A U.S. freight broker is the latest supply chain business in the U.S. to be found liable for an accident a third party transporter was involved in.
Transport Topics reports that Heyl Logistics was found guilty of negligence in a 2008 fatal accident.
According to the report, Akron, Iowa-based Heyl brokered a load to a transporter named Forrest Rangeloff, who in turn brokered the load to operator Daniel Clarey.
Clarey operated for a company called Washington Transportation, which lacked insurance and operating authority. His truck struck a parked trailer, killing a fellow driver nearby.
Clarey was cited for reckless driving and other violations and served a prison term. The victim’s widow, however, argued that Heyl was negligent by failing to check Washington Transportation’s credentials before arranging the load.
On March 5 an Oregon jury agreed, awarding $5.1 million in punitive damages, $1.68 million of which against Heyl.
After the verdict, plaintiff’s attorneys began talks with Heyl, resulting in a confidential settlement and dismissal of the punitive damages award, reports TT.
“This wasn’t just about money, it was about sending a message,” plaintiff’s lawyer Rena Samole said. “If the federal government had better regulations for brokers, perhaps this case wouldn’t have happened at all.”
She called for rules requiring brokers to take the necessary steps in determining whether a carrier’s operating authority and insurance coverage are current.