[USC05] 49 USC Ch. 147: ENFORCEMENT; INVESTIGATIONS; RIGHTS; REMEDIES
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TEXT OF PART V OF SUBTITLE A (3001 ET SEQ.), EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2022, CURRENTLY SET OUT AS A PREVIEW

49 USC Ch. 147: ENFORCEMENT; INVESTIGATIONS; RIGHTS; REMEDIES
From Title 49—TRANSPORTATIONSUBTITLE IV—INTERSTATE TRANSPORTATIONPART B—MOTOR CARRIERS, WATER CARRIERS, BROKERS, AND FREIGHT FORWARDERS

CHAPTER 147—ENFORCEMENT; INVESTIGATIONS; RIGHTS; REMEDIES

Sec.
14701.
General authority.
14702.
Enforcement by the regulatory authority.
14703.
Enforcement by the Attorney General.
14704.
Rights and remedies of persons injured by carriers or brokers.
14705.
Limitation on actions by and against carriers.
14706.
Liability of carriers under receipts and bills of lading.
14707.
Private enforcement of registration requirement.
14708.
Dispute settlement program for household goods carriers.
14709.
Tariff reconciliation rules for motor carriers of property.
14710.
Enforcement of Federal laws and regulations with respect to transportation of household goods.
14711.
Enforcement by State attorneys general.

        

Amendments

2005Pub. L. 109–59, title IV, §4206(c), Aug. 10, 2005, 119 Stat. 1757, added items 14710 and 14711.

§14701. General authority

(a) Investigations.—The Secretary or the Board, as applicable, may begin an investigation under this part on the Secretary's or the Board's own initiative or on complaint. If the Secretary or Board, as applicable, finds that a carrier or broker is violating this part, the Secretary or Board, as applicable, shall take appropriate action to compel compliance with this part. If the Secretary finds that a foreign motor carrier or foreign motor private carrier is violating chapter 139, the Secretary shall take appropriate action to compel compliance with that chapter. The Secretary or Board, as applicable, may take action under this subsection only after giving the carrier or broker notice of the investigation and an opportunity for a proceeding.

(b) Complaints.—A person, including a governmental authority, may file with the Secretary or Board, as applicable, a complaint about a violation of this part by a carrier providing, or broker for, transportation or service subject to jurisdiction under this part or a foreign motor carrier or foreign motor private carrier providing transportation registered under section 13902 of this title. The complaint must state the facts that are the subject of the violation. The Secretary or Board, as applicable, may dismiss a complaint that it determines does not state reasonable grounds for investigation and action.

(c) Deadline.—A formal investigative proceeding begun by the Secretary or Board under subsection (a) of this section is dismissed automatically unless it is concluded with administrative finality by the end of the 3d year after the date on which it was begun.

(Added Pub. L. 104–88, title I, §103, Dec. 29, 1995, 109 Stat. 904.)

Prior Provisions

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section 11701 of this title prior to the general amendment of this subtitle by Pub. L. 104–88, §102(a).

Effective Date

Section effective Jan. 1, 1996, except as otherwise provided in Pub. L. 104–88, see section 2 of Pub. L. 104–88, set out as a note under section 1301 of this title.

Consumer Complaint Information

Pub. L. 109–59, title IV, §4214, Aug. 10, 2005, 119 Stat. 1759, provided that:

"(a) Establishment of System.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act [Aug. 10, 2005], the Secretary shall—

"(1) establish (A) a system for filing and logging consumer complaints relating to household goods motor carriers for the purpose of compiling or linking complaint information gathered by the Department of Transportation and the States with regard to such carriers, (B) a database of the complaints, and (C) a procedure for the public to have access, subject to section 552(a) of title 5, United States Code, to aggregated information and for carriers to challenge duplicate or fraudulent information in the database;

"(2) issue regulations requiring each motor carrier of household goods to submit on a quarterly basis a report summarizing—

"(A) the number of shipments that originate and are delivered for individual shippers during the reporting period by the carrier;

"(B) the number and general category of complaints lodged by consumers with the carrier;

"(C) the number of claims filed with the carrier for loss and damage in excess of $500;

"(D) the number of such claims resolved during the reporting period;

"(E) the number of such claims declined in the reporting period; and

"(F) the number of such claims that are pending at the close of the reporting period; and

"(3) develop a procedure to forward a complaint, including the motor carrier bill of lading number, if known, related to the complaint to a motor carrier named in such complaint and to an appropriate State authority (as defined in section 14710(d) of title 49, United States Code) in the State in which the complainant resides.

"(b) Use of Information.—The Secretary shall consider information in the data base established under subsection (a) in its household goods compliance and enforcement program."

[For definitions of "carrier", "household goods", "motor carrier", and "Secretary" as used in section 4214 of Pub. L. 109–59, set out above, see section 4202(a) of Pub. L. 109–59, set out as a note under section 13102 of this title.]

