On Jan. 28, 2014, following a five-day jury trial, Jennifer D. Tricker, a partner at Baird Holm LLP in Omaha, Neb., obtained a defense verdict for her client, Landstar Ranger, Inc. (“Landstar”), in the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, in a case alleging violation of the Carmack Amendment (49 U.S.C. §14706).
In January 2010, Landstar was hired to transport and deliver a grapple truck from a Union Pacific (“UP”) job site in Benedict, Kan., to another UP job site located near the railroad tracks at a remote area in Riverton, La. The Landstar driver was instructed that if he delivered the grapple truck after hours and there was no UP employee present to accept delivery, he was to unload the grapple truck, lock the cab, and place the keys under the hood on the oil dipstick. The Landstar driver testified that he followed these instructions and immediately left the area. A few hours later, the grapple truck was moved by an unknown person onto the railroad tracks, where it was struck by a UP locomotive. UP claimed a complete loss of the grapple truck, FELA damages for the injuries sustained by the conductor and engineer working on the locomotive, and train delay damages.
At trial, UP argued that delivery had not occurred and that Landstar failed to properly deliver the grapple truck. Landstar countered that delivery occurred when the grapple truck was delivered pursuant to UP’s verbal instructions and that any and all damages sustained by UP were UP’s responsibility. The jury found that UP failed to meet its burden of proof and a verdict in favor of Landstar was entered by the Court.