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News – October 31, 2020

LEF OBTAINS SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR MOTOR CARRIER

LEF OBTAINS SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR MOTOR CARRIER: Howard B. Randell and Scott Wing received a favorable ruling from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granting our client's Motion for Summary Judgment. In that case, the firm represented a motor carrier which had been named as a party defendant in a lawsuit filed by a shipper for pharmaceutical product valued in excess of $500,000 that was damaged in transit. The damage to the cargo was due to a fire that resulted from the insured's use of a blowtorch to remove a placard from the trailer. Following limited discovery, we filed a Motion for Summary Judgment arguing that our motor carrier client, retained to provide domestic, inland transportation, could take the benefit of the upstream ocean waybill - specifically, a claim notification period. After briefing the issue, the Court granted our Motion for Summary Judgment and dismissed the complaint. The principal legal take away from the case, is that the motor carrier was able to benefit from the terms of an upstream transportation contract that the motor carrier was not a party to and had no privity of contract with the shipper. By looking beyond the specific terms of the motor carrier contract and considering other transit documents, we were able to turn a clear liability case into a successful defense and dismissal with no indemnity. Elco Insurance Company Limited, a/s/o Eli Lilly and Company v. Spirit Trucking Company, Case No. 18 C 6800 (N.D.Ill. Oct. 29, 2020).

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