Matthew C. Koch


Matt is a litigator specializing in transportation and logistics law, including the defense of multimodal carriers and equipment providers, freight forwarders, property brokers, and other transportation intermediaries against claims for cargo loss and damage, errors and omissions, personal injury, and wrongful death damages.  Matt’s expertise extends to insurance coverage counseling and litigation in the transportation space, including Open Marine Cargo, Cargo Legal Liability, Errors & Omissions, Hull, and P & I policies. Matt also provides advice with respect transportation service contracts and compliance with federal and state regulations applicable to maritime and transportation industry.  Matt’s admiralty and maritime experience includes the defense Jones Act, LHWCA, and passenger personal injury claims, ship collisions, docking and environmental incidents, and on-site rapid response.

Education, Admissions & Organizations

Matt was born in Downers Grove, Illinois and graduated from Loyola University Chicago magna cum laude in 2001. He received his law degree from Saint Louis University in 2004, where he was an editor for the Saint Louis University Law Journal and a recipient of the Academic Excellence Award in Evidence. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and state trial courts. Matt is a member of the Maritime Law Association, Transportation Lawyers Association, and Defense Research Institute – Trucking Law.

In 2015 and 2016, Matt was recognized by Leading Lawyers as an Emerging Lawyer in both “Personal Injury Defense Law: General” and “Transportation Defense Law: Including Aviation/FELA/Maritime.”

Notable Cases

Ying Ye v. GlobalTranz, 74 F.4th 453 (7th Cir. 2023)(holding that the plain text and statutory scheme indicate that the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act, 49 U.S.C. § 14501(c)(1), preempts and bars negligent hiring claims against freight brokers seeking wrongful death damages arising out of trucking accidents, and that the Act’s safety exception in § 14501(c)(2)(A) does not save negligent hiring claims from preemption.

AMRO Fabricating Corp. v. Asland Express, LLC, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105981, *1 (S.D. Tex. 2023) (dismissing motor carrier’s claims for  contribution and indemnity against transportation intermediary for allegedly providing inaccurate height dimensions for cargo involved low-bridge accident on the grounds that the Carmack Amendment, 49 U.S.C. § 14706, does not provide general right of indemnity and contribution against alleged joint-tortfeasors, counterclaims against shippers or their agents are preempted by the Carmack, and tort claims against freight brokers are preempted the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (“FAAAA”), 49 U.S.C. § 14501(c)(1).

Rimac Seguros Y Reaseguros v. C.H. Robinson Int’l., 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 463 (D. Minn. 2022)(denying motion to dismiss  NVOCC’s counterclaim based on indemnity provision in house bill of lading that precluded cargo interests’ efforts to recoup general average expenses paid by cargo interests to VOCC).

Ying Ye, as Representative of the Estate of Shawn Lin, Deceased, v. Global Sunrise, Inc., and GlobalTranz Enterprises, Inc., 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 210879 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 2, 2021) and 2020 U.S. Dist. Lexis 37142* (N.D. Ill. 2020).  The plaintiff filed a wrongful death action to recover for the death of her husband. Plaintiff’s decedent was killed when he drove his motorcycle, at a high rate of speed, into the cab of a tractor-trailer as the unit was executing a right turn. Plaintiff sued the motor carrier and our client, GlobalTranz Enterprises, the broker. The Court granted our Motion to Dismiss the negligent hiring/retention claim against GlobalTranz on the grounds it was preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (“FAAAA”), 49 U.S.C. § 14501(c)(1). The Court rejected the plaintiff’s argument that the safety exception of the FAAAA applied.  The Court subsequently granted our motion for summary judgment on the    agency/vicarious liability claim against GlobalTranz.  The Court held that the level of control the broker was alleged to have exerted over the motor carrier and driver was insufficient to establish an agency relationship and the motor carrier was an independent contractor of the broker.

