492 F.2d 1294 (1st Cir. 1974), 73-1287, Fireman's Fund American Ins. Companies v. Puerto Rican Forwarding Co., Inc.
|Citation:||492 F.2d 1294|
|Party Name:||FIREMAN'S FUND AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANIES, Plaintiff, Appellant, v. PUERTO RICAN FORWARDING CO., INC., Defendant, Appellee.|
|Case Date:||March 13, 1974|
|Court:||United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit|
Argued Feb. 6, 1974.
Jose Antonio Fuste, San Juan, P.R., with whom Jimenez & Fuste, San Juan, P.R., was on brief, for plaintiff, appellant.
Maria Josefa Fornaris, Hato Rey, P.R., for defendant, appellee.
Before COFFIN, Chief Judge, McENTEE and CAMPBELL, Circuit Judges.
McENTEE, Circuit Judge.
Appellant brought this subrogation action against Puerto Rican Forwarding Co., Inc. (Forwarding) in the District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. The court granted summary judgment dismissing the action for lack of jurisdiction, holding that a choice-of-forum clause in the bill of lading which Forwarding had issued to appellant's insured restricted any actions thereunder to federal or state courts located in the City of New York. Appellant contends that summary judgment was inappropriately granted because there existed a genuine issue of material fact, namely, whether Forwarding's bill of lading governed the shipment of the goods involved in this case. Appellant further contends that even if Forwarding's bill of lading did apply, the choice-of-forum clause therein should be held invalid. We reject both contentions.
The facts are as follows. Defendant-appellee Forwarding operates within the shipping market as a non-vessel operating common carrier by water (NVOCC). An NVOCC consolidates small lots into a single container for various small shippers, and then tenders the consolidated full containerload to an equipment-owning carrier for the actual physical transportation of the goods. For purposes of this appeal, the important point about an NVOCC is that although it may not own the ships on which its customers' goods are physically transported, it nevertheless is the 'carrier' responsible for the through transportation of such goods, including the water portion. As the carrier, an NVOCC issues its own bill of lading to each small shipper that employ its services, describing the goods for whose transportation it will be held responsible. When the NVOCC in turn employs a water carrier for the actual transport of a consolidated containerload of goods belonging to several shippers, the water carrier issues to the...
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