§14702. Enforcement by the regulatory authority

(a) In General.—The Secretary or the Board, as applicable, may bring a civil action—

(1) to enforce section 14103 of this title; or

(2) to enforce this part, or a regulation or order of the Secretary or Board, as applicable, when violated by a carrier or broker providing transportation or service subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I or III of chapter 135 of this title or by a foreign motor carrier or foreign motor private carrier providing transportation registered under section 13902 of this title.


(b) Venue.—In a civil action under subsection (a)(2) of this section—

(1) trial is in the judicial district in which the carrier, foreign motor carrier, foreign motor private carrier, or broker operates;

(2) process may be served without regard to the territorial limits of the district or of the State in which the action is instituted; and

(3) a person participating with a carrier or broker in a violation may be joined in the civil action without regard to the residence of the person.


(c) Standing.—The Board, through its own attorneys, may bring or participate in any civil action involving motor carrier undercharges.

(Added Pub. L. 104–88, title I, §103, Dec. 29, 1995, 109 Stat. 905.)

Prior Provisions

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section 11702 of this title prior to the general amendment of this subtitle by Pub. L. 104–88, §102(a).

Effective Date

Section effective Jan. 1, 1996, except as otherwise provided in Pub. L. 104–88, see section 2 of Pub. L. 104–88, set out as a note under section 1301 of this title.

§14703. Enforcement by the Attorney General

The Attorney General may, and on request of either the Secretary or the Board shall, bring court proceedings—

(1) to enforce this part or a regulation or order of the Secretary or Board or terms of registration under this part; and

(2) to prosecute a person violating this part or a regulation or order of the Secretary or Board or term of registration under this part.

(Added Pub. L. 104–88, title I, §103, Dec. 29, 1995, 109 Stat. 905.)

Prior Provisions

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section 11703 of this title prior to the general amendment of this subtitle by Pub. L. 104–88, §102(a).

Effective Date

Section effective Jan. 1, 1996, except as otherwise provided in Pub. L. 104–88, see section 2 of Pub. L. 104–88, set out as a note under section 1301 of this title.

§14704. Rights and remedies of persons injured by carriers or brokers

(a) In General.—

(1) Enforcement of order.—A person injured because a carrier or broker providing transportation or service subject to jurisdiction under chapter 135 does not obey an order of the Secretary or the Board, as applicable, under this part, except an order for the payment of money, may bring a civil action to enforce that order under this subsection. A person may bring a civil action for injunctive relief for violations of sections 14102, 14103, and 14915(c).

(2) Damages for violations.—A carrier or broker providing transportation or service subject to jurisdiction under chapter 135 is liable for damages sustained by a person as a result of an act or omission of that carrier or broker in violation of this part.


(b) Liability and Damages for Exceeding Tariff Rate.—A carrier providing transportation or service subject to jurisdiction under chapter 135 is liable to a person for amounts charged that exceed the applicable rate for transportation or service contained in a tariff in effect under section 13702.

(c) Election.—

(1) Complaint to dot or board; civil action.—A person may file a complaint with the Board or the Secretary, as applicable, under section 14701(b) or bring a civil action under subsection (b) to enforce liability against a carrier or broker providing transportation or service subject to jurisdiction under chapter 135.

(2) Order of dot or board.—

(A) In general.—When the Board or Secretary, as applicable, makes an award under subsection (b) of this section, the Board or Secretary, as applicable, shall order the carrier to pay the amount awarded by a specific date. The Board or Secretary, as applicable, may order a carrier or broker providing transportation or service subject to jurisdiction under chapter 135 to pay damages only when the proceeding is on complaint.

(B) Enforcement by civil action.—The person for whose benefit an order of the Board or Secretary requiring the payment of money is made may bring a civil action to enforce that order under this paragraph if the carrier or broker does not pay the amount awarded by the date payment was ordered to be made.


(d) Procedure.—

(1) In general.—When a person begins a civil action under subsection (b) of this section to enforce an order of the Board or Secretary requiring the payment of damages by a carrier or broker providing transportation or service subject to jurisdiction under chapter 135 of this title, the text of the order of the Board or Secretary must be included in the complaint. In addition to the district courts of the United States, a State court of general jurisdiction having jurisdiction of the parties has jurisdiction to enforce an order under this paragraph. The findings and order of the Board or Secretary are competent evidence of the facts stated in them. Trial in a civil action brought in a district court of the United States under this paragraph is in the judicial district in which the plaintiff resides or in which the principal operating office of the carrier or broker is located. In a civil action under this paragraph, the plaintiff is liable for only those costs that accrue on an appeal taken by the plaintiff.

(2) Parties.—All parties in whose favor the award was made may be joined as plaintiffs in a civil action brought in a district court of the United States under this subsection and all the carriers that are parties to the order awarding damages may be joined as defendants. Trial in the action is in the judicial district in which any one of the plaintiffs could bring the action against any one of the defendants. Process may be served on a defendant at its principal operating office when that defendant is not in the district in which the action is brought. A judgment ordering recovery may be made in favor of any of those plaintiffs against the defendant found to be liable to that plaintiff.


