Norfolk Southern Railway Co. v. James N. Kirby
In the U.S. Supreme Court, this case presented two questions:
Whether a cargo owner that contracts with a freight-forwarder for transportation of goods to a destination in the United States is bound by the contracts that the freight-forwarder makes with carriers to provide that transportation.
Whether federal maritime law requires that terms of a bill of lading extending liability limitations under the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act ("COGSA"), 46 U.S.C. app 1300-1315, to "independent contractors" used to perform the contract of transportation must be narrowly construed to cover only those independent contractors in privity of contract with the bill's issuer.
Public Citizen filed an amicus brief on the merits in support of the respondents. The Court decided in favor of the petitioner.