Michael J. Canning, Esq. and Matthew N. Fiorovanti, Esq. recently obtained the dismissal of a $9 million claim for inadequate security and premises liability against the firm’s client, Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America.
The lawsuit involved a claim by the insurer of the owner of pharmaceutical products that were stolen from a truck stop in Temple, Georgia while being shipped in a tractor-trailer. According to the complaint, the driver of the truck carrying the shipment stopped at Pilot’s facility while en route to the final destination, and while the driver was inside Pilot’s facility, the truck was stolen. In addition to asserting claims against the carrier that transported the freight for failing to comply with applicable standards, the insurer claimed that Pilot failed to provide adequate security, and that such inadequate security caused the theft of the tractor-trailer carrying the pharmaceuticals.
Honorable Michael A. Shipp of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey granted Pilot’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the insurer’s claim on the grounds that the insurer failed to present any evidence to demonstrate that Pilot’s allegedly inadequate security, which Pilot has at all times denied, proximately caused the theft. Judge Shipp found that because there was no evidence as to who perpetrated the theft, whether it was perpetrated by a single individual or a group of thieves, or whether and how the perpetrators targeted the theft, the plaintiff’s claim that Pilot’s allegedly inadequate security caused the theft was merely speculative. In other words, Judge Shipp found that the plaintiff could not prove that had Pilot implemented the additional security features identified by the plaintiff, the theft would have been prevented. Accordingly, Judge Shipp dismissed all of the insurer’s claims against Pilot.
GH&C invites and welcomes further discussion on cases and matters involving claims of inadequate security and other premises liability claims.
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