(e) Attorney's Fees.—The district court shall award a reasonable attorney's fee under this section. The district court shall tax and collect that fee as part of the costs of the action.

(Added Pub. L. 104–88, title I, §103, Dec. 29, 1995, 109 Stat. 905; amended Pub. L. 112–141, div. C, title II, §32922(a), July 6, 2012, 126 Stat. 828.)

Prior Provisions

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section 11705 of this title prior to the general amendment of this subtitle by Pub. L. 104–88, §102(a).

Amendments

2012—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 112–141 substituted ", 14103, and 14915(c)" for "and 14103".

Effective Date of 2012 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 112–141 effective Oct. 1, 2012, see section 3(a) of Pub. L. 112–141, set out as an Effective and Termination Dates of 2012 Amendment note under section 101 of Title 23, Highways.

Effective Date

Section effective Jan. 1, 1996, except as otherwise provided in Pub. L. 104–88, see section 2 of Pub. L. 104–88, set out as a note under section 1301 of this title.

§14705. Limitation on actions by and against carriers

(a) In General.—A carrier providing transportation or service subject to jurisdiction under chapter 135 must begin a civil action to recover charges for transportation or service provided by the carrier within 18 months after the claim accrues.

(b) Overcharges.—A person must begin a civil action to recover overcharges within 18 months after the claim accrues. If the claim is against a carrier providing transportation subject to jurisdiction under chapter 135 and an election to file a complaint with the Board or Secretary, as applicable, is made under section 14704(c)(1), the complaint must be filed within 3 years after the claim accrues.

(c) Damages.—A person must file a complaint with the Board or Secretary, as applicable, to recover damages under section 14704(b) within 2 years after the claim accrues.

(d) Extensions.—The limitation periods under subsection (b) of this section are extended for 6 months from the time written notice is given to the claimant by the carrier of disallowance of any part of the claim specified in the notice if a written claim is given to the carrier within those limitation periods. The limitation periods under subsections (b) and (c) of this section are extended for 90 days from the time the carrier begins a civil action under subsection (a) to recover charges related to the same transportation or service, or collects (without beginning a civil action under that subsection) the charge for that transportation or service if that action is begun or collection is made within the appropriate period.

(e) Payment.—A person must begin a civil action to enforce an order of the Board or Secretary against a carrier within 1 year after the date of the order.

(f) Government Transportation.—This section applies to transportation for the United States Government. The time limitations under this section are extended, as related to transportation for or on behalf of the United States Government, for 3 years from the later of the date of—

(1) payment of the rate for the transportation or service involved;

(2) subsequent refund for overpayment of that rate; or

(3) deduction made under section 3726 of title 31.


(g) Accrual Date.—A claim related to a shipment of property accrues under this section on delivery or tender of delivery by the carrier.

(Added Pub. L. 104–88, title I, §103, Dec. 29, 1995, 109 Stat. 907.)

Prior Provisions

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section 11706 of this title prior to the general amendment of this subtitle by Pub. L. 104–88, §102(a).

Effective Date

Section effective Jan. 1, 1996, except as otherwise provided in Pub. L. 104–88, see section 2 of Pub. L. 104–88, set out as a note under section 1301 of this title.

§14706. Liability of carriers under receipts and bills of lading

(a) General Liability.—

(1) Motor carriers and freight forwarders.—A carrier providing transportation or service subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I or III of chapter 135 shall issue a receipt or bill of lading for property it receives for transportation under this part. That carrier and any other carrier that delivers the property and is providing transportation or service subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I or III of chapter 135 or chapter 105 are liable to the person entitled to recover under the receipt or bill of lading. The liability imposed under this paragraph is for the actual loss or injury to the property caused by (A) the receiving carrier, (B) the delivering carrier, or (C) another carrier over whose line or route the property is transported in the United States or from a place in the United States to a place in an adjacent foreign country when transported under a through bill of lading and, except in the case of a freight forwarder, applies to property reconsigned or diverted under a tariff under section 13702. Failure to issue a receipt or bill of lading does not affect the liability of a carrier. A delivering carrier is deemed to be the carrier performing the line-haul transportation nearest the destination but does not include a carrier providing only a switching service at the destination.

(2) Freight forwarder.—A freight forwarder is both the receiving and delivering carrier. When a freight forwarder provides service and uses a motor carrier providing transportation subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I of chapter 135 to receive property from a consignor, the motor carrier may execute the bill of lading or shipping receipt for the freight forwarder with its consent. With the consent of the freight forwarder, a motor carrier may deliver property for a freight forwarder on the freight forwarder's bill of lading, freight bill, or shipping receipt to the consignee named in it, and receipt for the property may be made on the freight forwarder's delivery receipt.


