Justia Transportation Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Mazzarella v. Fast Rig Support LLC
The drivers worked transporting water to hydraulic fracking sites within Pennsylvania. The lead plaintiff asserts that he and his coworkers often worked more than 40 hours in a week, but were paid overtime only for work performed above 45 hours per week, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. 207(a) and Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (PMWA), 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. 333.104(c). Before trial, the court ordered briefing on whether the employers (trucking companies) were subject to the Motor Carrier Act exemption to the FLSA’s overtime requirements, applicable to certain interstate employment activity that is subject to the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation. The employers stipulated to a judgment requiring them to pay overtime. The Third Circuit affirmed. While the movement of the fracking wastewater out of state could theoretically be one involving a practical continuity of movement in interstate commerce, depending on the intent of the shipper at the time shipment commenced, the role the drivers played, whether the water is altered during the fracking process, and the steps for water removal and outgoing transportation, the employers produced no evidence concerning these matters and did not meet their burden to “plainly and unmistakably” show that the MCA exemption applies. View "Mazzarella v. Fast Rig Support LLC" on Justia Law
In Re: Asbestos Prods. Liability Litig.
Between 1945 and the mid-1970s, Hassell was employed as an electrician by the Railroad, responsible for the maintenance and repair of passenger railcars designed and manufactured by defendants' predecessors. Steam pipes running underneath those railcars were insulated with material containing asbestos. As a consequence of his exposure to asbestos, Hassell contracted asbestosis and mesothelioma. He died in 2009, during the pendency of his lawsuit. Defendants argued that state law claims were preempted by the Locomotive Boiler Inspection Act (LIA), 49 U.S.C. 20701, the Safety Appliance Act, 49 U.S.C. 20301, and the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA), 49 U.S.C. 20101. The district court held that Hassell’s claims were preempted by the LIA. The Third Circuit vacated, noting the lack of evidence supporting defendants’ assertion that the railcar pipes at issued formed an “interconnected system” with the locomotive. Even assuming that evidence for the “interconnected system” could have been gleaned from the record, Hassell produced evidence from a former Railroad supervisor showing that, instead of being connected to locomotives, the pipes were connected to “power cars” that separately supplied steam heat to the passenger coaches. There was a genuine dispute material fact precluding summary judgment. View "In Re: Asbestos Prods. Liability Litig." on Justia Law
In re: World Imports LTD
WI buys furniture wholesale. OEC provided WI with non-vessel-operating common carrier transportation services. WI signed an Application for Credit that granted a security interest in WI property in OEC’s possession, custody or control or en route. As required by federal law, OEC also publishes a tariff with the Federal Maritime Commission, which provides for a Carrier’s lien. WI filed voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy petitions. OEC sought relief from the automatic stay, arguing that it was a secured creditor with a possessory maritime lien. OEC documented debts of $458,251 for freight and related charges due on containers in OEC’s possession and $994,705 for freight and related charges on goods for which OEC had previously provided services. The estimated value of WIs’ goods in OEC’s possession was $1,926,363. WI filed an adversary proceeding, seeking release of the goods. The bankruptcy court ruled in favor of WI, citing 11 U.S.C. 542. The district court affirmed, holding that OEC did not possess a valid maritime lien on Pre-petition Goods. The Third Circuit reversed, noting the strong presumption that OEC did not waive its maritime liens on the Prepetition Goods, the clear documentation that the parties intended such liens to survive delivery, the familiar principle that a maritime lien may attach to property substituted for the original object of the lien, and the parties’ general freedom to modify or extend existing liens by contract. View "In re: World Imports LTD" on Justia Law