Cavcar Co. v. M/V Suzdal

723 F.2d 1096, 1984 AMC 609 (1983)

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Cavcar Co. v. M/V Suzdal

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
723 F.2d 1096, 1984 AMC 609 (1983)

Facts

The Finn Amer (defendant) was a cargo vessel owned by Amer Sea O/Y (Amer Sea) (defendant), chartered by Gloucester Shipping Company, and operated by Marine Transport Services (MTS). Sherkate Sahami Khass Auto Pars (Auto Pars) (plaintiff) ordered 200 Ford Broncos from the Ford Export Company and contracted for 49 of the trucks to be delivered to Iran aboard the Finn Amer. MTS managed the entire shipment process and issued the bill of lading to Auto Pars. Neither Amer Sea, nor Gloucester Shipping Company, nor the master of the Finn Amer was a party to or signed the bill of lading. After the Finn Amer arrived in port in Iran, MTS requested that Auto Pars preclear the trucks through customs and pay the required customs duties before MTS would unload the cargo. When Auto Pars failed to comply with this request in a few days, MTS ordered the Finn Amer to leave the port, with the trucks still on board, and return to the United States. The trucks were impounded upon arrival in the United States and eventually sold by the United States Customs Service. Auto Pars sued Amer Sea and the Finn Amer in federal district court for nondelivery of the trucks, and the action was consolidated with other similar suits. The district court held that because neither Amer Sea nor the Finn Amer was a party to the bill of lading, Amer Sea was not liable in personam and there was no basis for in rem liability against the Finn Amer. Auto Pars appealed the court’s ruling as to the Finn Amer.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Pollak, J.)

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