(b) Apportionment.—The carrier issuing the receipt or bill of lading under subsection (a) of this section or delivering the property for which the receipt or bill of lading was issued is entitled to recover from the carrier over whose line or route the loss or injury occurred the amount required to be paid to the owners of the property, as evidenced by a receipt, judgment, or transcript, and the amount of its expenses reasonably incurred in defending a civil action brought by that person.

(c) Special Rules.—

(1) Motor carriers.—

(A) Shipper waiver.—Subject to the provisions of subparagraph (B), a carrier providing transportation or service subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I or III of chapter 135 may, subject to the provisions of this chapter (including with respect to a motor carrier, the requirements of section 13710(a)), establish rates for the transportation of property (other than household goods described in section 13102(10)(A)) under which the liability of the carrier for such property is limited to a value established by written or electronic declaration of the shipper or by written agreement between the carrier and shipper if that value would be reasonable under the circumstances surrounding the transportation.

(B) Carrier notification.—If the motor carrier is not required to file its tariff with the Board, it shall provide under section 13710(a)(1) to the shipper, on request of the shipper, a written or electronic copy of the rate, classification, rules, and practices upon which any rate applicable to a shipment, or agreed to between the shipper and the carrier, is based. The copy provided by the carrier shall clearly state the dates of applicability of the rate, classification, rules, or practices.

(C) Prohibition against collective establishment.—No discussion, consideration, or approval as to rules to limit liability under this subsection may be undertaken by carriers acting under an agreement approved pursuant to section 13703.


(2) Water carriers.—If loss or injury to property occurs while it is in the custody of a water carrier, the liability of that carrier is determined by its bill of lading and the law applicable to water transportation. The liability of the initial or delivering carrier is the same as the liability of the water carrier.


(d) Civil Actions.—

(1) Against delivering carrier.—A civil action under this section may be brought against a delivering carrier in a district court of the United States or in a State court. Trial, if the action is brought in a district court of the United States is in a judicial district, and if in a State court, is in a State through which the defendant carrier operates.

(2) Against carrier responsible for loss.—A civil action under this section may be brought against the carrier alleged to have caused the loss or damage, in the judicial district in which such loss or damage is alleged to have occurred.

(3) Jurisdiction of courts.—A civil action under this section may be brought in a United States district court or in a State court.

(4) Judicial district defined.—In this section, "judicial district" means—

(A) in the case of a United States district court, a judicial district of the United States; and

(B) in the case of a State court, the applicable geographic area over which such court exercises jurisdiction.


(e) Minimum Period for Filing Claims.—

(1) In general.—A carrier may not provide by rule, contract, or otherwise, a period of less than 9 months for filing a claim against it under this section and a period of less than 2 years for bringing a civil action against it under this section. The period for bringing a civil action is computed from the date the carrier gives a person written notice that the carrier has disallowed any part of the claim specified in the notice.

(2) Special rules.—For the purposes of this subsection—

(A) an offer of compromise shall not constitute a disallowance of any part of the claim unless the carrier, in writing, informs the claimant that such part of the claim is disallowed and provides reasons for such disallowance; and

(B) communications received from a carrier's insurer shall not constitute a disallowance of any part of the claim unless the insurer, in writing, informs the claimant that such part of the claim is disallowed, provides reason for such disallowance, and informs the claimant that the insurer is acting on behalf of the carrier.


(f) Limiting Liability of Household Goods Carriers to Declared Value.—

(1) In general.—A carrier or group of carriers subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I or III of chapter 135 may petition the Board to modify, eliminate, or establish rates for the transportation of household goods under which the liability of the carrier for that property is limited to a value established by written declaration of the shipper or by a written agreement.

(2) Full value protection obligation.—Unless the carrier receives a waiver in writing under paragraph (3), a carrier's maximum liability for household goods that are lost, damaged, destroyed, or otherwise not delivered to the final destination is an amount equal to the replacement value of such goods, subject to a maximum amount equal to the declared value of the shipment and to rules issued by the Surface Transportation Board and applicable tariffs.

(3) Application of rates.—The released rates established by the Board under paragraph (1) (commonly known as "released rates") shall not apply to the transportation of household goods by a carrier unless the liability of the carrier for the full value of such household goods under paragraph (2) is waived, in writing, by the shipper.


(g) Modifications and Reforms.—

(1) Study.—The Secretary shall conduct a study to determine whether any modifications or reforms should be made to the loss and damage provisions of this section, including those related to limitation of liability by carriers.

(2) Factors to consider.—In conducting the study, the Secretary, at a minimum, shall consider—

(A) the efficient delivery of transportation services;

(B) international and intermodal harmony;

(C) the public interest; and

(D) the interest of carriers and shippers.


(3) Report.—Not later than 12 months after January 1, 1996, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the results of the study, together with any recommendations of the Secretary (including legislative recommendations) for implementing modifications or reforms identified by the Secretary as being appropriate.

(Added Pub. L. 104–88, title I, §103, Dec. 29, 1995, 109 Stat. 907; amended Pub. L. 104–287, §5(38), Oct. 11, 1996, 110 Stat. 3392; Pub. L. 109–59, title IV, §4207, Aug. 10, 2005, 119 Stat. 1757.)

