Brick building with 'Chamber of Commerce' sign, representing U.S. Chamber's involvement in the Texas Supreme Court case against Werner Enterprises.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has filed a “friend of the court” brief with the Texas Supreme Court, urging them to reject a $100 million jury verdict against Werner Enterprises. The verdict, stemming from a 2014 accident on an icy roadway, was upheld by a state appeals court last year. Now, it is under review by the high court.

According to the Chamber, which represents 300,000 direct members, the verdict poses a threat to the trucking industry. It also poses a threat to commercial activity more broadly. Werner Enterprises, in its petition to the Texas Supreme Court, argues that the lower courts’ decisions were flawed. The company believes the rulings imposed unjustified liabilities.

The case originated from a collision where a pickup truck lost control, crossed a highway median, and collided with a Werner tractor-trailer. The appellate court upheld the jury’s decision, ruling that Werner was partially liable under the legal principle of “proximate cause.”

Werner contends that its driver, Shiraz Ali, was operating safely within his lane and had no opportunity to avoid the accident. The Chamber’s brief asserts that the appeals court failed to properly analyze the facts. It calls for a reversal of the verdict to prevent setting a precedent of excessive liability.

This move by the Chamber follows similar actions by the Texas Trucking Association and other advocacy groups. They all aim to defend against what they perceive as an overly expansive interpretation of liability in the trucking industry.