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Mapfre Atlas Compania De Seguros S.A. v. M/V Loa

United States District Court, S.D. New York

August 3, 2017

MAPFRE ATLAS COMPANIA DE SEGUROS S.A., a/s/o TECNOMEGA C.A., Plaintiff,
v.
M/V LOA, in rem, and COMPANIA CHILENA DE NAVIGACION INTEROCEANICA S.A. and GENSHIPPING CORP., in personam, Defendants.

          Attorney for Plaintiff LAW OFFICES OF THOMAS M. GRASSO, LLC Thomas M. Grasso, Esq.

          Attorney for CCNI MAHONEY & KEANE, LLP Garth S. Wolfson, Esq.

          OPINION

          ROBERT W. SWEET U.S.D.J.

         Plaintiff Mapfre Atlas Compania de Seguros S.A. ("Mapfre" or the "Plaintiff") as subrogee of Tecnomega C.A. ("Tecnoraega") has moved pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for partial summary judgment with respect to the port-to-port bill of lading issued to Tecnomega by Defendants Compania Chilena De Navigacion Interoceanica S.A. ("CCNI"), Genshipping Corp. ("Genshipping"), and Genshipping's vessel M/V LOA (together, "Defendants"). CCNI has moved pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for partial judgment on the pleadings. At issue is whether or not Plaintiff's recovery under the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act of 1936, ch. 228, 49 Stat. 1207 (1936) (codified as a note to 46 U.S.C. § 30701) ("COGSA")[1], is limited to the per package limitation of $500.

         Based on the facts and conclusions set forth below, CCNI's motion for partial summary judgment on the pleadings is granted and Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment is denied.

         Prior Proceedings

         On October 6, 2015, Plaintiff filed its complaint (the "Complaint") seeking damages of $126, 862.28 for breach of carrier duties under COGSA and a maritime bill of lading contract arising out of the disappearance and non-delivery of 491 out of 989 cartons of computer and printer pieces (all together, the "Goods") stowed within a single shipping container, numbered TCNU 811823-2 (the "Container"). (See Compl., Dkt. 1.) The Container was carried by Defendants aboard the vessel M/V LOA from Port Everglades, Florida to Guayaquil, Ecuador, in October 2014. (See Compl. at ¶ 1.)

         On March 3, 2017, CCNI filed the instant motion for judgment on the pleadings. (Dkt. 15.) On March 31, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant motion for partial summary judgment. (Dkt. 18.) Both motions were heard and marked fully submitted on May 3, 2017.

         The Facts

         The facts are alleged in the Complaint, Plaintiff's Rule 56.1 Statement of Material Facts, (Dkt. 20), and CCNI's Declaration Pursuant to Local Rule 56.1(b), (Dkt. 23). The material facts do not appear in dispute.

         Plaintiff's Complaint alleges that a shipment of computers and printers in 989 cartons was delivered to CCNI and, in turn, Genshipping, for shipment from Miami, Florida, the Place of Receipt, to Port Everglades, Florida, the Port of Loading, and, ultimately, to Guayaquil, Ecuador, the Port of Discharge and Place of Delivery. (See Compl. at ¶¶ 11-17.) The Goods were shipped aboard the vessel M/V LOA, which arrived in Ecuador around October 6, 2014. (Compl. at ¶ 17.) Around October 17, 2014, upon inspection of the Container, Tecnomega discovered 491 cartons of Goods missing. (Compl. at ¶ 22.) The Complaint alleges that Plaintiff sustained $126, 862.28 in damages. (Compl. at ¶ 27.)

         A bill of lading, No. BL-USMIA-006901879-8 (the "Bill of Lading"), was issued by CCNI to cover Defendants' shipment of the Container. (See Declaration of Thomas M. Grasso dated March 31, 2017 ("Grasso Decl."), Ex. C, Dkt. 19; Compl. at ¶ 17.) The Bill of Lading contains the terms of carriage agreed between the parties and sets forth, in relevant part, the following description as to the Container's contents:

         (Image Omitted)

         (Bill of Lading at 1.) The Bill of Lading details the following ...


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