"Broker Found Liable of Negligent Hiring"
Article published on Wednesday, March 28, 2012
In a recent case involving a transportation broker being found
liable for the performance of a third party, an Oregon jury awarded
plaintiffs $5.2 million against a brokerage company for "negligent
hiring." The broker, Heyl Logistics, brokered a load to a motor
carrier for freight transport. The motor carrier was involved in an
accident which resulted in the death of the plaintiff's father. The
evidence indicated that Heyl had failed to do due diligence before
hiring the trucker who had no insurance or operating authority. The
trucking company was shown to have had a history of violations,
including revocation of its operating authority for failure to
conduct drug testing.
There is presently little or no government regulation of brokers, and plaintiff's counsel argued that it is now up to the courts "to keep our roads safer by providing a deterrent to careless brokers." This argument applies equally to motor carriers that subcontract freight shipments to other truckers for transportation. The clear message is that brokers and carriers need to get serious about conducting thorough due diligence before giving loads out to other carriers.