United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division
ORDER & OPINION
BILLY McDADE United States Senior District Judge
matter is before the Court on Defendant United Parcel
Service's (“UPS”) Motion for Summary
Judgment. (Doc. 34). Plaintiff has filed a Response (Doc. 36)
and Defendant has filed a Reply. (Doc. 37). Therefore, the
matter is fully briefed. For the reasons stated below,
Defendant's Motion is denied.
claim arises from a fall she endured when she tripped over a
package delivered by UPS. Around 6pm on January 11, 2013,
Plaintiff returned to her boyfriend's home, where she had
resided for approximately twelve years. Plaintiff entered the
house through a side door. When she left, she exited out the
front door. The front door consisted of an inner main door
and a screen door. After opening the screen door all the way,
she exited and tripped over a large package that was sitting
unconcealed on the porch in front of the door. The package
had been delivered for Plaintiff's boyfriend earlier in
the day by UPS.
January 8, 2015, Plaintiff filed a negligence lawsuit against
UPS in the Circuit Court of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
of Illinois, which is in Bureau County, Princeton, Illinois.
On April 6, 2015, Defendant was served with a summons and
copy of the Complaint. On April 24, 2015, Defendant removed
the case to this Court on the basis of diversity
jurisdiction. Plaintiff is a resident of Princeton,
Illinois. Defendant is a Delaware corporation with
its principal place of business in Georgia. The amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000. On November 11, 2016, Defendant
filed its Motion for Summary Judgement. (Doc. 34). On
December 13, 2016, Plaintiff filed her Response. (Doc.
On December 22, 2016, Defendant filed its Reply to
Plaintiff's Response. (Doc. 37). Therefore, the matter is
fully briefed and the Court finds that oral arguments are
judgment shall be granted where “the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In ruling on a motion for summary
judgment, the Court must view the evidence in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party. SMS Demag
Aktiengesellschaft v. Material Scis. Corp., 565 F.3d
365, 368 (7th Cir. 2009). All inferences drawn from the facts
must be construed in favor of the non-movant. Moore v.
Vital Prods., Inc., 641 F.3d 253, 256 (7th Cir. 2011).
However, the Court is “not required to draw every
conceivable inference from the record”; the Court draws
only reasonable inferences. Smith v. Hope Sch., 560
F.3d 694, 699 (7th Cir. 2009) (quotations omitted).
survive summary judgment, the “nonmovant must show
through specific evidence that a triable issue of fact
remains on issues on which he bears the burden of proof at
trial.” Warsco v. Preferred Tech. Grp., 258
F.3d 557, 563 (7th Cir. 2001) (citing Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986)). If the evidence on
record could not lead a reasonable jury to find for the
non-movant, then no genuine issue of material fact exists and
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
See McClendon v. Ind. Sugars, 108 F.3d 789, 796 (7th
Cir. 1997). At the summary judgment stage, the court may not
resolve issues of fact; disputed material facts must be left
for resolution at trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249-50 (1986).
brings forth three arguments in its motion for summary
judgment. First, Defendant argues that the Carmack Amendment
preempts Plaintiff's claim. Second, Defendant argues that
the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994
(“FAAAA”) preempts Plaintiff's claim. Lastly,
Defendant argues that the open and obvious doctrine precludes
recovery under state tort law.
Court finds that neither the Carmack Amendment nor the FAAAA
preempts Plaintiff's claim. Lastly, the Court finds that
the open and obvious doctrine is inapplicable because
Plaintiff's Complaint does not plead a premise liability
claim. Therefore, Defendant's motion for summary
judgement is denied.
The Carmack Amendment Does Not Apply
argues that Plaintiff's claim is preempted by the Carmack
Amendment. However, Plaintiff's claim is not preempted
because it arises out of a separate and distinct ground from
the loss of, or the damage to, the goods that were shipped.
Carmack Amendment was enacted in 1906 “to establish
uniform federal guidelines designed in part to remove the
uncertainty surrounding a carrier's liability when damage
occurs to a shipper's interstate shipment.”
Glass v. Crimmins Transfer Co., 299
F.Supp.2d 878, 884 (C.D. Ill. 2004) (quotations omitted). The
pertinent portion of the Carmack Amendment reads:
“A carrier providing transportation or service . . .
shall issue a receipt or bill of lading for property it
receives for transportation under this part. That carrier and
any other carrier that delivers the property and is providing
transportation or service . . . are liable to the person
entitled to recover under the receipt or bill of lading. The
liability imposed under this paragraph is for the actual loss
or injury to the property caused by (A) the receiving
carrier, (B) the delivering carrier, or (C) another carrier
over whose line or route the property is transported in the
United States. Failure to issue a receipt or bill of lading
does not affect the liability of a carrier.”
