Third party logistics provider C.H. Robinson was hit by a $23.8 million damages award from an Illinois jury as a result of a fatal accident caused by a trucking company it hired to haul the load, according to investment bank Stifel Nicolaus.
The award stems from a 2004 accident when Utah-based Toad L Dragonfly Express, hired by C.H. Robinson to haul a load of potatoes, was involved in a dual-fatality incident. The trucking company is no longer in business, according to Stifel Nicolaus, and the driver was reported to have been driving on a suspended license with falsified log books.
The jury found C.H. Robinson to be vicariously liable, a form of secondary liability in which the motor carrier was considered part of the $8.6 billion brokerage company instead of an independent contractor. Stifel Nicolaus said C.H. Robinson is insured with a $5 million deductible, the amount it would be required to pay if the damages stand.
“This was a tragic accident which resulted in some very real losses to the families of those involved. The driver of the truck, and the carrier for whom the driver was working, have admitted that they were negligent and that they are responsible for the damages caused by their actions,” said CHR spokeswoman Angie Freeman.
“We do not believe that the facts of this case or the law support holding C.H. Robinson liable for the carrier’s and driver’s negligence, and we are disappointed with the jury's decision and the damages awarded. There have been no allegations that C.H. Robinson was negligent or that our actions were unsafe. We will continue to pursue relief from the verdict through all available legal means,” Freeman said.