Prior Provisions

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in sections 10730 and 11707 of this title prior to the general amendment of this subtitle by Pub. L. 104–88, §102(a).

Amendments

2005—Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 109–59 designated existing provisions as par. (1), inserted heading, and added pars. (2) and (3).

1996—Subsec. (g)(3). Pub. L. 104–287 substituted "January 1, 1996" for "the effective date of this section".

Effective Date

Section effective Jan. 1, 1996, except as otherwise provided in Pub. L. 104–88, see section 2 of Pub. L. 104–88, set out as a note under section 1301 of this title.

Review of Liability of Carriers

Pub. L. 109–59, title IV, §4215, Aug. 10, 2005, 119 Stat. 1760, provided that:

"(a) Review.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act [Aug. 10, 2005], the Surface Transportation Board shall complete a review of the current Federal regulations regarding the level of liability protection provided by motor carriers that provide transportation of household goods and revise such regulations, if necessary, to provide enhanced protection in the case of loss or damage.

"(b) Determinations.—The review required by subsection (a) shall include a determination of—

"(1) whether the current regulations provide adequate protection;

"(2) the benefits of purchase by a shipper of insurance to supplement the carrier's limitations on liability; and

"(3) whether there are abuses of the current regulations that leave the shipper unprotected in the event of loss and damage to a shipment of household goods."

[For definitions of "carrier", "household goods", "motor carrier", and "transportation" as used in section 4215 of Pub. L. 109–59, set out above, see section 4202(a) of Pub. L. 109–59, set out as a note under section 13102 of this title.]

§14707. Private enforcement of registration requirement

(a) In General.—If a person provides transportation by motor vehicle or service in clear violation of section 13901–13904 or 13906, a person injured by the transportation or service may bring a civil action to enforce any such section. In a civil action under this subsection, trial is in the judicial district in which the person who violated that section operates.

(b) Procedure.—A copy of the complaint in a civil action under subsection (a) shall be served on the Secretary and a certificate of service must appear in the complaint filed with the court. The Secretary may intervene in a civil action under subsection (a). The Secretary may notify the district court in which the action is pending that the Secretary intends to consider the matter that is the subject of the complaint in a proceeding before the Secretary. When that notice is filed, the court shall stay further action pending disposition of the proceeding before the Secretary.

(c) Attorney's Fees.—In a civil action under subsection (a), the court may determine the amount of and award a reasonable attorney's fee to the prevailing party. That fee is in addition to costs allowable under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

(Added Pub. L. 104–88, title I, §103, Dec. 29, 1995, 109 Stat. 910.)

References in Text

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, referred to in subsec. (c), are set out in the Appendix to Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.

Prior Provisions

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section 11708 of this title prior to the general amendment of this subtitle by Pub. L. 104–88, §102(a).

Effective Date

Section effective Jan. 1, 1996, except as otherwise provided in Pub. L. 104–88, see section 2 of Pub. L. 104–88, set out as a note under section 1301 of this title.

§14708. Dispute settlement program for household goods carriers

(a) Offering Shippers Arbitration.—As a condition of registration under section 13902 or 13903, a carrier providing transportation of household goods subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I or III of chapter 135 must agree to offer in accordance with this section to shippers of household goods arbitration as a means of settling disputes between such carriers and shippers of household goods concerning damage or loss to the household goods transported and to determine whether carrier charges, in addition to those collected at delivery, must be paid by shippers for transportation and services related to transportation of household goods.

(b) Arbitration Requirements.—

(1) Prevention of special advantage.—The arbitration that is offered must be designed to prevent a carrier from having any special advantage in any case in which the claimant resides or does business at a place distant from the carrier's principal or other place of business.

(2) Notice of arbitration procedure.—The carrier must provide the shipper an adequate notice of the availability of neutral arbitration, including a concise easy-to-read, accurate summary of the arbitration procedure, any applicable costs, and disclosure of the legal effects of election to utilize arbitration. Such notice must be given to persons for whom household goods are to be transported by the carrier before such goods are tendered to the carrier for transportation.

(3) Provision of forms.—Upon request of a shipper, the carrier must promptly provide such forms and other information as are necessary for initiating an action to resolve a dispute under arbitration.

(4) Independence of arbitrator.—Each person authorized to arbitrate or otherwise settle disputes must be independent of the parties to the dispute and must be capable, as determined under such regulations as the Secretary may issue, to resolve such disputes fairly and expeditiously. The carrier must ensure that each person chosen to settle the disputes is authorized and able to obtain from the shipper or carrier any material and relevant information to the extent necessary to carry out a fair and expeditious decisionmaking process.

(5) Apportionment of costs.—No shipper may be charged more than half of the cost for instituting an arbitration proceeding that is brought under this section. In the decision, the arbitrator may determine which party shall pay the cost or a portion of the cost of the arbitration proceeding, including the cost of instituting the proceeding.

