conclude as a matter of
law that the parties agreed to the bill of lading limitation. The bills of lading did not
establish conclusively an agreement between Streamline and Frontier to limit liability.
The court found the identity of the “carrier” to be ambiguous since the bills did not name
any carrier. The court held that because the identities of the “carrier” and the parties to
the bills of lading were ambiguous, and it was unclear how the bills of lading and load
confirmation relate, it could not be determined as a matter of law that Streamline’s
liability was capped at $2.00 per pound. Given the ambiguity or potential ambiguity, the
non-moving party had the right to present extrinsic evidence as to the meaning of the
contested terms.

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Copyright© 2014- Law Offices of Peter W. Fudali, P.A.
NOTE: Cargo Update Newsletter is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to conveylegal advice or to create an attorney/client relationship. The opinions and conclusions expressed herein are those of the Author and are not necessarily opinions and conclusions shared by others.
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This website is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to convey leagl advice or to create an attorney/client relationship
Copyright 2011: Law Offices of Peter W. Fudali, P.A. Transportation, Maritime & Cargo Subrogation Attorneys. All rights reserved.
3351 N.W. Boca Raton Boulevard
Boca Raton, Florida 33431
954-476-1770 
 pfudali@fudalilaw.com