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Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. v. Regal-Beloit Corp. (The K-Line Case)

United States Supreme Court
561 U.S. 89 (2010)


Facts

Regal-Beloit Corporation (Regal) (plaintiff) arranged for Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. and its agent “K” Line America, Inc. (K-Line) (defendants) to ship goods from China to the inland United States. A single through bill of lading was issued to cover both the overseas and the inland legs of the shipment. The bill of lading contained a forum-selection clause setting jurisdiction in Tokyo, Japan. The goods arrived in California by ship and were then loaded for rail shipment by the Union Pacific Railroad Company (plaintiff). During the inland rail transportation, a train derailment destroyed the goods. Regal brought suit for damages in California state court. K-Line removed the case to the United States District Court for the Central District of California and filed a motion to dismiss based on the forum-selection clause contained within the through bill of lading. The district court granted K-Line’s motion to dismiss. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded, holding that the rail shipment was subject to the Carmack Amendment (Carmack), 49 U.S.C. § 11706(a), which preempted the forum-selection clause. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)

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