Jose v. Transmaritime, Inc., No. 13–40147.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtW. EUGENE DAVIS
Citation738 F.3d 703
PartiesDISTRIBUIDORA MARI JOSE, S.A. DE C.V., Plaintiff–Appellee, v. TRANSMARITIME, INC., Defendant–Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 13–40147.
Decision Date30 December 2013

738 F.3d 703

DISTRIBUIDORA MARI JOSE, S.A. DE C.V., Plaintiff–Appellee,
v.
TRANSMARITIME, INC., Defendant–Appellant.

No. 13–40147.

United States Court of Appeals,
Fifth Circuit.

Dec. 30, 2013.


[738 F.3d 704]


Guillermo Gerardo Alarcon, J. Alberto Alarcon, Esq., Hall, Quintanilla & Alarcon, Laredo, TX, for Plaintiff–Appellee.

Marcel C. Notzon, III, Notzon Law Firm, Craig A. Lawrence, Laredo, TX, for Defendant–Appellant.


Appeals from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
Before DAVIS, GARZA, and DENNIS, Circuit Judges.

W. EUGENE DAVIS, Circuit Judge.

Defendant, Transmaritime, Inc. (“Transmaritime”), appeals from the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff, Distribuidora Mari Jose, S.A. de C.V. (“Mari Jose”). Mari Jose sued for the loss of its goods in transit under the Carmack Amendment to the Interstate Commerce Act, 49 U.S.C. § 14706. For the reasons set forth below, we reverse.

I.

This case involves the apparent disappearance of nearly 2,000 boxes of Christmas lights while in transit from China to Mexico. Mari Jose is a Mexican corporation engaged in the import and export business. Transmaritime is a logistics company that provides services related to the shipping and distribution of cargo.

In October 2008, Mari Jose purchased 11,490 boxes of Christmas lights from a Chinese manufacturer to be shipped via ocean freighter to Lazaro Cardenas, a port city on the western coast of Mexico. Mari Jose originally planned to transport the lights into the interior of Mexico from the port at Lazaro Cardenas. However, after the lights arrived at the port, it was unable to do so. As a result, the lights were held in a bonded warehouse in Lazaro Cardenas while Mari Jose considered alternative options to transport the lights to their final destination in Mexico. Eventually, Mari Jose chose to ship the lights by sea from Lazaro Cardenas to Long Beach, California, and then by automobile to Laredo, Texas. From Laredo, the lights would be imported into Mexico by truck. Mari Jose then shipped the lights from Lazaro Cardenas to Long Beach via a vessel owned and operated by Compania Chilena de Navegacion Interoccania S.A. (“Chilena”). Mari Jose hired Transmaritime to receive the lights at the

[738 F.3d 705]

port in Long Beach and transport them “in bond” to Laredo, and then, finally, into Mexico.1

On December 22, 2008, Chilena issued bills of lading for the shipment of all 11,490 boxes of Christmas lights in fifteen ocean containers to Long Beach, to terminate upon delivery to the consignee. The bills name Transmaritime as consignee for the shipment. The lights arrived in Long Beach on January 10, 2009, where they were held in the custody of United States Customs and Border Protection (“Customs”). In order to secure the release of the lights from Customs, Transmaritime submitted several copies of Customs Form 7512 (“Form 7512”), which included a description of the cargo to be released. It did not issue its own bills of lading. Transmaritime submitted the Form 7512s to Customs on January 13, 2009, indicating it would receive a total of 11,490 boxes of Christmas lights.

After Customs released the lights, a company hired by Transmaritime transferred fifteen ocean freight containers packed with the lights from the port facility in Long Beach to a container freight station. The containers arrived at the freight station on January 20 and 21, 2009—eight days after submitting the Form 7512s. Upon reaching the freight station, the containers were unsealed, inventoried, loaded, and resealed for truck transport to Laredo. After the boxes were inventoried, Transmaritime discovered a discrepancy between the number of boxes listed on Chilena's ocean bill of lading (11,490), and the actual number of boxes it counted in the fifteen containers at the freight station (9,578). A total of 1,912 boxes were missing.

Transmaritime took two courses of action upon discovering the shortage. First, it continued the shipment of the lights to Laredo by engaging several motor carriers, each of which issued separate bills of lading that reflected, in total, the reduced number of boxes (9,578). It did not notify Mari Jose of the shortage at this time. Second, Transmaritime filed a Manifest Discrepancy Report (“MDR”) with Customs, which is required for any discrepancy on bonded merchandise arriving in the United States.2 Customs allowed Transmaritime to amend its Form 7512s to reflect the lower number of boxes without imposing a penalty. The lights began to arrive at Transmaritime's facility in Laredo on January 22, 2009, and the shortage was confirmed. Mari Jose was notified of the shortage in early February. From April 3–8, 2009, the lights were finally released from Transmaritime's facility in Laredo.

On December 2, 2010, Mari Jose filed suit against Transmaritime for the loss of the 1,912 boxes of Christmas lights. Mari Jose subsequently filed a motion for summary judgment on its claim against Transmaritime under the Carmack Amendment, which the district court granted on October 3, 2012. Transmaritime appeals.