49 U.S.C. § 14706(a)(1) (2012). The Carmack Amendment
creates a comprehensive remedial scheme for a shipper to
recover the loss of cargo that is lost or damaged by a
carrier; however, that loss is limited to actual losses or
less, if the shipper and carrier negotiated a lower cap on
potential losses for lower shipping rates. Glass,
299 F.Supp.2d at 884. Preemption is evidenced where Congress
has legislated so comprehensively that it has left no room
for supplementary state legislation. Since the enactment of
the Carmack Amendment, the United States Supreme Court and
the United States Courts of Appeals have addressed whether
Congress sought to preempt state and common law through the
Carmack Amendment and the extent of such preemption.
1913, the United States Supreme Court held that the Carmack
Amendment preempted state and common law remedies. Adams
Express Co. v. Croninger, 226 U.S. 491, 505-06 (1913).
The Court found that “almost every detail of the
subject is covered as completely that there can be no
rational doubt that Congress intended to take possession of
the subject and supersede all state regulation with reference
to it.” Id. at 504. Adams Express and
its progeny establish that “state statutes and common
law are preempted by the Carmack Amendment if they ‘in
any way enlarge the responsibility of the carrier' for
losses or if they ‘at all affect the ground of recovery
or the measure of recovery.'” Glass, 299
F.Supp.2d at 885 (citing Charleston & W. C. Ry. Co.
v. Varnville Furniture Co., 237 U.S. 597, 604 (1915)).
the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
has found that the Carmack Amendment does not shelter a
carrier from all liability. In Gordon v. United Van
Lines, the Seventh Circuit found an exception to
preemption for “state law claims that allege liability
on a ground that is separate and distinct from the loss
of, or the damage to, the goods that were shipped in
interstate commerce.” 130 F.3d 282, 289 (7th Cir. 1997)
(emphasis added). In Gordon, instead of moving an
eighty-year-old grandmother's possessions, the moving
company discarded them and then lied to the grandmother about
the status of her possessions. Id. at 283-285. The
moving company sought preemption for the grandmother's
claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress against
them. Id. at 289. The Seventh Circuit allowed the
intentional infliction of emotional distress because the
claim relied on a separate and distinct ground “from
the loss of, or the damage to, the goods that were
shipped.” Id. at 289. Therefore, while many
state and common law claims are preempted by the Carmack
Amendment, it is clear that it does not preempt all claims
simply because they arise during the shipment of goods;
rather the Court must examine the facts and claims at hand to
determine whether the claims arise from a separate and
distinct ground from the loss of or damage to the shipped
Court finds that under Gordon, Plaintiff's claim
is not preempted by the Carmack Amendment because it arises
from a “separate and distinct [ground] from the
loss of, or the damage to, the goods that were
shipped.” Id. Plaintiff does not allege damage
to the goods that were shipped; in fact, Plaintiff does not
allege that the package was damaged at all. Rather Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant was negligent in the placement of the
package on the porch which caused personal injuries to the
Plaintiff. Therefore, Plaintiff's claim arises from a
separate and distinct ground from the loss of, or damage to,
the goods that were shipped.
argues that the Court is bound to follow Glass,
which is a 2004 case from the Central District of Illinois.
299 F.Supp.2d at 878. In Glass, a moving company was
contracted to move and store a family's personal
property. Id. at 883. During the storage of the
property it was damaged by mildew. Id. The
mildew-damaged property caused health injuries to the family.
Id. The family brought a variety of claims against
the movers, including negligence which resulted in the injury
of two of the family members. Id. Magistrate Judge
Gorman found that the claims were preempted by the Carmack
Amendment because the “physical injuries arose directly
from the carrier's mis-handling of the property.”
Id. at 887.
argues that this case is similar; therefore, Plaintiff's
claim should be similarly preempted. However, the Court finds
Glass to be distinguishable and therefore less
persuasive. In Glass, damage from the storage of the
family's property caused the mildew and the mildew caused
the family's injury. Therefore, the family's personal
injury claims were directly connected to the damage of their
property. However, Plaintiff's injury arose because of
the alleged negligent placement of the box, not because goods
were damaged during shipment.
Court finds Plaintiff's claim is more analogous to that
in McGinn v. JB Hunt Transp., Inc., No.
10-CV-610-JPS, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5362, at * 4-11 (E.D.
Wis. Jan. 17, 2012). In McGinn, gas grills were
shipped to a store in a trailer. Id. at *4. After
opening the trailer, employees found a hole in the
trailer's roof and wet boxes. Id. While
unloading the trailer, some of the boxes fell on an employee,
striking him in the neck. Id. at *5. The defendant
argued that the employee's claims of common law
negligence were preempted by the Carmack Amendment.
Id. at *1.
McGinn Court rejected Defendant's preemption