Sunday, December 17, 2023

Federal Court Addresses Potential Liability of a Broker in a Trucking Accident Case

In the case of Allen v. Foxway Transportation, Inc., No. 4:21-CV-00156-MWB (M.D. Pa. Dec. 7, 2023 Brann, C.J.), the court issued a decision in a fatal trucking accident case holding that, under the facts presented in this case, a broker was not liable for the actions of the motor carrier or its driver both of which had been retained to deliver a shipment. However, the court that a material dispute existed on whether the broker had negligently entrusted the motor carrier with a shipment at issue.

As such, the cross-Motions for Summary Judgement by the injured party and the broker were granted in part and denied in part.

Chief Judge Matthew W. Brann’s Opinion is notable, in part, due to his review of Federal Middle District Court Local Rule 56.1 which governs the filing of a short and concise Statement of Material Facts in support of a Motion for Summary Judgment relative to facts that the moving party contends there are no genuine issues to be tried. 

In his Opinion, Chief Judge Brann provided guidance on how such Statements of Material Fact in support of a Motion for Summary Judgment should be written and how the non-moving party should properly respond to the same.

Relative to the substantive issues as to whether, under the facts of this case, the broker could be vicarious liable for the actions of the motor carrier and its driver, Chief Judge Brann reviewed Pennsylvania law regarding vicarious liability and the factors necessary to show a master-servant relationship in support of the same.

After applying those factors to the case presented, the court found that the broker in this case was not liable for the actions of the motor carrier.

The court otherwise found that the Plaintiff had failed to establish support for the allegations that Gateway had been involved in a “joint venture” with the motor carrier. As such, the broker’s Motion for Summary Judgment on this issue was granted.

However, as noted above, the court noted that the issues of negligent entrustment remained in dispute.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

Source of image:  Photo by Josiah Farrow on

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