Articles Posted in Transportation Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit claiming that American Airlines violated its obligation under the McCaskill‐Bond amendment to the Federal Aviation Act, 49 U.S.C. 42112 note, to provide for the integration of the American Airlines and U.S. Airways seniority lists “in a fair and equitable manner.” Plaintiffs also claimed principally that the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (“APFA”), the labor union representing American Airlines flight attendants, violated its duty of fair representation under the Railway Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. 151‐165, by failing to represent the former TWA flight attendants adequately during the creation of the integrated seniority list. The district court granted defendants' motions to dismiss. The court concluded that McCaskill‐Bond did not require American Airlines to reorder its own seniority list upon entering into a new merger in order to redress plaintiffs’ endtailing in 2001. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of plaintiffs’ claim against American Airlines under McCaskill‐Bond. The court also concluded that the union’s refusal to reorder the list, in accordance with its policy and the condition imposed by American Airlines, was not irrational or arbitrary; nor was the union’s decision to use the “length of service” rule to integrate the seniority lists unlawfully discriminatory in violation of the Railway Labor Act; and the amended complaint’s allegations do not raise an inference of “bad faith” on the part of APFA. The court considered plaintiffs' remaining arguments and concluded that they are without merit. The court affirmed the judgment. View "Flight Attendants in Reunion v. Am. Airlines, Inc." on Justia Law

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Beck filed suit against its franchisor, GM, for claims arising under the Motor Vehicle Dealer Act, N.Y. Vehicle & Traffic Law 460-473, and state contract law. The court certified the following questions to the New York Court of Appeals: (1) Is a performance standard that requires ʺaverageʺ performance based on statewide sales data in order for an automobile dealer to retain its dealership ʺunreasonable, arbitrary, or unfairʺ under New York Vehicle & Traffic Law section 463(2)(gg) because it does not account for local variations beyond adjusting for the local popularity of general vehicle types? and (2) Does a change to a franchiseeʹs Area of Primary Responsibility or AGSSA constitute a prohibited ʺmodificationʺ to the franchise under section 463(2)(ff), even though the standard terms of the Dealer Agreement reserve the franchisorʹs right to alter the Area of Primary Responsibility or AGSSA in its sole discretion?  Further, the court concluded that the district court did not err in dismissing plaintiffʹs vehicle allocation claim, denying plaintiffʹs request for attorneyʹs fees, or dismissing defendantʹs counterclaim for rescission. View "Beck Chevrolet v. General Motors" on Justia Law

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In 1953, New York and New Jersey entered into the Waterfront Commission Act, establishing the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor to govern operations at the Port of New York‐New Jersey. At that time, individual pieces of cargo were loaded onto trucks, driven to the pier, and then unloaded for loading, piece‐by‐piece, onto the vessel. Similarly, arriving cargo was handled piece-by-piece. Containerization transformed shipping: a shipper loads cargo into a large container, which is loaded onto a truck and transported to the pier, where it is lifted aboard a ship. Continental operates warehouses, including one at 112 Port Jersey Boulevard, Jersey City. Continental picks up containers from the Global Marine Terminal, transports them to the Warehouse, unloads them, and removes their contents. Continental stores the freight and provides other services, such as sampling, weighing. and wrapping. In 2011, the Commission advised Continental that it was required to obtain a stevedore license, concluding that the property line and building of the 112 Warehouse were within 1,000 yards of a pier. Continental sought a declaratory judgment. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court holding that Continental engages in stevedoring activities at the warehouse and that the warehouse is an ʺother waterfront terminalʺ under the Act and within the Commission’s jurisdiction. View "Cont'l Terminals, Inc. v. Waterfront Comm'n of N.Y. Harbor" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs Sompo and Nipponkoa, subrogees of the cargo owners/shippers, filed suit against Defendants Norfolk Southern and KCSR to recover for the damages sustained to cargo by a train derailment. At issue in these appeals was the meaning and enforceability of provisions found in the bills of lading that purport to designate the ocean carrier as the sole entity responsible to the cargo owners for damage to the cargo. Further, Docket No. 13-3501 challenged Nipponkoa's ability to maintain its claim for contractual indemnification, a claim assigned to it by the upstream ocean carrier, against defendants. The court affirmed the judgment in Docket No. 13-3416 and concluded that summary judgment for defendants was proper where defendants are entitled to enforce the liability-limiting provision in the upstream carrier's bill of lading against plaintiffs. The court affirmed the judgment in Docket No. 13-3501 because defendants' arguments for reversal of Nipponkoa's judgment against them are all either waived or without merit.View "Sompo Japan Ins., Inc. v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a qui tam action against DHL under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. 3729 et seq., alleging that DHL billed the United States jet-fuel surcharges on shipments that were transported exclusively by ground transportation. On appeal, plaintiffs challenged the district court's dismissal for failure to satisfy a statutory notice requirement. The court concluded that the 180-day rule, which barred a challenge to a shipping charge before the STB, could not apply to a qui tam action under the FCA. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded. View "United States v. DHL Express (USA), Inc." on Justia Law

