A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld a lower court ruling against a unit of Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd. in litigation with a trucking broker over a stolen truck, stating that a federal statute does not apply.
Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Tesco Technologies Inc. hired Jacksonville, Florida-based transportation broker Landstar Ranger Inc. to secure a truck to transport a load of Tesco’s cargo valued at more than half a million dollars from Colorado to Maryland, according to the judgment. of the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta i Aspen American Insurance Co., Tesco Technologies Inc. v. Landstar Ranger Inc.
Landstar selected Carthage, Missouri-based L&P Transportation LLC to transport the shipment. But Landstar did not follow its standard carrier verification protocols when sending Tesco̵7;s shipment, the ruling said.
When it came time for Landstar to hand over the shipment to L&P for transportation, it received a call from “James” claiming to represent L&P. Despite discrepancies between the company information provided by “James” and that entered for L&P in Landstar’s system, Landstar forwarded Tesco’s shipment to James. “Unsurprisingly, James was a fraud, and he stole Tesco’s cargo,” the verdict said.
Tesco submitted a claim to its insurer Aspen. Aspen paid it and then sued Landstar in US District Court in Jacksonville, Florida, seeking damages for Landstar’s alleged negligence.
The district court dismissed Aspen’s action as expressly provided by a provision of the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act, which bars state claims related to a broker with respect to the transportation of property.
Its decision was upheld by a three-judge court panel. “The FAAAA expressly preempts Aspen’s claims unless they fall within one of the statute’s preemption exceptions,” the ruling said, arguing that they do not and that a security exception did not apply.
Attorneys in the case did not respond to requests for comment.