Midwest Trading v. GlobalTranz Enterprises, Inc., 2015 WL 1043554, * 1 (N.D. Ill. 2012) (granting summary judgment pursuant to Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act, 49 U.S.C. § 14501(c)(1) on fraud and negligence claims asserted against transportation broker arising out the alleged sale of cargo insurance)

Kevin Ballard v. ACBL, 2012 IL App. (1st) 103832-U (Ill. App. Ct. 2012)(affirming summary judgment in favor of barge owner and terminal operator under the LHWCA and general maritime law for injuries sustained by a repair worker when two adjacently moored barges collided and crushed his foot)

Hatcher v. Johnson Controls, Inc., No. 09 L 10932 (Circuit Court of Cook County 2012)(summary judgment in favor of facility management company with contractual oversight duties based on lack of control or notice of subcontractor’s unsafe work practice that caused plaintiff’s injuries)

Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. v. Plano Molding Co., 696 F.3d 648 (7th Cir. 2012) (holding that an ocean carrier has a right to contractual indemnity under NVOCC bill of lading against the consignee for damages caused by improper loading of container if the consignee directly contracted with the NVOCC or authorized the shipper to contract with NVOCC on the consignee’s behalf)

Riduco, SA v. A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, 2009 WL 4680197, 2010 AMC 1 (N.D. Ill. 2009)(holding that the Carmack Amendment did not apply to the inland rail segment of an international through shipment of cargo from the United States to Columbia, and granting summary judgment to ocean carrier based on a one-year time bar contained in the ocean carrier’s through bill of lading)

Water Management Technologies, Inc. v. Lakeside Manufacturing, Inc., Case No. 08 C 3524 (N.D. Ill. 2008)(secured pre-judgment freezing of assets and accounts receivable against a broker who refused to forward payment for vessel manufactured by client for the City of Chicago)

Carbodynamics, Inc. v. BHP, Ltd., 2006 L 009482 (Circuit Court of Cook County 2009)(summary judgment/dismissal of breach of contract and unjust enrichment claims in a commercial dispute over installation of equipment in fertilizer plant valued in excess of $2 million based on the plaintiff’s submission of forged contractual documents to support claim, including an award attorney’s fees against the plaintiff as a sanction)

Articles and Presentations

Defending Vicarious Liability Claims Against Brokers in the Wake of Volkova,”, The Transportation Lawyer, Vol. 22, No. 2 (October 2020).

Moderator and Panelist, Maritime Law Update, Multi-Modal Lighting Round, Transportation Lawyer’s Association Chicago Regional Meeting (January 2020).

Modal Update – Marine (US): The Application of COGSA over Carmack to the Inland Leg of Multimodal Export and Import Shipments, Canadian Transportation Lawyers Association, Annual Meeting (October 2017)

Merchant Clauses in Ocean Bills of Lading from US and Canadian Points of View – Cross-Border Break-Out, Transportation Lawyers Association, 2016 Annual Conference

Food Safety Modernization Act and its Potential Impact on Cargo Liability under the Carmack Amendment, March 2016

Brokers, Carriers & Shippers: Effect of Map-21 & New Federal Regulations, Transportation Loss Prevention and Security Association, 2015 Annual Meeting

Ballast Water, Final Rule, Contributing Author, Bilge & Barratry, A Publication of the Marine Ecology and Maritime Criminal Law Committee of the Maritime Law Association of the United States, Volume 3, Issue 2 (2012)

Applying the Rotterdam Rules: A Comparison of Maritime Case Law under COGSA and the Rotterdam Rules, Contributing Author, Maritime Law Association White Paper (2009)

IDC MONOGRAPH: Defending the Insurance Producer: Duties, Proximate Cause Defenses and Avoiding Punitive Damages, IDC Quarterly, Volume 18, No. 4, Fourth Quarter 2008.

A Trap for the Unwary: Two-Year Statute of Limitations for Actions Against Insurance Brokers, IDC Quarterly, Volume 18, No. 3, Third Quarter 2008

The Liability of Dual Capacity Defendants to Maritime Workers for Personal Injury, Benedict’s Maritime Bulletin, Volume 4, No. 1, First Quarter 2006


Leading Lawyers – Emerging Lawyer, 2015 and 2016 in Personal Injury Defense Law: General and Transportation Defense Law: Aviation/FELA/Maritime

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