Liability for Freight Destroyed or Damaged in Transit

A carrier’s liability for freight that is lost, damaged, or destroyed while being transported is almost always governed by a federal statute known as the Carmack Amendment. The law is complex and requires a thorough understanding of how Carmack has changed over the past century, as well as how it presently impacts different modes of transportation in different ways.

You will find that our attorneys are the successful attorneys of record in a rather large number of precedential rulings in Carmack Amendment cases by numerous U.S. Courts of Appeals and U.S. District Courts. Simply stated, with respect to issues of freight loss or damage liability, Keenan Cohen & Merrick is one of the most successful and noted law firms in the country. It should be of no surprise that we are engaged to represent the interests of some of the largest rail and motor carriers whenever a substantial freight claim is contested and taken to court. This area of the law demands that counsel have extensive experience, and our record of success speaks for itself.


Hansa Meyer Transport GMBH v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4319, No. 8:06-cv-00924 (D.S.C., May 20, 2008). After lengthy and contentious discovery and a full trial, the U.S. District Court ruled that our client had properly limited its liability for damage to freight under the Carmack Amendment, and awarded the plaintiff no more than $100,000 in damages despite proving a loss of $1,558,000.

Central Transport Services v. Osram Sylvania, Inc. and Global Advantage Distribution, U.S.D.C., M.D. Fla., No. 2:06-vb-401-FTM-29SPC (February 1, 2008). After a very lengthy jury trial of plaintiffs’ claims for the destruction of over $3 million in light bulbs while in transit, the jury found for our client on all counts and entered a defense verdict. The jury found that our client had proven that the freight had not been properly loaded for interstate transportation