Car Transportation v. Garden Spot Distributors

In Car Transportation v Garden Spot Distributors, 305 Ark. 82, 805 S.W.2d 632, 633 (1991), the defendant trucking company agreed to transport food products from California to the East Coast. During the transport of these goods, the truck broke down in Arkansas, where the carrier discovered that the sellers of the goods owed it more than $ 9,000 for previous trucking services. Id. As a result, the carrier demanded payment of $ 15,000 with which to repair the truck and complete delivery. Id. Upon the sellers' refusal to pay this amount, the carrier refused to deliver the goods and placed them in storage in Arkansas. Id. The goods' buyers, who had paid the sellers in advance, demanded the goods from the carrier but were refused. Id. Thereafter, the buyers brought suit against the carrier for conversion and were subsequently awarded damages. Id. On appeal, the carrier argued that it could not be held liable for conversion because, pursuant to a statute identical to MCL 440.7307(1); MSA 19.7307(1), it legitimately had the right to assert a lien against the goods shipped for a debt due from the sellers for past services. Car Transportation, 305 Ark. at 86, 805 S.W.2d at 634. In addressing this argument, the Arkansas Supreme Court held that the carrier had no lien on the goods under the proffered statute because "a lien on presently transported goods for a prior debt is not contemplated under the Uniform Commercial Code." Id. Thus, the court reasoned, "if a lien defense is available to the motor carrier, it can only be asserted against currently transported goods for freight charges that remain unpaid." Id.