Impacts of the Supreme Court Decision Regal-Beloit: Exporting Import Litigation

The United States Supreme Court's June 2010 decision in Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. v. Regal-Beloit Corp. puts to rest an element of the controversy over the legal regime applicable to domestic losses to intermodal shipments originating from overseas. According to the Regal-Beloit Court, the Carmack Amendmentis not triggered when a domestic rail carrier accepts such imported cargo. Instead, the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA) of 1936 can apply to both the ocean and inland legs of a multimodal import shipment. Thus, the Court's most recent decision gives further imprimatur to the use of Himalaya clauses in through ocean bills of lading to extend COGSA's application to subcontracting overland carriers who participate in a portion of the shipment's overall multimodal transportation.