that Fredrickson would charge Fortunoff in consideration for transportation services. Id. ¶ 9. On or about March 9, 2001, Fortunoff presented damages claims to Peerless in connection with services provided by Fredrickson that it contended were covered under the insurance policy and the BMC-32 Endorsement. Id. ¶¶ 10-11. There is no dispute that Fredrickson, although liable, is insolvent and that Peerless has denied liability. Id. ¶¶ 13-15.
The controlling statute and regulation (referenced as 49 C.F.R. § 387.303(c) and 387.313) requires any insurance company that issues a cargo liability policy to issue a BMC-32 Endorsement to the policy. In this case, Defendant issued a cargo liability policy to Fredrickson which covered damage to property while Fredrickson performed transportation services, as a common carrier, for its customers and annexed the BMC-32 Endorsement. The Endorsement provided that the [insurance] company pay for property damage "`belonging to such shipper or consignee, and coming into the possession of the insured [motor carrier] in connection with such transportation service. . . .'" Cmplt. ¶ 7 (quoting BMC-32 Endorsement). Fortunoff alleges that Peerless's denial of liability constitutes a breach of its obligations under the Endorsement and seeks damages of $13,249.42. Cmplt. ¶¶ 17-18.
A district court may properly grant summary judgment only "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 judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The burden of proof is on the moving party to show that there is no genuine issue of material fact, Gallo v. Prudential Residential Servs., L.P., 22 F.3d 1219, 1223 (2d Cir. 1994) (citing Heyman v. Commerce & Indus. Ins. Co., 524 F.2d 1317, 1320 (2d Cir. 1975)), and "all ambiguities must be resolved and all inferences drawn in favor of the party against whom summary judgment is sought." Id. (citing Eastway Constr. Corp. v. City of New York, 762 F.2d 243, 249 (2d Cir. 1985)); see also Hayes v. New York City Dept. of Corrs., 84 F.3d 614, 619 (2d Cir. 1996). "Factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986) (citing 10A Charles A. Wright, Arthur R. Miller, & Mary Kay Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2725, at 93-95 (1983)).
A party opposing a motion for summary judgment "may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his pleading, but . . . must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505 (quoting First Nat'l Bank v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253, 288-89, 88 S.Ct. 1575, 20 L.Ed.2d 569 (1968)). Under the law of the Second Circuit, "when no rational jury could find in favor of the nonmoving party because the evidence is so slight, there is no genuine issue of material fact and a grant of summary judgment is proper." Gallo, 22 F.3d at 1224 (citing Dister v. Continental Group, Inc., 859 F.2d 1108, 1114 (2d Cir. 1988)). Mere conclusory allegations, speculation or conjecture will not avail a party opposing summary judgment. Kulak v. City of New York, 88 F.3d 63, 71 (2d Cir. 1996). It is within this framework that the Court addresses the present summary judgment motions.
Defendant has moved for summary judgment arguing that the BMC-32 Endorsement only gave rise to liability where Fredrickson was acting as a common carrier and that, because the Transportation Agreement between Fredrickson and Plaintiff provided that Fredrickson was acting in its capacity as a contract carrier, Defendant has no liability here. The Defendant recognizes that the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act ("ICCTA") abolished the distinction between common and contract carriers. Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment at 7. However, Defendant asserts that, pursuant to the "Transition Rule," 49 U.S.C. § 13902(d), a distinction between the types of carriers continues to exist and the BMC-32 Endorsement continues, therefore, to apply only to common carriers. See Id.
Plaintiff has moved for summary judgment arguing that ICCTA abolished the difference between common carriers and contract carriers. As such, Plaintiff asserts that the insurance requirements for both common and contract carriers are now the same; the BMC-32 Endorsement applies to all carriage contracts, and Defendant is thereby liable to Plaintiff pursuant to the BMC-32 Endorsement. Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment at 11 ("Pl.'s Mem."). Plaintiff argues, in the alternative, that assuming the insurance requirements are still different for common and contract carriers, Fredrickson contracted with Plaintiff and agreed to accept liability as a common carrier. Thus, the BMC-32 Endorsement, which allegedly applies only to common carriers, would make Defendant liable to Plaintiff. Pl.'s Mem. at 19.
No material issues of fact exist in this case. Therefore, this case is ripe for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth herein, the Court hereby GRANTS summary judgment in favor of the Plaintiff.
Whether Congress intended to eliminate all distinctions between common and contract carriers, specifically here, in respect to insurance requirements, is a question of law properly determined by the Court on a motion for summary judgment. In determining the meaning of a statute, the Court must first look to the plain language of the statute, and, if it is clear on its face, the analysis stops there. See Blum v. Stenson, 465 U.S. 886, 896, 104 S.Ct. 1541, 1548, 79 L.Ed.2d 891 (1984) ("Where, as here, resolution of a question of federal law turns on a statute and the intention of Congress, we look first to the statutory language and then to the legislative history if the statutory language is unclear."). With this general principle in mind, the Court will look to the statute's language for guidance.
The plain language of ICCTA abolishes the distinction between common carriers and contract carriers. The ICCTA defines motor carrier and contract carriage as follows:
(3) Carrier. The term "carrier" means a motor
carrier, a water carrier, and a freight forwarder.
(4) Contract carriage. The term "contract carriage"
(A) for transportation provided before January 1,
1996, service provided pursuant to a permit issued
under section 10923, as in effect on December 31,
(B) for transportation provided after December 31,
1995 service provided under an agreement entered into
under section 14101(b).
(12) Motor Carrier. The term "motor carrier" means a
person providing motor vehicle transportation for
49 U.S.C. § 13102(3), (4), and (12).
Further, ICCTA provides,
§ 13902. Registration of motor carriers
(a) Motor Carrier Generally.
(1) In general. Except as provided in this section,
the Secretary shall register a person to provide
transportation . . . as a motor carrier if the
Secretary finds that the person is willing and able
to comply with —
(A) this part and the applicable regulations of the
Secretary and the Board;
(B) any safety regulations imposed by the Secretary
and the safety fitness requirements established by
the Secretary under section 31144; and
(C) the minimum financial responsibility requirements
established by the Secretary pursuant to sections
13906 and 31138.
49 U.S.C. § 13902(a)(1).
Congress' intent to abolish the distinction between common and contract carriers is also made clear in its legislative history. "The Committee does not intend, through the elimination of the distinction, to expand financial reporting to those carriers that are currently exempt through this technical change in definition." H.R. REP. NO. 104-311, at 119 (1995) (emphasis added).
It is clear from the facts of this case that, pursuant to the new statutory definitions, Fredrickson was a motor carrier providing contract carriage services. Fredrickson was a motor carrier because he was a person providing motor vehicle transportation of Fortunoff's goods for compensation. Fredrickson provided these services to Fortunoff after January 1, 1996 and pursuant to a contract under section 14101(b), which provides:
A carrier providing transportation or service . . .
may enter into a contract with a shipper . . . to
provide specified services under specified rates and
conditions. . . . The parties may not waive the
provisions governing registration, insurance, or
49 U.S.C. § 14101(b).