United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Virginia M. Kendall, United States District Judge.
Coyote Logistics, LLC (“Coyote”), on its own
behalf and as subrogee of Prime Metals Recovery, Inc.
(“Prime”), filed suit against Defendant Concord
Services, Inc. ("Concord") pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331, 1337, and the Carmack Amendment, 49 U.S.C.
§ 14706, in order to recover $93, 849.39, which is the
value of freight material that Concord failed to deliver
under a shipping agreement between Coyote and Concord. Coyote
seeks summary judgment arguing there is no genuine dispute of
material facts, to which Concord failed to respond. (Dkt.
Nos. 20; 20-1.) For the following reasons, the Motion for
Summary Judgment is granted. [20.]
following facts are undisputed and accepted as true based
upon review of the Coyote's Rule 56.1 Statement of
Uncontested Material Facts as well as upon Concord's
failure to respond or file its own motion for summary
judgment with a supporting statement of facts.
a licensed property broker by the United States Department of
Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
(“FMCSA”), is an Illinois-based company that
arranges for the transportation of freight by for-hire
carriers in interstate or foreign commerce. (Dkt. Nos. 1,
¶1; 20-1, ¶ 1.) Prime is a company that contracted
with Coyote for the transportation of approximately 44, 000
pounds of metal loaded into boxes and placed on pallets to go
from Orangeburg, South Carolina to Pine Hall, North Carolina.
(Dkt. No. 20-2, Ex. 1.) Concord is a North Carolina company
registered by the FMCSA as a for-hire carrier of property in
interstate commerce. (Dkt. No. 20-1, ¶¶ 2-3.)
19, 2016, Coyote contracted with Concord to transport 41, 045
pounds of copper chops belonging to Prime, valued at $93, 849.39,
from Orangeburg, South Carolina to Pine Hall, North Carolina.
(Id. at ¶ 5; Dkt. No. 20-2, ¶ 12; Ex. 2.)
Concord hired Ernesto Acosta, an independent owner-operator
of a tractor-trailer, to complete the delivery. (Dkt. No.
20-5, at 2.) Acosta took control of the shipment on July 19,
2016, and signed a Bill of Lading acknowledging that the
shipment was in good condition and consisted of 41, 045
pounds of copper chops. (Dkt. No. 20-1, ¶ 6; Dkt. No.
20-5, at 2.) While in transit the truck carrying the shipment
suffered mechanical issues, forcing Acosta to stop for
repairs in Charlotte, North Carolina. The truck was separated
from the trailer while in repairs over night and (Dkt. No.
20-2, Ex. 6.) the next morning Acosta discovered the trailer
had been stolen. (Id.; Dkt. No. 20-5, at 3.)
submitted a claim for loss and damage to Coyote on July 21,
2016, requesting $93, 849.39. (Dkt. No. 20-2, Ex. 6.) In
order to make its client whole, Coyote paid Prime $93, 849.39
in exchange for the assignment of all of its right, title,
and interest to the subject shipment. (Dkt. No. 20-1,
¶11; Dkt. No. 20-2, ¶ 12; Dkt. No. 20-2, Ex. 3.)
This amount also represents the value of the copper chops to
be delivered in accordance with the agreements between Coyote
and Prime, and between Coyote and Concord. (Dkt. No. 20-1,
¶ 10.) The assignment also released Coyote from further
liability as a result of the lost shipment. (Dkt. No. 20-2,
Ex. 3.) Concord has since continuously denied Coyote's
demands to pay for the full actual loss “on account of
the damage to the subject shipment.” (Id.
¶ 12.) As a result of failure to pay for the lost
shipment, Coyote filed this Complaint pursuant to the Carmack
Amendment, 49 U.S.C. § 14706, seeking to recover the
full value of the shipment from Concord. See (Dkt.
judgment is proper where "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 evaluating a
motion for summary judgment, the Court must construe all
evidence and make all reasonable inferences in favor of the
non-moving party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986). The Court's primary
function is not to "evaluate the weight of the evidence
or to determine the truth of the matter, " but to
determine whether there is a genuine issue of triable fact.
Outlaw v. Newkirk, 259 F.3d 833, 837 (7th Cir.
2001). "A factual dispute is 'genuine' only if a
reasonable jury could find for either party."
