Unpaid Freight Bills

There are many routes to getting paid in a freight charge case. The attorneys at Blitch Westley Barrette have the depth of knowledge and experience to help get your unpaid invoices current. Our team stands ready to assist in any of the following:

  • Insolvent broker
  • Shipper withholds payment as a result of cargo claim
  • Unpaid freight after delivering materials to construction projects
  • Unpaid freight after carrier hauls aggregate
  • Critical vendor claims
  • Government contracts
  • Insolvent subcontractor

There are strict deadlines involved in pursuing freight charge claims, and many strategies that can be deployed to recover your past due accounts. Do not rely on the collection agencies to get the job done. We offer strategic advice to help our clients to bring such matters to timely a resolution.

Before money is past due, we prepare and review services contracts, invoices, as well as credit applications to help our clients recover interest, administrative costs and prevailing party attorneys’ fees if litigation becomes necessary.

Shipper Claims Against Brokers

The role of a broker and motor carrier can often be blurred. We are here to clear the fog from the road.  Although brokers are not liable for cargo loss and damage claims under the Carmack Amendment (a strict liability statute governing shipper claims against carriers and freight-forwarders), some courts have found brokers liable under state common law theories, such as:

  • Breach of contract
  • Fraud
  • Gross negligence
  • Misrepresentation
  • Negligence
  • Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practice Act Claims

The attorneys at Blitch Westley Barrette are here to help you successfully defeat cargo claims and associated state law claims. If you have had a claim asserted against your company, there is good news, brokers may invoke federal preemption under provisions in Title 49, among other defenses, to avoid liability. Our attorneys launch tactical defenses to help steer your operations away from adverse outcomes, and explore avenues for insurance coverage (where possible), so that you do not have to pay the costs of defense.

Cargo Claims (Prosecution and Defense)

The attorneys at Blitch Westley Barrette have over 100 years prosecuting and defending cargo claim litigation for the clients. The globalization of the supply chain, the use of intermediaries, the advance of technology and the implementation of complex shipper contracts can impact of the motor carrier’s liability and defenses in the event of a cargo loss and damage claim. Our attorney’s help bring clarity to a complex world. We identify the roles of the parties in the shipping transaction, sort through conflicting bills of lading, tariffs and contractual terms, and demonstrate to the court why (or why not) the motor carrier is legally liable for the loss.

We also help our motor carrier clients reduce their liability exposure before the claim occurs. Consider the following scenarios:

  • Cargo is loaded onto your trailer in excess of your cargo insurance limits. The load is stolen.
  • Time temperature sensitive commodities are loaded from a field, and not pre-cooled. The receiver rejects the shipment.
  • Motor Carrier signs a contract with a waiver of rights under 49 U.S.C. 14101(b). A cargo loss results and shipper sues the motor carrier for lost profits.
  • Motor Carrier is given conflicting instructions on bill of lading and rate confirmation sheet on a food shipment. Receiver rejects the load and dumps the product before inspection claiming right under the Food Safety Modernization Act.
  • Motor Carrier interlines a shipment. The cargo is damaged by the interlined carrier, who has insufficient coverage to pay the claim.

There are tools and preventative measures that the attorneys at Blitch Westley Barrette can offer to help reduce your risk in these cases. Just as you would pre-plan your route, know how you are going to respond when a cargo claim occurs.

Specific Transportation Related Litigation

Blitch Westly Barrette is immersed in the transportation industry and has experience ready to handle your case. Blitch Westley Barrette’s “in it to win it” litigation philosophy is evident from the moment we enter the fray to the moment the job is done.

Blitch Westley Barrette’s team stands ready to serve your interests in:

  • Freight charge collections/defense
  • Cargo claim collections/defense
  • Broker liability defense
  • Vehicle lease agreement disputes
  • Warehouse lien enforcement
  • Motor carrier lien enforcement
  • Truth in Leasing Disputes
  • Workers compensation defense (independent contractor claims)