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United Road Logistics LLC v. Alpha Transportation Group LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

May 5, 2017

UNITED ROAD LOGISTICS LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
ALPHA TRANSPORTATION GROUP LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION [#24] AND DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO CERTIFY INTERLOCUTORY APPEAL AND STAY REMAND PENDING APPEAL [#26]

          Denise Page Hood Chief Judge, United States District Court

         I. BACKGROUND

         This matter is now before the Court on Defendant Alpha Transportation Group LLC's (“Alpha”) Motion for Reconsideration filed on April 4, 2017 (Doc # 24), and Alpha's Motion to Certify Interlocutory Appeal and Stay Remand Pending Appeal filed on April 6, 2017 (Doc # 26). On March 22, 2017, the Court entered an Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and Order Remanding Back to Wayne County Circuit Court. (Doc # 22) For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies Alpha's Motion for Reconsideration and denies Alpha's Motion to Certify Interlocutory Appeal and Stay Remand Pending Appeal.

         II. MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

         A. Standard of Review

         The Local Rules of the Eastern District of Michigan provide that any motion for reconsideration must be filed within 14 days after entry of the judgment or order. E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(h)(1). No response to the motion and no oral argument thereon are permitted unless the Court orders otherwise. Id. at 7.1(h)(2). Alpha's Motion is timely filed.

         Local Rule 7.1 further states:

(3) Grounds. Generally, and without restricting the court's discretion, the court will not grant motions for rehearing or reconsideration that merely present the same issues ruled upon by the court, either expressly or by reasonable implication. The movant must not only demonstrate a palpable defect by which the court and the parties and other persons entitled to be heard on the motion have been misled but also show that correcting the defect will result in a different disposition of the case.

Id. at 7.1(h)(3). “A ‘palpable defect' is a defect which is obvious, clear, unmistakable, manifest, or plain.” Fleck v. Titan Tire Corp., 177 F.Supp.2d 605, 624 (E.D. Mich. 2001). A motion for reconsideration is not a vehicle to re-hash old arguments, or to proffer new arguments or evidence that the movant could have brought up earlier. Sault Ste. Marie Tribe v. Engler, 146 F.3d 367, 374 (6th Cir. 1998) (motions under Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e) “are aimed at re consideration, not initial consideration”) (citing FDIC v. World Universal Inc., 978 F.2d 10, 16 (1st Cir. 1992)).

         B. Palpable Defect

         Alpha argues that the Court made a palpable error when the Court rejected Alpha's argument that United Road Logistics LLC's (“URL”) breach of contract claim is preempted by the Carmack Amendment because Alpha, an interstate motor carrier, never executed an express written waiver, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 14101(b), of its right to limited liability under the Carmack Amendment.

         In its March 22, 2017 Order, this Court expressly considered Alpha's argument that, in the absence of an express written waiver, the Carmack amendment governed Alpha's liability, rather than the broker-carrier contract between URL and Alpha. The Court also expressly considered URL's argument that the express written waiver requirement applied only to shippers and carriers, and not brokers. The Court went on to quote and analyze the express written waiver requirement in the Carmack Amendment, 49 U.S.C. § 14101(b)(1). The Court found that, under the plain terms of the statute, only a shipper and a carrier can enter into an agreement waiving rights under the statute. See Exel, Inc. v. S. Refrigerated Transp., Inc., 807 F.3d 140, 148-49 (6th Cir. 2015). The Court further found that URL's breach of contract claim is not preempted by the Carmack Amendment because it is a claim for direct contractual indemnity under the terms of a separate broker-carrier contract, and not a claim under the bill of lading.

         The Court finds that Alpha has not met its burden on a motion for reconsideration, as it has not demonstrated a palpable defect by which the court has been misled. Instead, Alpha reargues the same arguments that this Court already rejected. Alpha cites several cases (which it could have cited earlier) in its Motion for Reconsideration. These cases include general discussions of the Carmack Amendment's purpose and scope, but Alpha fails to cite any case in which a broker's claim against a carrier for direct contractual indemnity under the terms of a broker-carrier contract that is entirely separate from the bill of lading was held to be preempted by the Carmack Amendment.[1] As the Court discussed in its March 22, 2017 Order, such preemption would not serve the Carmack Amendment's purpose given that the shipper is not involved, and given that the carrier can easily predict its potential liability when entering into such a broker-carrier contract under the laws of the state in which the contract is made. Alpha's Motion for Reconsideration is denied.

         III. MOTION TO CERTIFY INTERLOCUTORY APPEAL AND STAY ...


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