United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
L. PARKER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Logistics Buddy Transportation, LLC (“Logistics
Buddy”) moves for summary judgment against VS Carriers,
Inc. (“VS”) on a Carmack Amendment claim of
carrier liability for an undelivered shipment of fresh beef.
(ECF No. 59 at PageID 271.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant
failed to deliver a shipment of fresh meat and that it may
end this beef with judgment in its favor. The Court agrees so
the Motion is GRANTED.
suit originated as a claim by Monogram Food Solutions, LLC
(“Monogram”) against broker Re Transportation,
Inc. (“ReTrans”) for the invoice value of an
undelivered shipment of beef. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 4.)
ReTrans sued seeking indemnification from carrier liability
from Logistics Buddy for the freight loss. (Id.)
Logistics Buddy then cross claimed and impleaded VS as a
third-party defendant, because Logistics Buddy subcontracted
the delivery of the beef to VS. (ECF No. 59-3 at PageID 290.)
ReTrans and Logistics Buddy settled their claims for $116,
381, and ReTrans assigned the rights to the claim for the
undelivered beef shipment to Logistics Buddy. (ECF Nos. 45 at
PageID 216; 45-4 at PageID 236.) Logistics Buddy amended its
complaint against VS for carrier liability under the Carmack
Amendment, and, following a period of discovery, now moves
for summary judgment. (ECF Nos. 45 at PageID 213; 59 at
Statement of Undisputed Facts
Court takes these facts from Logistics Buddy's Statement
of Undisputed Material Facts (ECF No. 59-2 at PageID 282),
VS's Response to Statement of Undisputed Material Facts
and Statement of Additional Facts Pursuant to LR 56.1(b)(3)
(ECF No. 61 at PageID 395), and Logistics Buddy's
Response to Additional Undisputed Material Facts (ECF No. 63
at PageID 448.)
arranged for Logistics Buddy to transport the shipment of
fresh beef from Chicago Meat Authority, Inc.
(“CMA”) in Chicago, Illinois to Monogram in
Martinsville, Virginia. (ECF No. 59-2 at PageID 282.)
Monogram was the beneficial owner of the beef shipment.
(Id. at 283.) The shipment of fresh beef was
perishable--so the transportation company needed to keep it
at twenty-eight degrees. (ECF Nos. 59-2 at PageID 283; 45-2
at PageID 224.) And this shipment required expedient
delivery. (Id.) CMA ships fresh beef to the
Martinsville Monogram facility often, and the typical transit
time for a shipment is two days. (ECF Nos. 59-2 at PageID
283; 59-4 at PageID 301.) Logistics Buddy could not transport
the beef, so it used its brokerage affiliate to arrange for
VS to deliver it. (Id. at PageID 282.)
dates are important here. VS driver, Desmond Brown, accepted
the shipment from CMA in Chicago on February 10, 2017, with
the delivery appointment in Martinsville scheduled for
February 13, 2017. (ECF Nos. 59-2 at PageID 283; 59-3 at
PageID 290.) CMA maintained the beef at the proper
temperature during processing and storage, and when it
tendered the shipment to the VS driver, the beef was
unadulterated and suitable for human consumption. (ECF Nos.
59-2 at PageID 283; 59-4 at PageID 300.) The VS driver's
signature by the seal on the bill of lading reveals that they
loaded and sealed the shipment in the driver's presence.
(ECF Nos. 45-2 at PageID 244; 59-2 at PageID 283; 59-4 at
PageID 300.) And the driver did not make any notes or
exceptions on the bill of lading. (Id.)
the need for expedient delivery, VS did not deliver the
shipment on time. (ECF No. 61 at PageID 400.) Logistics Buddy
contacted the VS driver to get updates on the shipment and
delivery after the driver missed the delivery appointment.
(ECF Nos. 60-2 at PageID 385-94; 60-1 at PageID 371-73.) The
parties did not resolve the shipment issues and the meat went
undelivered until three days after the delivery appointment.
(ECF Nos. 59-2 at PageID 284; 59-3 at PageID 288.) That is
when Monogram rejected the shipment. (Id.)
of VS's lack of log records and other documentation, the
parties could not determine conclusively the progress of the
shipment, the precise cause of the delays, the maintenance
record of the tractor and trailer used for the shipment, or
temperature records from the refrigerated trailer. (ECF No.
59-2 at PageID 284.) HBL Meats did salvage the shipment. (ECF
59-5 at PageID 320.) The only record related to the
shipment's salvage is a check from Illinois-based HBL
Meats Inc. to Monogram. (ECF No. 61 at PageID 403; 61-3 at
PageID 442.) The invoice value of the beef shipment is $126,
026.99. (ECF No. 59-3 at PageID 296.) Logistics Buddy seeks
indemnification from VS for the $116, 381 that Logistics
Buddy paid to ReTrans, plus costs and fees stemming from this
litigation. (Id. at PageID at 177.)
court shall grant summary judgment if 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). “A fact is material for purposes of
summary judgment if proof of that fact would establish or
refute an essential element of the cause of action or
defense.” Bruederle v. Louisville Metro
Gov't, 687 F.3d 771, 776 (6th Cir. 2012) (internal
quotation marks omitted). “The moving party bears the
initial burden of demonstrating the absence of any genuine
issue of material fact.” Mosholder v.
Barnhardt, 679 F.3d 443, 448 (6th Cir. 2012) (citing
Celotex Corp v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986)).
“Mere conclusory and unsupported allegations, rooted in
speculation, do not meet [the] burden.” Bell v.
Ohio State Univ., 351 F.3d 240, 253 (6th Cir. 2003).
“Once the moving party satisfies its initial burden,
the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to set forth
specific facts showing a triable issue of material
fact.” Mosholder, 679 F.3d at 448-49 (citing
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986)).
non-moving party “may not rest upon its mere
allegations.” Great West Cas. Co. v.
Flandrich, 605 F.Supp.2d 955, 960 (S.D. Ohio 2009). The
non-moving party “must produce evidence that results in
a conflict of material fact to be resolved by a jury[,
]” and the Court “must afford all reasonable
inferences, and construe the evidence, in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party.” Cox v. Ky. Dept
of Transp., 53 F.3d 146, 150 (6th Cir. 1995). Rather,
[t]he non-moving party must present ‘significant
probative evidence' to show that there is more than
‘some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts.'” Id. (quoting Moore v. Philip
Morris Co., 8 F.3d 335, 339-40 (6th Cir. 1993).
“When the non-moving party fails to make a sufficient
showing of an essential element of his case on which he bears