Quaker Oats Co. v. M/V Torvanger

734 F.2d 238, 1984 AMC 2943 (1984)

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Quaker Oats Co. v. M/V Torvanger

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
734 F.2d 238, 1984 AMC 2943 (1984)

Facts

The Quaker Oats Company (plaintiff) purchased 500 metric tons of the chemical tetrahydrofuran in Japan. The seller contracted with Westfal Larsen and Co. (Westfal Larsen) (defendant) to transport the chemical to the United States on Westfal Larsen’s ship the M/V Torvanger. Tetrahydrofuran has a natural tendency to form peroxides if proper storage precautions are not taken. Samples of the chemical were tested and found to be within acceptable peroxide limits when it was loaded onto the vessel in Japan. The Torvanger apparently exercised due diligence in maintaining the proper storage conditions during the voyage, but some of the cargo was found to have developed unacceptable peroxide levels upon delivery in New York. The cause of the increased peroxide levels in some of the cargo was undetermined. Quaker Oats brought a claim for those losses against Westfal Larsen under the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA). The district court held that Quaker Oats had established a prima facie case for the claim but that Westfal Larsen had sufficiently rebutted the case by showing it had exercised due diligence during the voyage. The court entered judgment for Westfal Larsen, and Quaker Oats appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Tate, J.)

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