Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
April 10, 1990
[*833] MOORE, Circuit Judge.
Defendant-appellant, Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Company, appeals an order of the district court awarding attorney fees to plaintiff-appellee, A.T. Clayton & Co., Inc., in this action brought under the Carmack Amendment to the Interstate Commerce Act. Because we conclude that under Missouri, Kansas & Texas Ry. v. Harris, 234 U.S. 412, 58 L. Ed. 1377, 34 S. Ct. 790 (1914), the Oklahoma attorney fee provision is not preempted by the Carmack Amendment and was properly applied by the district court, we affirm.
A.T. Clayton & Co., Inc., (Clayton) brought this suit against Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Company (MKT) seeking recovery of $ 41,191.20, which constituted the alleged [**2] fair market value of a shipment of paper damaged while in MKT's custody. Clayton claimed MKT was liable under the Carmack Amendment, 49 U.S.C. § 11707 (1982), which codifies carrier liability for goods lost or damaged in shipment. Clayton alleged that in early settlement negotiations, MKT refused to turn over the salvage [*834] proceeds for the damaged paper unless Clayton provided MKT with a full release. Clayton moved for a partial summary judgment of $ 7,600.00 which represented salvage proceeds, and, three days later, MKT provided Clayton with a check for that amount. The court also awarded Clayton attorney fees of $ 7,160.50 and costs of $ 341.00 in connection with the recovery of the salvage proceeds.
The case went to trial on the Carmack claim, and the jury returned a verdict in Clayton's favor in the amount of $ 34,341.20. The district court vacated its earlier award of attorney fees and instructed Clayton to include that amount in a new application for attorney fees. Following a hearing, the district court determined Clayton was entitled to its attorney fees as the prevailing party under Okla. Stat. tit. 12, § 940 A, and awarded Clayton $ [**3] 16,581.03. MKT appeals this award.
] The Carmack Amendment codifies an initial carrier's liability for goods lost or damaged in shipment. With the enactment of Carmack in 1906 as an amendment to the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887, and as part of the Hepburn Act, ch. 3591, 34 Stat. 584 (1906), and as codified at 49 U.S.C. 20(11), "Congress superseded diverse state laws with a nationally uniform policy governing interstate carriers' liability for property loss." New York, New Haven & Hartford R.R. Co. v. Nothnagle, 346 U.S. 128, 131, 97 L. Ed. 1500, 73 S. Ct. 986 (1953).
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
901 F.2d 833 *; 1990 U.S. App. LEXIS 5191 **
A.T. CLAYTON & CO., INC., Plaintiff-Appellee, v. MISSOURI-KANSAS-TEXAS RAILROAD COMPANY, Defendant-Appellant
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma; D.C. No. 87-1077-P.
attorney's fees, Carmack Amendment, carrier, district court, damaged, preempted, costs
Transportation Law, Rail Transportation, Carmack Amendment, Carrier Duties & Liabilities, Damages, Interstate Commerce, Federal Preemption, Business & Corporate Compliance, Transportation Law, State Powers, Torts, Types of Damages, Property Damages, General Overview, Bills of Lading, Governments, Police Powers, Federal Government, US Congress, State & Local Regulation, Civil Procedure, Attorney Fees & Expenses, Basis of Recovery, Statutory Awards, Costs & Attorney Fees, Remedies, Courts, Common Law