Navigazione General Italiana v. Spencer Kellogg & Sons, Inc.

92 F.2d 41, 1937 AMC 1506 (1937)

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Navigazione General Italiana v. Spencer Kellogg & Sons, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
92 F.2d 41, 1937 AMC 1506 (1937)

Facts

The Mincio, a cargo ship loaded with linseed in Buenos Aires and bound for New York, stranded on the bottom of a river. The crew was worried that the seams of the hull’s plating would open if the ship continued to remain in that position. If a leak developed, the linseed would swell and potentially choke the vessel’s pumps and burst the plating. The crew therefore decided to run the Mincio’s engines at full speed astern in an attempt to free the vessel. After numerous attempts, the Mincio was finally freed from the stranding. When the vessel arrived in New York and was unloaded, it was put in dry dock and found to have suffered extensive damage to its bottom in the incident. The owner of the Mincio, Navigazione General Italiana (NGI) (plaintiff) asserted a general-average lien against Spencer Kellogg & Sons, Inc. (Kellogg) (defendant), the cargo owner. Kellogg agreed in writing to pay general-average contributions to NGI if an independent average adjuster determined it was warranted. The adjuster held that Kellogg was liable for a proportional share of the damages, but Kellogg refused to pay. NGI sued Kellogg in federal district court. The court dismissed the suit, holding that the danger facing the Mincio was not sufficient to constitute a case for general average and that the agreement to pay should not be enforced. NGI appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hand, J.)

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