Nipponkoa v. Atlas Van Lines 2011 WL 202286 (S.D.Ind. 2011)

Southern District of Indiana denies carrier summary judgment on liability limitation under Carmack.


In this case Toshiba American Medical Systems contracted with Alternative Carrier Source, Inc. (ACS) to transport medical equipment from California to Chicago for a trade show. ACS contracted with Atlas Van Lines to actually transport the freight, which had a value in excess of $1,000,000. The contract between ACS and Atlas limited damages to $.60 per pound.

In denying the motion for summary judgment the court held, the evidence viewed in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff reflects that Toshiba did not enter into a written agreement authorizing Atlas to limit its liability with respect to the shipment at issue in this case.

Nipponkoa pointed out that in each of the cited cases, the shipper (1) agreed to a limitation in writing with the initial carrier and (2) gave explicit authority to the initial carrier to enter into downstream limitation of liability agreements on its behalf in a Himalaya clause. The evidence reflected that neither of these events happened in the instant case; and because “actual notice is necessary for a limitation to be enforced,” Just Take Action, Inc. v. GST (Americas) Inc., 2005 WL 1080597, at (D.Minn. May 6, 2005) (quoting Tempel Steel Corp. v. Landstar Inway, Inc., 211 F.3d 1029, 1030 (7th Cir.2000)), the court found an issue of material facts existed as to whether Atlas limited its liability in conformance with the Carmack Amendment.

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Reference Info:Legal Memoranda: Motions for Summary Judgment/Adjudication | Federal, 7th Circuit, Indiana | United States

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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