click Recently, there was a case against a freight broker and a freight carrier that shook the foundations of the freight brokerage industry. It was the C.H. Robinson Case, in which the jury awarded $23.7 million against a transportation broker who hired a motor carrier that that was involved in a freight accident. It was an established concept that since the freight broker neither own nor operates the truck that caused the accident, he should not have been held liable for the accident. battlefield 3 assignments it goes boom help How was it possible that the broker was held responsible by the jury?

Sperl v. Henry, et al The case referred to here is Sperl v. Henry et al. According to published reports, while acting as a transportation broker, C.H. Robinson hired motor carrier company Toad L Dragonfly to move a shipment. While transporting the shipment on an interstate highway near Plainfield, Ill., the Dragonfly driver reportedly lost control of the tractor-trailer and rear-ended multiple vehicles. The driver was reported to have a suspended license and falsified log books at the time of the accident. It was also revealed that both Dragonfly and the driver had a limited amount of insurance coverage. C.H. Robinson claimed that it had no liability for the accident because they had no control over Dragonfly or the driver, as they were independent contractors. Despite the appeal, the jury still rendered the multi-million-dollar verdict against C.H. Robinson.

Factors that led to the verdict

In cases such as these, plaintiffs rely on a number of theories to impute liability on freight brokers.

1. Vicarious Liability

This theory holds an operator (broker) liable for the acts of a third party as if he were standing in its shoes. The theory also holds that there need not be any direct relationship between the parties, and that their mere involvement in certain, often hazardous, transactions render them liable as well.

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2. Negligence in hiring a subcontractor

Under this theory, a party is alleged to have failed to ascertain that the carrier was properly qualified to undertake the move. In the Robinson case, the lapsed state of the driver’s license may have been a factor in establishing liability.

The tragic consequences of this case demonstrate the importance of all transportation intermediaries acting prudently when contracting with service providers. The tragedy of the C.H Robinson case would have been averted had the broker become more prudent in the selection and checking of their independent contractors.

For us brokers, we can prevent the same situation by establishing safeguards. This begins with selecting a reputable company. Databases are available that can verify the status of a motor carrier’s operating license and proof of its insurance. Depending on the commodities being transported, minimum insurance limits can range between $1 million and $5 million. In light of the case at hand, ascertain whether the carrier has excess limits as well. This should all be verified through certificates of insurance.