(6) Requests.—The carrier must not require the shipper to agree to utilize arbitration prior to the time that a dispute arises. If the dispute involves a claim for $10,000 or less and the shipper requests arbitration, such arbitration shall be binding on the parties. If the dispute involves a claim for more than $10,000 and the shipper requests arbitration, such arbitration shall be binding on the parties only if the carrier agrees to arbitration.

(7) Oral presentation of evidence.—The arbitrator may provide for an oral presentation of a dispute concerning transportation of household goods by a party to the dispute (or a party's representative), but such oral presentation may be made only if all parties to the dispute expressly agree to such presentation and the date, time, and location of such presentation.

(8) Deadline for decision.—The arbitrator must, as expeditiously as possible but at least within 60 days of receipt of written notification of the dispute, render a decision based on the information gathered; except that, in any case in which a party to the dispute fails to provide in a timely manner any information concerning such dispute which the person settling the dispute may reasonably require to resolve the dispute, the arbitrator may extend such 60-day period for a reasonable period of time. A decision resolving a dispute may include any remedies appropriate under the circumstances, including repair, replacement, refund, reimbursement for expenses, compensation for damages, and an order requiring the payment of additional carrier charges.


(c) Limitation on Use of Materials.—Materials and information obtained in the course of a decision making process to settle a dispute by arbitration under this section may not be used to bring an action under section 14905.

(d) Attorney's Fees to Shippers.—In any court action to resolve a dispute between a shipper of household goods and a carrier providing transportation or service subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I or III of chapter 135 concerning the transportation of household goods by such carrier, the shipper shall be awarded reasonable attorney's fees if—

(1) the shipper submits a claim to the carrier within 120 days after the date the shipment is delivered or the date the delivery is scheduled, whichever is later;

(2) the shipper prevails in such court action; and

(3)(A) the shipper was not advised by the carrier during the claim settlement process that a dispute settlement program was available to resolve the dispute;

(B) a decision resolving the dispute was not rendered through arbitration under this section within the period provided under subsection (b)(8) of this section or an extension of such period under such subsection; or

(C) the court proceeding is to enforce a decision rendered through arbitration under this section and is instituted after the period for performance under such decision has elapsed.


(e) Attorney's Fees to Carriers.—In any court action to resolve a dispute between a shipper of household goods and a carrier providing transportation, or service subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I or III of chapter 135 concerning the transportation of household goods by such carrier, such carrier may be awarded reasonable attorney's fees by the court only if the shipper brought such action in bad faith—

(1) after resolution of such dispute through arbitration under this section; or

(2) after institution of an arbitration proceeding by the shipper to resolve such dispute under this section but before—

(A) the period provided under subsection (b)(8) for resolution of such dispute (including, if applicable, an extension of such period under such subsection) ends; and

(B) a decision resolving such dispute is rendered.


(f) Limitation of Applicability to Collect-on-Delivery Transportation.—The provisions of this section shall apply only in the case of collect-on-delivery transportation of household goods.

(g) Review by Secretary.—Not later than 18 months after January 1, 1996, the Secretary shall complete a review of the dispute settlement program established under this section. If, after notice and opportunity for comment, the Secretary determines that changes are necessary to such program to ensure the fair and equitable resolution of disputes under this section, the Secretary shall implement such changes and transmit a report to Congress on such changes.

(Added Pub. L. 104–88, title I, §103, Dec. 29, 1995, 109 Stat. 910; amended Pub. L. 104–287, §5(38), Oct. 11, 1996, 110 Stat. 3392; Pub. L. 106–159, title II, §209(b), Dec. 9, 1999, 113 Stat. 1764; Pub. L. 109–59, title IV, §4208, Aug. 10, 2005, 119 Stat. 1757.)

Prior Provisions

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section 11711 of this title prior to the general amendment of this subtitle by Pub. L. 104–88, §102(a).

Amendments

2005—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 109–59, §4208(a), inserted "and to determine whether carrier charges, in addition to those collected at delivery, must be paid by shippers for transportation and services related to transportation of household goods" before period at end.

Subsec. (b)(6). Pub. L. 109–59, §4208(b), substituted "$10,000" for "$5,000" in two places.

Subsec. (b)(8). Pub. L. 109–59, §4208(c), substituted "compensation for damages, and an order requiring the payment of additional carrier charges" for "and compensation for damages".

Subsec. (d)(3). Pub. L. 109–59, §4208(d), added subpar. (A) and redesignated former subpars. (A) and (B) as (B) and (C), respectively.

1999—Subsec. (b)(6). Pub. L. 106–159 substituted "$5000" for "$1000" in two places.

1996—Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 104–287 substituted "January 1, 1996" for "the effective date of this section".

Effective Date

Section effective Jan. 1, 1996, except as otherwise provided in Pub. L. 104–88, see section 2 of Pub. L. 104–88, set out as a note under section 1301 of this title.

