Posted on / by The Trucking Alliance

Why Interstate Commerce Claims Belong in Federal Court

Recent interstate commerce claims have resulted in excessive damages and inconsistent rulings against transportation companies in state courts. The massive damages awarded are often unrelated to the fault of the company or driver, leading to skyrocketing insurance premiums and the risk of driving smaller operators out of business.

To curb this trend, advocates propose that such claims be filed in federal court, ensuring uniformity and consistency in the legal process.

The need for such legislation is evident in the alarming rise of large payouts, with average jury awards against transportation companies soaring. Although the number of these results has decreased slightly in recent years, the frequency of cases with verdicts over $1 million has increased significantly.

The transportation industry is the backbone of the economy, ensuring the flow of goods and materials vital for everyday life, as exemplified during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the trucking industry aims to protect its workers, small businesses, and the overall economic standing in the United States, the proposal to hear interstate commerce claims in federal court plays a crucial role in continuing smooth function and stability for these businesses.

Protecting the transportation and logistics industry from excessive damages also prevents increased costs for the public and protects the livelihoods of millions of workers and small businesses.

Moreover, legislation around hearing interstate claims in federal court upholds Congress’s mandate to enable injured parties to recover costs from large truck accidents, preserving fairness and justice in the legal system. It also establishes consistency and fairness by advocating for federal jurisdiction in claims related to interstate commerce, benefiting all stakeholders in the transportation sector.

Congress should leverage its authority under the Commerce Clause to enact legislation around this change. Extending federal jurisdiction to claims involving individuals and companies operating in interstate commerce provides a comprehensive solution to the multifaceted challenges facing the transportation industry, ensuring its resilience in the years to come.