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Midwest Trading Group, Inc. v. Globaltranz Enterprises, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

March 5, 2015

MIDWEST TRADING GROUP, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
GLOBALTRANZ ENTERPRISES, INC., AMERICAN FREIGHT NETWORK, INC., AKOP KARAPETAN D/B/A V & R TRUCKING, AND EVERTEK, INC., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

THOMAS M. DURKIN, District Judge.

Before the Court is defendant GlobalTranz Enterprises, Inc.'s ("GlobalTranz") motion for reconsideration. On July 23, 2014, the Court entered a Memorandum Opinion and Order granting in part, and denying in part, GlobalTranz's motion for summary judgment. GlobalTranz has asked the Court to reconsider two portions of its ruling. First, GlobalTranz argues that the Court incorrectly held that the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act ("ICCTA"), 49 U.S.C. § 14501(c)(1), does not preempt plaintiff Midwest Trading Group, Inc.'s ("Midwest") fraud claim. Second, GlobalTranz argues that the Court incorrectly held that material factual disputes precluded summary judgment on Midwest's claim for damages in excess of the "limitation of liability" provision of GlobalTranz's "Freight Broker Agreement Terms and Conditions" ("Terms and Conditions"). For the following reasons, the Court grants GlobalTranz's motion to reconsider in part, and denies it in part.

Background

The Court will assume that the reader is familiar with its prior Memorandum Opinion and Order in this case. See Midwest Trading Grp., Inc. v. GlobalTranz Enter., Inc., No. 12 C 9313, 2014 WL 3672932 (N.D. Ill. July 23, 2014). Nevertheless, an overview of the facts and the relevant portions of the Court's opinion will be helpful.

In January 2012, West Coast Imports, Inc. ("West Coast"), acting as Midwest's agent, contacted GlobalTranz - a transportation broker - to arrange for the shipment of Android tablet computers. Id. at *1. The shipment was divided into two loads, one destined for Texas (zip code 78218) and the other for North Carolina (zip code 27536). Id. at *2. Midwest had used GlobalTranz as a broker on one prior occasion. Id. at *1. West Coast had previously booked over 100 shipments with GlobalTranz on various occasions for other customers. Id. Nuria Coronado, a West Coast employee, contends that it was her "standard practice to book all load shipments via email directly with" Shawn Gengler, a GlobalTranz employee. R. 44-1 at 1 ¶ 3. Coronado attaches to her declaration an email that she sent to Gengler with respect to the Texas shipment:

[Coronado:]
Hi Shawn Please quote[:] 6 Pallets[, ] 3, 710 Lbs[, ] Dest. zip 78218[, ] Android Tablet[, ] $250, 000.00[.]
Best Regards,
Nuria Coronado.
[Gengler:]
$950 is my rate for this[.]

Id. at 8 (reformatted for clarity). It was Coronado's "understanding based on [her] experience with GlobalTranz that the quote included the cost of insurance." Id. at 1-2 ¶ 4. Vinay Saboo, West Coast's President, states that Gengler "confirmed" that the quoted price "included insurance against the loss or theft of the tablets during shipment." R. 29-2 ¶ 6. Gengler states that he "did not offer and West Coast did not request" such insurance. R. 20 at ¶ 7. GlobalTranz brokered the shipment to American Freight, which in turn brokered the shipment to V & R Trucking. Midwest, 2014 WL 3672932, at *2. While V & R's driver was out of the truck eating lunch, the tractor and trailer containing the tablets were stolen. Id. After the theft, Saboo emailed Gengler to confirm that tablets were insured. R. 44-3 at 2-3. Gengler confirmed that West Coast had purchased insurance in amounts sufficient to cover Midwest's losses from the theft. Id. at 2. In fact, GlobalTranz had not purchased third-party insurance and has refused to pay Midwest for the stolen shipments, prompting this lawsuit. Midwest alleges that GlobalTranz: (1) fraudulently induced Midwest to enter into a contract with GlobalTranz by misrepresenting that it would provide insurance for the shipments (Count I); (2) negligently "fail[ed] to take steps necessary to assure" that the Android tablets were not stolen (Count II); and (3) breached its contract by failing to obtain the insurance that it had agreed to procure (Count III). R. 1-1 ¶¶ 20-40.

In its summary-judgment motion, GlobalTranz argued that the ICCTA preempts Midwest's tort claims:

[A] State, political subdivision of a State, or political authority of 2 or more States may not enact or enforce a law, regulation, or other provision having the force and effect of law related to a price, route, or service of any motor carrier (other than a carrier affiliated with a direct air carrier covered by section 41713(b)(4)) or any motor ...

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