In its decision Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court held, under maritime law, that manufacturers can be held liable for injuries caused by asbestos-containing parts manufactured and added to their products by third parties. The case, Air & Liquid Systems Corp. v. DeVries, involved Navy sailors who were allegedly exposed to asbestos that was used with certain equipment on the Navy vessels to which they were assigned. The sailors claimed this exposure ultimately caused their cancer. The sailors brought suit against the manufacturers of equipment such as pumps, blowers, and turbines, alleging that the manufacturers were negligent in failing to warn them about the dangers of asbestos.

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On September 22, 2018, Bill (SB-1402) was signed into law in California to become effective January 1, 2019. That law will make a “Customer” that engages or uses “a port drayage motor carrier” jointly and severally liable with that port drayage motor carrier if that carrier is listed on the Internet Web site maintained by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. This ominous list will identify port drayage motor carriers which have been found liable to a “port drayage driver” for unsatisfied court judgments, assessments, orders, decisions, or awards, for port drayage services performed for which the drivers have not been paid or expenses for which they have not been reimbursed, plus damages, penalties, and interest.

The reason why this Bill is not as tentative as it sounds is that The California Labor Commissioner’s Office, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, has awarded in excess of $45 million in unlawful deductions from wages and out-of-pocket expenses to more than 400 drivers, and that drivers have seen little of those awards.
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The following is a short, to the point, summary of recent developments which impact transportation intermediaries, some of which can be implemented simply without fanfare, others which just bear careful monitoring.  The Federal Maritime Commission (“FMC”) recently passed new regulations relating to Negotiated Rate Arrangements (“NRAs”), and NVOCC Service Arrangements (“NSAs”) which require some simple implementation, but then little else. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) has amended Hours of Service regulations which provide for strict usage of Electronic Logging Devices (“ELDs”), and a corresponding obligation for those intermediaries who select motor carriers for transport. Last but not least, we will briefly explore the question of where is the transport intermediary industry headed in the evolving e-commerce revolution?


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