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Defendant not entitled to attorneys’ fees under Florida statute when state law claims are not specifically asserted against it in an interstate transportation complaint.

October 3, 2016
National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pitts. v. All American Freight, Inc., Hartley Freight Lines, LLC and Hartley Transportation LLC, U.S.D.C, S.D. Fl., 2016 U.S Dist. LEXIS 120828

The plaintiff filed a claim against three defendants for claims of breach of contract of carriage under the Carmack Amendment and state law negligence. Motions for summary judgment were filed by defendants Hartley Freight and Hartley Transportation. The court granted summary judgment, finding the two defendants were distinct legal entities and there was no evidence Hartley Freight was a party to the transaction. Hartley Freight filed a motion for reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs under Florida Statute §768.79 on the grounds that the plaintiff had rejected its offer of judgment and the court had entered summary judgment in its favor. The plaintiff argued the statute did not apply because the basis for jurisdiction was a federal question and the Carmack Amendment does not allow for attorneys’ fees. The defendant disputed that claims against it were solely under the Carmack Amendment. In its analysis, the court reviewed each paragraph of the complaint with allegations against Hartley Freight. The court found that none of the paragraphs alleged state law causes of action against Hartley Freight and denied its motion. Hartley Freight had prevailed but only under the Carmack Amendment, which barred its recovery of fees.

 

Case Law Alerts, 4th Quarter, October 2016. Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Copyright © 2016 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, all rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm.

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