§14709. Tariff reconciliation rules for motor carriers of property

Subject to review and approval by the Board, motor carriers subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I of chapter 135 (other than motor carriers providing transportation of household goods) and shippers may resolve, by mutual consent, overcharge and under-charge claims resulting from incorrect tariff provisions or billing errors arising from the inadvertent failure to properly and timely file and maintain agreed upon rates, rules, or classifications in compliance with section 13702 or, with respect to transportation provided before January 1, 1996, sections 10761 and 10762, as in effect on December 31, 1995. Resolution of such claims among the parties shall not subject any party to the penalties for departing from a tariff.

(Added Pub. L. 104–88, title I, §103, Dec. 29, 1995, 109 Stat. 912; amended Pub. L. 104–287, §5(39), Oct. 11, 1996, 110 Stat. 3392.)

Historical and Revision Notes

Pub. L. 104–287

This amends 49:14709 by setting out the effective date of 49:14709 and for clarity and consistency.

References in Text

Sections 10761 and 10762, referred to in text, were omitted in the general amendment of this subtitle by Pub. L. 104–88, title I, §102(a), Dec. 29, 1995, 109 Stat. 804, effective Jan. 1, 1996.

Prior Provisions

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section 11712 of this title prior to the general amendment of this subtitle by Pub. L. 104–88, §102(a).

Amendments

1996Pub. L. 104–287 substituted "January 1, 1996" for "the effective date of this section" and "December 31, 1995" for "the day before the effective date of this section".

Effective Date

Section effective Jan. 1, 1996, except as otherwise provided in Pub. L. 104–88, see section 2 of Pub. L. 104–88, set out as a note under section 1301 of this title.

§14710. Enforcement of Federal laws and regulations with respect to transportation of household goods

(a) Enforcement by States.—Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, a State authority may enforce the consumer protection provisions of this title that apply to individual shippers, as determined by the Secretary, and are related to the delivery and transportation of household goods in interstate commerce. Any fine or penalty imposed on a carrier in a proceeding under this subsection shall be paid, notwithstanding any other provision of law, to and retained by the State.

(b) Notice.—The State shall serve written notice to the Secretary or the Board, as the case may be, of any civil action under subsection (a) prior to initiating such civil action. The notice shall include a copy of the complaint to be filed to initiate such civil action, except that if it is not feasible for the State to provide such prior notice, the State shall provide the notice immediately upon instituting such civil action.

(c) Enforcement Assistance Outreach Plan.—The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shall implement an outreach plan to enhance the coordination and effective enforcement of Federal laws and regulations with respect to transportation of household goods between and among Federal and State law enforcement and consumer protection authorities. The outreach shall include, as appropriate, local law enforcement and consumer protection authorities.

(d) State Authority Defined.—In this section, the term "State authority" means an agency of a State that has authority under the laws of the State to regulate the intrastate movement of household goods.

(Added Pub. L. 109–59, title IV, §4206(b)(1), Aug. 10, 2005, 119 Stat. 1754; amended Pub. L. 109–115, div. A, title I, §173(a), (b), Nov. 30, 2005, 119 Stat. 2426.)

Amendments

2005—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 109–115, §173(a), (e), temporarily substituted "a State authority other than the attorney general of the state may, as parens patriae," for "a State authority may" in first sentence and inserted second sentence which read as follows: "Any civil action for injunctive relief to enjoin such delivery or transportation or to compel a person to pay a fine or penalty assessed under chapter 149 shall be brought in an appropriate district court of the United States." See Termination Date of 2005 Amendment note below.

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 109–115, §173(b), (e), temporarily amended subsec. (b) to read as follows: "Exercise of Enforcement Authority.—The authority of this section shall be exercised subject to the requirements of sections 14711(b)–(f) of this title." See Termination Date of 2005 Amendment note below.

Termination Date of 2005 Amendment

Pub. L. 109–115, div. A, title I, §173(e), Nov. 30, 2005, 119 Stat. 2426, provided that: "The amendments made by this section [amending this section and section 14711 of this title] shall cease to be in effect after September 30, 2006."

Deemed References to Chapters 509 and 511 of Title 51

General references to "this title" deemed to refer also to chapters 509 and 511 of Title 51, National and Commercial Space Programs, see section 4(d)(8) of Pub. L. 111–314, set out as a note under section 101 of this title.

Working Group for Development of Practices and Procedures To Enhance Federal-State Relations

Pub. L. 109–59, title IV, §4213, Aug. 10, 2005, 119 Stat. 1759, as amended by Pub. L. 111–147, title IV, §422(j), Mar. 18, 2010, 124 Stat. 87; Pub. L. 111–322, title II, §2202(j), Dec. 22, 2010, 124 Stat. 3525; Pub. L. 112–5, title II, §202(j), Mar. 4, 2011, 125 Stat. 17; Pub. L. 112–30, title I, §122(i), Sept. 16, 2011, 125 Stat. 349; Pub. L. 112–102, title II, §202(i), Mar. 30, 2012, 126 Stat. 274; Pub. L. 112–140, title II, §202(i), June 29, 2012, 126 Stat. 395; Pub. L. 112–141, div. G, title II, §112002(f), July 6, 2012, 126 Stat. 983, directed the Secretary of Transportation to establish a working group to enhance the Federal-State partnership with respect to interstate transportation of household goods to remain in effect until Sept. 30, 2012.

