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Ye v. GlobalTranz Enterprises

GlobalTranz Enterprises is a freight broker that selected Global Sunrise, a motor carrier, to transport freight from Illinois to Texas. On November 7, 2017, a Global Sunrise driver was operating a truck on the frontage road of Interstate 45 in Conroe, Texas, while transporting the freight brokered by GlobalTranz. When the driver made an improper turn across two lanes of traffic, the truck collided with a motorcycle ridden by Shawn Lin, who died from injuries sustained in the crash.

Shawn Lin’s widow, Ying Ye, filed suit alleging, among other things, that GlobalTranz was negligent in hiring Global Sunrise. The district court dismissed the negligent-hiring claim, holding that the claim was barred by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act, which preempts state laws “related to a price, route, or service of any motor carrier … [or] broker.” 49 U.S.C. § 14501(c)(1).

Public Citizen serves as co-counsel for Ms. Ye on appeal.  Our brief explained that the negligent-hiring claim is not preempted for two reasons: first, because it falls within an exception to preemption for the “safety regulatory authority of a State with respect to motor vehicles,” 49 U.S.C. § 14501(c)(2)(A); and, second, because it does not relate to broker prices, routes, or services. On July 18, 2023, the Seventh Circuit held that the FAAAA preempts Ms. Ye’s negligent-hiring claim. We filed a petition for review in the U.S. Supreme Court, which was denied, ending the case.