AME, Inc. v. Consolidated Freightways

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AME, Inc. v. Consolidated Freightways
1989 OK CIV APP 57
783 P.2d 499
60 OBJ 3072
Case Number: 70923
Decided: 09/05/1989


Appeal from the District Court of Tulsa County; Deborah C. Shallcross, Trial Judge.

¶0 This is a case in which the shipper prevailed against an interstate carrier in an action pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 11707 (1982), to recover for goods damaged during interstate shipment. The carrier appeals from the imposition of attorney fees under 12 O.S. 1981 § 940 , which it asserts is preempted by the federal statute.


Jeffrey A. Fleischhauer, Ross & Associates, Broken Arrow, for appellee.
Martin E. Wyatt, Tulsa, for appellant.

REIF, Judge.

¶1 Interstate carrier, Consolidated Freightways, appeals the award of attorney fees to the shipper, AME, Incorporated, following a non-jury trial and judgment in favor of AME. Carrier points out that this action was pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 11707 (1982), governing a carrier's liability for goods damaged during an interstate shipment, and stresses that this federal statute is silent concerning recovery of attorney fees. Carrier contends that section 11707 preempts state law on all issues of a carrier's liability and argues the trial court erred in applying 12 O.S. 1981 § 940 , authorizing reasonable attorney fees in "any civil action to recover damages for negligent or willful injury to property."

¶2 The trial court followed the majority rule set forth in Troute v. Aero Mayflower Transit Co., 78 Or. App. 564, 718 P.2d 745 (1986), that section 11707 does not preempt or preclude an award of attorney fees under appropriate state statutes. We agree that Troute correctly analyzes and resolves this issue and hold that attorney fees are properly awarded pursuant to 12 O.S. 1981 § 940 , in suits under 49 U.S.C. § 11707 (1982), for goods damaged in the course of an interstate shipment.

¶3 Given the stipulation that the services and charges of AME's counsel were "reasonable," we also find no error in the amount of the award, $6,881.25, simply because it exceeds the amount of the judgment, $5,123.02.


¶5 BRIGHTMIRE, V.C.J., and STUBBLEFIELD, J., concur.