Nichols v. Mich. City Plant Planning Dep't, 755
F.3d 594, 599 (7th Cir. 2014) (internal quotation marks and
citation omitted). The party moving for summary judgment
bears the initial burden of production to show that no
genuine issue of material fact exists. Outlaw, 259
F.3d at 837 (citing Logan v. Commercial Union Ins.
Co., 96 F.3d 971, 978 (7th Cir. 1996)). The burden may
be discharged by showing "an absence of evidence to
support the nonmoving party's case." Id.
(quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
(1986)). Upon such a showing, the nonmoving party must set
forth specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial.
Id. (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). However, a
movant's facts that go uncontested by the non-moving
party are accepted as true by the district court. Meadows
v. Rockford Housing Authority, 861 F.3d 672, 673 n.1
(7th Cir. 2017). In sum, the facts must demonstrate that the
genuine issue is material and not simply a factual
disagreement between the parties; otherwise the movant is
entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. Id.
259 F.3d at 837 (quoting Logan, 96 F.3d at 978). The
"nonmovant fails to demonstrate a genuine issue for
trial 'where the record taken as a whole could not lead a
rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving
party.'" Id. (citations omitted).
purpose of the Carmack Amendment is to create a
“nationally uniform rule of carrier liability
concerning interstate shipments.” REI Transport,
Inc. v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., 519 F.3d 693, 697
(7th Cir. 2008). The statute governs “liability of a
common carrier to a shipper for loss of, or damage to,
interstate shipment.” North American Van Lines,
Inc. v. Pinkerton Security Systems, Inc., 89 F.3d 452,
455 (7th Cir. 1996). To establish a prima facie Carmack claim
“a plaintiff must show (1) delivery [to a carrier] in
good condition; (2) arrival [of the goods] in damaged
condition; and (3) the amount of damages.” REI
Transp., Inc. v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., 519 F.3d
693, 699 (7th Cir. 2008) (quoting Am. Nat'l Fire Ins.
Co. v. Yellow Freight Sys., 325 F.3d 924, 929 (7th Cir.
2003)). The need to show the arrival in damaged condition
includes liability “for the full actual loss” to
property transported. North American Van Lines,
Inc., 89 F.3d at 455; see also Hughes v. United Van
Lines, Inc., 829 F.2d 1407, 1413-14 (7th Cir. 1987)
(explaining amendments to Carmack by the First Cummins
Amendment discussing liability for both loss and damage of
goods shipped in interstate commerce) (superseded by statute
on other grounds). If the plaintiff establishes the prima
facie case, the burden shifts to the defendant "to show
both that it was free from negligence and that the damage to
the cargo was due to one of the excepted causes relieving the
carrier of liability." REI Transp., Inc., 519
F.3d at 699. Those excepted causes include “acts of
God, the public enemy, the act of the shipper himself, public
authority, or the inherent vice or nature of the
goods.” Am. Nat'l Fire Ins. Co., 325 F.3d
at 930 (internal citations omitted).
establishes a prima facie Carmack claim. The first element -
delivery of the shipment to the carrier in good condition -
is clearly met as both parties admit that the shipment was in
good order and condition and no goods were missing when
Concord received it. Furthermore, both parties admit that the
shipment did not arrive because it was stolen in transit,
therefore satisfying the second element. Finally, Coyote
asserted that the value of the shipment, and therefore the
amount of damages Coyote sustained, is $93, 849.39, and
Concord does not dispute this. In support of these
submissions, Coyote presented evidence in its Rule 56.1
Statement of Uncontested Material Facts that bolster a
Carmack Amendment violation: (1) there was a Bill of Lading
signed by Concord's driver admitting receipt of the
copper chops in good condition and an affidavit from
Prime's shipping supervisor showing that the shipment
arrived in good condition; (2) the claim, filed by Prime, for
presentation of loss and damage for the shipment that details
loss of the trailer containing the copper chops, and
undisputed admissions by Concord that the shipment was not
delivered; and (3) Prime's loss and damage claim, the
assignment of loss between Coyote and Prime, and Coyote's
subsequent payment to Prime all verify the shipment's
does not dispute any of the facts submitted by Coyote in its
Rule 56.1 Statement of Uncontested Material Facts. Concord
also did not file any cross-motion for summary judgment.
Concord further does not contest any of the facts supporting
the required elements for a prima facie case under the
Carmack Amendment, nor does it submit any arguments or facts
in its support upon the burden shift to prove that it was not
negligent or that an exception to the application of the
Carmack Amendment applies in this case. See REI Transp.,
Inc., 519 ...