United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
OPINION AND ORDER
L.ELLIS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Georgia Nut Company (“Georgia Nut”) brings this
action against Defendants' C.H. Robinson Company
(“C.H. Robinson”) and All Interstate Trucking
(“AI Trucking”), for their failure to deliver 42,
000 pounds of almonds. Georgia Nut brings claims for
negligent hiring and negligent supervision against C.H.
Robinson (Count I), C.H. Robinson's negligent performance
in its voluntary undertaking of submitting a claim to the
insurer (Count II), and a Carmack Amendment violation against
AI Trucking (Count III). Defendant C.H. Robinson moves to
dismiss Count I and Count II arguing that both Counts are
preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration
Authorization Act (“FAAAA”), 49 U.S.C. §
14501, because they seek relief under state laws that have an
effect on the prices, routes, or services of freight brokers
covered by the FAAAA. Because the hiring and supervision of a
shipping company is within the definition of transportation
services covered by the FAAAA and enforcement of the
state-law negligence claims relating to these services would
have a significant effect on these services, the FAAAA
preempts state-law negligent hiring and negligent supervision
claims, and the Court grants the motion to dismiss Count I.
But because C.H. Robinson has failed to show that the
submission of the insurance claims relates to transportation
services, the Court denies the motion to dismiss Count II.
Nut hired freight broker C.H. Robinson, who hired motor
carrier AI Trucking, to deliver 42, 000 pounds of almonds
from Livingston, California to Niles, Illinois. While no
written contract existed between Georgia Nut and C.H.
Robinson, the freight broker agreed to arrange the shipment
of almonds for payment. Georgia Nut directed C.H. Robinson to
ship the almonds directly from Livingston, California to
Niles, Illinois without any detours during the route.
Friday, June 17, 2016, AI Trucking took possession of the
almonds from the Del Rio Nut facility. Upon pick up, Georgia
Nut paid Del Rio Nut Company $162, 960 for the almonds. After
the truck was loaded, someone from Del Rio Nut placed an
industry-standard, tamper-proof band with a unique
load-identifying seal number that matched the sale number on
the bill of lading on the cargo door. Between June 17 and
June 21, 2016, AI Trucking routed the shipment of almonds
through the state of Georgia on its way from Livingston,
California to Niles, Illinois. AI Trucking failed to adhere
to Georgia Nut's directive by shipping the almonds
through the state of Georgia on its way to Illinois, rather
than going directly from California to Illinois.
Tuesday June 21, 2016, AI Trucking delivered the shipment of
almonds to Georgia Nut's facility in Niles, Illinois.
Upon delivery of the almonds in Niles, Illinois, Georgia Nut
discovered that the band seal number on the cargo door did
not match the unique load-identifying seal number for the
bill of lading. Because band tampering renders the almonds
unusable for human consumption, Georgia Nut rejected the
shipment upon delivery and did not receive any reimbursement
for the total loss from the almonds.
6, 2016, Georgia Nut provided a Standard Form for
Presentation of Loss and Damages Claims to C.H. Robinson, who
then submitted a claim to the insurer. C.H. Robinson required
Georgia Nut to use C.H. Robinson to handle all aspects of the
process of making a claim with the insurer. Until February
2017, C.H. Robinson disclosed no information about the
insurance claim to Georgia Nut, at which point C.H. Robinson
solely revealed the identity of the insurer.
Trucking was established in July of 2015 and was
administratively dissolved on December 7, 2016. Public
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) records
show that AI Trucking had one driver and drove one mile in
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the
sufficiency of the complaint, not its merits. Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6); Gibson v. City of Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510,
1520 (7th Cir. 1990). In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion
to dismiss, the Court accepts as true all well-pleaded facts
in the plaintiff's complaint and draws all reasonable
inferences from those facts in the plaintiff's favor.
AnchorBank, FSB v. Hofer, 649 F.3d 610, 614 (7th
Cir. 2011). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the complaint
must not only provide the defendant with fair notice of a
claim's basis but must also be facially plausible.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct.
1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009); see also Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d
929 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
Preemption Under the Federal Aviation Administration
Authorization Act (FAAAA)
Robinson argues that the claims in Count I and Count II
relate to the services C.H. Robinson provides as a broker,
and therefore the FAAAA expressly preempts Georgia Nut's
negligent hiring and negligent supervision claim and its
claim of ...