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Raw Materials, Inc. v. Manfred Forberich GmbH & Co.

United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
2004 WL 1535839 (2004)


Facts

Raw Materials, Inc. (Raw Materials) (plaintiff) purchased used railroad rails and resold them to be recycled into fence and sign posts. Raw Materials entered into a contract to purchase 15,000 to 18,000 metric tons of rail from Manfred Forberich GmbH & Co. (Forberich) (defendant). Forberich planned to get the used rails from Russia, and agreed to deliver the Russian rails to Illinois by June 30, 2002. In June, Forberich asked Raw Materials for an extension. The parties negotiated a new deadline of December 31, 2002. But the winter of 2002 was the coldest St. Petersburg had experienced in 60 years. By December, the St. Petersburg port had frozen over, trapping even the ice breakers. No ships could leave the port for months. As a result, Forberich neither loaded nor delivered the rails by December 31, 2002. Raw Materials sued Forberich for breach of contract and fraud, moving for summary judgment on the breach of contract claim. Forberich raised the defense of force majeure. Specifically, Forberich claimed the frozen port was an unforeseeable event that made it impossible for Forberich to meet the contractual deadline, and, therefore, that Forberich was excused from meeting that deadline.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Filip, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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