New Ohio Law Eases Liability Burden for Motor Carriers

New Ohio Law Eases Liability Burden for Motor Carriers

Effective March 23, 2016, Ohio became the 43rd state to enact a law that prohibits certain types of indemnity agreements in motor carrier transportation contracts.

Ohio Revised Code §2305.52 now prohibits provisions in motor carrier transportation contracts that purport to require the motor carrier to indemnify, defend or hold harmless the shipper from any liability or loss resulting from the negligent or intentional acts or omissions of the shipper.  Such agreements are now declared void as against public policy.

In the past, a contract between a motor carrier and a shipper required the motor carrier to indemnify the shipper for liability and damages even when the liability or damages was caused by some or all of the negligence of the shipper.  This type of contract provision was inherently unfair to the motor carrier.  As a result, Ohio has now become the 43rd state to forbid such unfair provisions in these types of contracts.

Even though the new statute prohibiting such indemnity agreements is currently in effect, motor carriers would be wise to still not sign contracts containing such indemnity provisions.  The law is new in Ohio and might not cover every factual circumstance.

Rather, when presented with such contracts containing indemnity provisions, motor carriers should provide the shipper with a copy of the recently-enacted statute, Ohio Revised Code §2305.52, and ask the shipper to remove any provision that requires the motor carrier to indemnify, defend or hold harmless the shipper for loss or damage resulting from the negligence or intentional acts or omissions of the shipper.

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Martin J. Boetcher is an attorney with Harrington, Hoppe & Mitchell. He can be reached at mboetcher@hhmlaw.com or (330) 744-1111.