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After plaintiff was involved in a verbal altercation with Defendant Leifer, Leifer used plaintiff's license plate number to obtain the name and home address of plaintiff. Leifer then embarked on a campaign to harass plaintiff and his family. Plaintiff filed suit under the Driver's Privacy Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. 2721-2725, against Leifer and the entities and individuals who obtained the information from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and released it to Leifer. The court held that Defendant Resellers were not strictly liable for Leifer's improper use of plaintiff's personal information because neither the text nor the legislative history of the Act supported a reading of a strict liability standard into the Act; while Defendant Softech disclosed plaintiff's personal information for a permitted use, a material question of fact existed as to the propriety of the disclosure; the Act imposed a duty on resellers to exercise reasonable care in responding to requests for personal information drawn from motor vehicle records; nothing in the record suggested that, in complying with the information request, Softech acted unreasonably; and a reasonable jury could find that Arcanum failed to exercise reasonable care when it disclosed plaintiff's personal information to Leifer. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court to the extent it granted summary judgment in favor of Softech and Rodriquez, vacated the judgment to the extent it granted summary judgment in favor of Arcanum and Cohn on plaintiff's claims under the Act, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Gordon v. Softech Int'l, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff and his former employers (collectively, the "MTA") dispute whether the district court had subject matter jurisdiction to hear an appeal from a decision of a special adjustment board. At issue was whether a party waived a challenge to the jurisdiction of a special adjustment board by explicitly conceding before the board that the board had jurisdiction. The court affirmed under these circumstances, holding that plaintiff conceded the Board's jurisdiction in his submission to the Board and the court declined to consider his waived jurisdictional challenge. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Sokolwski v. Metropolitan Transportation Authority" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a seaman, contracted lymphoma and sued his former employer, a tugboat operator, seeking maintenance and cure. The doctrine of maintenance and cure concerns the vessel owner’s obligation to provide food, lodging, and medical services to a seaman injured while serving the ship. Undisputed evidence established that the seaman had lymphoma during his maritime service, but the disease did not present any symptoms at all until after his service. The district court granted summary judgment for the tugboat operator. The Second Circuit reversed. Because the seaman’s illness indisputably occurred during his service, he is entitled to maintenance and cure regardless of when he began to show symptoms. View "Messier v. Bouchard Transp." on Justia Law

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Two people who use wheelchairs and organizations that represent persons with disabilities brought a class action against the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission and the TLC Commissioner for violation of Parts A and B of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the New York City Human Rights Law. The district court granted plaintiffs partial summary judgment as to liability on the ADA claim and entered a temporary injunction, requiring that all new taxi medallions and street-hail livery licenses be limited to vehicles that are wheelchair accessible until the TLC proposes and the district court approves a comprehensive plan to provide meaningful access to taxi service for wheelchair-bound passengers. The Second Circuit vacated the temporary injunction as improvidently granted. Although the TLC exercises pervasive control over the taxi industry in New York City, defendants were not required by Title II(A) to deploy their licensing and regulatory authority to mandate that persons who need wheelchairs be afforded meaningful access to taxis. View "Noel v. NY City Taxi & Limousine Comm'n" on Justia Law

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The New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) appealed from an order of the district court enjoining the enforcement of an NYCTA policy requiring third parties to obtain the consent of those contesting notices of violations before NYCTA's Transit Adjudication Bureau in order to observe such hearings. At issue was whether the public had a right to access these proceedings. The court held that the First Amendment guaranteed the public a presumptive right of access to the NYCTA's adjudicatory proceedings and that the NYCTA had not overcome that presumption.