New Jersey is the latest in a growing list of U.S. states to pursue anti-indemnification laws that can protect trucking companies from unfair liability contracts.
According to U.S. trade, media two identical bills by Sen. Peter Barnes and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano are making their way up the legislative ladder in New Jersey. The bills effectively take the air out of indemnification clauses shippers set up in trucking contracts to exempt them from any liability arising from the shipment – even if the shipper’s own negligence, actions or omissions may have caused or contributed to an incident.
For example, Barnes’ bill states:
“This bill makes void and unenforceable any provision in a motor carrier transportation contract (contract) that indemnifies, defends, or holds harmless the promisee to a contract from liability for loss or damage resulting from the negligence, intentional acts, or omissions of the promisee. For the purposes of the bill, “motor carrier transportation contract” means a contract, agreement, or understanding concerning: (1) the transportation of property for compensation or hire by a motor carrier; (2) the entrance on property by a motor carrier for the purpose of loading, unloading, or transporting property for compensation or hire; or (3) a service incidental to the transportation of property for compensation or hire by a motor carrier, or the entrance on property by a motor carrier for the purpose of loading, unloading, or transporting property for compensation or hire, including, but not limited to, the storage of property.
More than 30 U.S. states have so adopted anti-indemnification laws.
While less common than the US, the presence of indemnity clauses in transportation contracts exist in Canada and continue to expand, provided impetus for the need of anti-indemnification legislation in Canada as well.
OTA and CTA continue to monitor the presence and use of such clauses in Canada, and call upon governments to follow suit and amend the provincial and federal statutes and regulations in order to similarly annul clauses in freight contracts which indemnify shippers/3PLs from liability for their own negligence.
Barnes’ bill, S1380, awaits consideration in the Senate Transportation Committee. Quijano’s bill, A3282, is in the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee.