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Norfolk Southern Railway Co. v. Kirby

Docket No.: 02-1028
Certiorari Granted: Jan 9 2004
Argued: October 6, 2004
Decided: November 9, 2004

Topics:

Economic Activity, Nongovernmental Liability, Article I

PartyNames: Norfolk Southern Railway Company v. James N. Kirby, Pty Ltd., dba Kirby Engineering, and Allianz Australia Insurance Limited
Petitioner: Norfolk Southern Railway Company
Respondent: James N. Kirby, Pty Ltd., dba Kirby Engineering, and Allianz Australia Insurance Limited

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
Citation: 300 F3d 1300
Supreme Court Docket

Norfolk Southern Railway Company
v.
James N. Kirby, Pty Ltd., dba Kirby Engineering, and Allianz Australia Insurance Limited
543 U.S. 14 (2004)
Question Presented:

1. Whether a cargo owner that contracts with a freight forwarder for transportation of goods to a destination in the United States is bound by the contracts that the freight forwarder makes with carriers to provide that transportation.2. Whether federal maritime law requires that terms of a bill of lading extending liability limitations under the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act ("COGSA"), 46 U.S.C. app. ยงยง 1300-1315, to "independent contractors" used to perform the contract of transportation must be narrowly construed to cover only those independent contractors in privity of contract with the bill's issuer .

Question:

Did federal law govern the interpretation of the ICC and Hamburg Sud bills of lading (contracts)? 2. Was Norfolk entitled to the protection of the liability limitations in both bills?

Note:

HERN RWY. CO. V. KIRBY PTY ORDER OF 09/24/2004: The parties are directed to file supplemental briefs addressing the following question: "Does federal or state substantive law govern the questions presented?

Norfolk Southern Railway Co. v. Kirby
ORAL ARGUMENT

October 6, 2004

Holding: reversed and remanded
Decision: Decision: 9 votes for Norfolk Southern Railway Co., 0 vote(s) against
Vote: 9-0
Opinion By:
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