Louisiana Record

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

District judge rejects appeal, crossclaim stemming from $2.4 million international shipping dispute


By Takesha Thomas | Jul 1, 2019


NEW ORLEANS – A district judge has denied an appeal and crossclaim involving a shipping dispute after one company allegedly lost $2.4 million when its items failed to be shipped to a buyer.

On June 11, U.S. District Judge Barry Ashe for the Eastern District of Louisiana denied Hapag-Lloyd's motion to dismiss a crossclaim filed by Expeditors International of Washington and its insurance company Zurich American Insurance Co. Expeditors was hired to ship two large containers of tools to Romania for Global Oil Tools. However, when the shipment failed to arrive and was instead sent to Italy where it was held before being shipped to its original destination in Romania causing a delay, Global Oil sued both Expeditors and its liability insurance company, Zurich American Insurance for damages and declaratory relief. 

According to court papers, Global Oil Tools inked a $2.4 million deal to sell a large number of its tools to an overseas buyer. Expeditors International was to arrange shipment of those tools as part of a contract with Global. The tools were placed on a ship operated by Hapag-Lloyd which was contracted by Expeditors to ship the equipment. 

Ashe also granted a motion to dismiss a crossclaim filed by Merzario, who allegedly moved the containers to a bonded storage facility, court papers show. Ashe, however, dismissed the crossclaims with prejudice. Additionally, a motion for partial summary judgment filed by Hapag-Lloyd was granted against Expeditors to limit recoverable damages. 

Hapag-Lloyd and Ports America argued that the Himalaya clause in Expeditors’ bill of lading precluded Global from asserting claims against anyone except Expeditors for issues related to the shipping, according to court papers. Ashe granted Expeditors' motion for partial summary judgment to limit recovery to $500 per package. 

Additionally, granting Zurich’s motion for summary judgment and dismissing Global's claims against Zurich American Insurance related to an alleged first-party cargo insurance policy.

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