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Motor Ship Bremen v. Zapata Off-Shore Co.

United States Supreme Court
407 U.S. 1 (1972)


Facts

Zapata Off-Shore (Zapata) (plaintiff) entered a contract with Unterweser (defendant) to tow Zapata’s drilling rig from Louisiana to Italy. The contract stated that disputes would be resolved before the London Court of Justice. Unterweser’s ship, Bremen, had begun to tow the rig through the Gulf of Mexico when a storm caused damage to Zapata’s rig. The Bremen then towed the rig to the closest port in Florida. Zapata brought suit for the damages in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Unterweser moved to dismiss on the basis of the forum-selection clause. The district court denied the motion, relying on the holding of Carbon Black Export, Inc. v. The Monrosa, 254 F.2d 297 (5th Cir. 1958), cert. dismissed, 359 U.S. 180 (1959) (Carbon Black). The court of appeals affirmed the district court, again relying on the Carbon Black holding. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Burger, C.J.)

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