In Aspen v. Landstar Ranger, decided February 3, 2022, the United States District Court dealt with plaintiff’s suit for negligence against Defendant, a transportation broker. The complaint alleged that the Defendant broker was negligent is selecting a motor carrier to transport a shipment of goods. The motor carrier selected by Defendant stole the goods. The Defendant argued that Plaintiff’s complaint as written, which alleged State law claims, failed because the stated claims were preempted by federal law under the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (“FAAAA”). The FAAAA provides a State “may not enact or enforce a law … related to a price, route, or service of any motor carrier …. or any … broker … with respect to the transportation of property.” The court found that the FAAAA preempted the State law claims alleged and dismissed Plaintiff’s complaint.
Based on the Aspen case, a complaint against a broker or a motor carrier for loss or damage to cargo must allege federal claims or risk being dismissed. However, the court did distinguish claims for personal injuries leaving the door open to allow such claims to be pursued based on State law causes of action.
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