§14711. Enforcement by State attorneys general

(a) In General.—A State, as parens patriae, may bring a civil action on behalf of its residents in an appropriate district court of the United States to enforce the consumer protection provisions of this title that apply to individual shippers, as determined by the Secretary, and are related to the delivery and transportation of household goods by a household goods motor carrier subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I of chapter 135 or regulations or orders of the Secretary or the Board issued under such provisions or to impose the civil penalties authorized by this part or such regulations or orders, whenever the attorney general of the State has reason to believe that the interests of the residents of the State have been or are being threatened or adversely affected by a carrier or broker providing transportation subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I or III of chapter 135 or a foreign motor carrier providing transportation that is registered under section 13902 and is engaged in household goods transportation that violates this part or a regulation or order of the Secretary or Board, as applicable, issued under this part.

(b) Notice and Consent.—

(1) In general.—The State shall serve written notice to the Secretary or the Board, as the case may be, of any civil action under subsection (a) prior to initiating such civil action. The notice shall include a copy of the complaint to be filed to initiate such civil action.

(2) Conditions.—The Secretary or the Board—

(A) shall review the initiation of a civil action under this section by a State if—

(i) the carrier or broker that is the subject of the action is not registered with the Department of Transportation;

(ii) the license of the carrier or broker for failure to file proof of required bodily injury or cargo liability insurance is pending, or the license has been revoked for any other reason by the Department;

(iii) the carrier is not rated or has received a conditional or unsatisfactory safety rating by the Department; or

(iv) the carrier or broker has been licensed with the Department for less than 5 years; and


(B) may review if the carrier or broker fails to meet criteria developed by the Secretary that are consistent with this section.


(3) Congressional notification.—The Secretary shall notify the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives of any criteria developed by the Secretary under paragraph (2)(B).

(4) 60-day deadline.—The Secretary or the Board shall be considered to have consented to any civil action of a State under this section if the Secretary or the Board has taken no action with respect to the notice within 60 calendar days after the date on which the Secretary or the Board received notice under paragraph (1).


(c) Authority to Intervene.—Upon receiving the notice required by subsection (b), the Secretary or board may intervene in a civil action of a State under this section and upon intervening—

(1) be heard on all matters arising in such civil action; and

(2) file petitions for appeal of a decision in such civil actions.


(d) Construction.—For purposes of bringing any civil action under subsection (a), nothing in this section shall—

(1) convey a right to initiate or maintain a class action lawsuit in the enforcement of a Federal law or regulation; or

(2) prevent the attorney general of a State from exercising the powers conferred on the attorney general by the laws of such State to conduct investigations or to administer oaths or affirmations or to compel the attendance of witnesses or the production of documentary and other evidence.


(e) Venue; Service of Process.—In a civil action brought under subsection (a)—

(1) the venue shall be a Federal judicial district in which—

(A) the carrier, foreign motor carrier, or broker operates;

(B) the carrier, foreign motor carrier, or broker was authorized to provide transportation at the time the complaint arose; or

(C) where the defendant in the civil action is found;


(2) process may be served without regard to the territorial limits of the district or of the State in which the civil action is instituted; and

(3) a person who participated with a carrier or broker in an alleged violation that is being litigated in the civil action may be joined in the civil action without regard to the residence of the person.


(f) Enforcement of State Law.—Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit an authorized State official from proceeding in State court to enforce a criminal statute of such State.

(Added Pub. L. 109–59, title IV, §4206(b)(1), Aug. 10, 2005, 119 Stat. 1755; amended Pub. L. 109–115, div. A, title I, §173(c), (d), Nov. 30, 2005, 119 Stat. 2426.)

Amendments

2005—Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 109–115, §173(c), (e), temporarily inserted at end "The State may initiate a civil action under subsection (a) if it is reviewable under subsection (b)(2)." See Termination Date of 2005 Amendment note below.

Subsec. (b)(4). Pub. L. 109–115, §173(d), (e), temporarily inserted "that is subject to review under subsection (b)(2)" before "if the Secretary". See Termination Date of 2005 Amendment note below.

Termination Date of 2005 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 109–115 to cease to be in effect after Sept. 30, 2006, see section 173(e) of Pub. L. 109–115, set out as a note under section 14710 of this title.

Deemed References to Chapters 509 and 511 of Title 51

General references to "this title" deemed to refer also to chapters 509 and 511 of Title 51, National and Commercial Space Programs, see section 4(d)(8) of Pub. L. 111–314, set out as a note under section 101 of this title.