II.

The district court possessed subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and we have jurisdiction over this timely appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 1291.

[738 F.3d 706]

III.

“We review de novo a district court's grant of summary judgment, applying the same standard as the district court.” 3 Summary judgment is appropriate “if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” 4 “If the moving party meets the initial burden of showing there is no genuine issue of material fact, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to produce evidence or designate specific facts showing the existence of a genuine issue for trial.” 5 A court must consider the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-movant,6 and any reasonable inferences are to be drawn in favor of that party.7

IV.

The Carmack Amendment establishes the standard for imposing liability on a motor carrier for the actual loss or injury to property transported through interstate commerce.8 Generally, the Carmack Amendment preempts state law claims arising out of the shipment of goods by interstate carriers.9 The purpose of the Amendment is to “establish a uniform federal guidelines designed in part to remove the uncertainty surrounding a carrier's liability when damage occurs to a shipper's interstate shipment.” 10 In addition, the Amendment “relieves[s] shippers of the burden of searching out a particular negligent carrier from among the often numerous carriers handling an interstate shipment of goods.” 11 It does this...

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104 practice notes
  • Note Inv. Grp., Inc. v. Assocs. First Capital Corp., CIVIL ACTION NO. 1:12–CV–419
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • March 16, 2015
    ...Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e) ); Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256, 106 S.Ct. 2505 ; Distribuidora Mari Jose, S.A. de C.V. v. Transmaritime, Inc., 738 F.3d 703, 706 (5th Cir.2013) ; Bayle, 615 F.3d at 355. “[T]he court must review the record ‘taken as a whole.’ ” Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., ......
  • Umg Recordings, Inc. v. Grande Commc'ns Networks, LLC, No. 1:17-CV-365-DAE
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    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • March 15, 2019
    ...specific facts that establish the existence of a genuine issue for trial. Distribuidora Mari Jose, S.A. de C.V. v. Transmaritime, Inc., 738 F.3d 703, 706 (5th Cir. 2013) (quoting Allen v. Rapides Parish Sch. Bd., 204 F.3d 619, 621 (5th Cir. 2000) ). "Where the record taken as a whole could ......
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    ...v. Ruston La. Hosp. Co., L.L.C. , 932 F.3d 353, 356 (5th Cir. 2019) ; Distribuidora Mari Jose, S.A. de C.V. v. Transmaritime, Inc. , 738 F.3d 703, 706 (5th Cir. 2013). The court "should review the record as a whole." Black v. Pan Am. Labs., LLC , 646 F.3d 254, 273 (5th Cir. 2011) (quoting R......
  • Parrish v. Premier Directional Drilling, L.P., No. 5:16–CV–417–DAE
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • November 27, 2017
    ...specific facts that establish the existence of a genuine issue for trial. Distribuidora Mari Jose, S.A. de C.V. v. Transmaritime, Inc., 738 F.3d 703, 706 (5th Cir. 2013) (quoting Allen v. Rapides Parish Sch. Bd., 204 F.3d 619, 621 (5th Cir. 2000) ). "Where the record taken as a whole could ......
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103 cases
  • Note Inv. Grp., Inc. v. Assocs. First Capital Corp., CIVIL ACTION NO. 1:12–CV–419
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • March 16, 2015
    ...Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e) ); Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256, 106 S.Ct. 2505 ; Distribuidora Mari Jose, S.A. de C.V. v. Transmaritime, Inc., 738 F.3d 703, 706 (5th Cir.2013) ; Bayle, 615 F.3d at 355. “[T]he court must review the record ‘taken as a whole.’ ” Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., ......
  • Umg Recordings, Inc. v. Grande Commc'ns Networks, LLC, No. 1:17-CV-365-DAE
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • March 15, 2019
    ...specific facts that establish the existence of a genuine issue for trial. Distribuidora Mari Jose, S.A. de C.V. v. Transmaritime, Inc., 738 F.3d 703, 706 (5th Cir. 2013) (quoting Allen v. Rapides Parish Sch. Bd., 204 F.3d 619, 621 (5th Cir. 2000) ). "Where the record taken as a whole could ......
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    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • December 16, 2019
    ...v. Ruston La. Hosp. Co., L.L.C. , 932 F.3d 353, 356 (5th Cir. 2019) ; Distribuidora Mari Jose, S.A. de C.V. v. Transmaritime, Inc. , 738 F.3d 703, 706 (5th Cir. 2013). The court "should review the record as a whole." Black v. Pan Am. Labs., LLC , 646 F.3d 254, 273 (5th Cir. 2011) (quoting R......
  • Parrish v. Premier Directional Drilling, L.P., No. 5:16–CV–417–DAE
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • November 27, 2017
    ...specific facts that establish the existence of a genuine issue for trial. Distribuidora Mari Jose, S.A. de C.V. v. Transmaritime, Inc., 738 F.3d 703, 706 (5th Cir. 2013) (quoting Allen v. Rapides Parish Sch. Bd., 204 F.3d 619, 621 (5th Cir. 2000) ). "Where the record taken as a whole could ......
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