Marubeni-Iida (America), Inc. v. Nippon Yusen Kaisha

Decision Date26 January 1962
Citation207 F. Supp. 418
PartiesMARUBENI-IIDA (AMERICA), INC., Kowa American Corp., Mitsubishi International Corp., Chori New York, Inc. and Stahlwood Toy Manufacturing Co., Inc., Libelants, v. NIPPON YUSEN KAISHA and S.S. SAGA MARU, her engines, boilers, etc., Respondent. NIPPON YUSEN KAISHA, Petitioner, v. UNIVERSAL TERMINAL & STEVEDORING CORP., Respondent-Impleaded.
CourtU.S. District Court — Southern District of New York

Burlingham, Underwood, Barron, Wright & White, New York City, Gerard Harrington, Jr., New York City, of counsel, for petitioner.

Hagen, Johnson & Markey, New York City, Richard A. Hagen, New York City, of counsel, for respondent-impleaded.

PALMIERI, District Judge.

This is a suit in admiralty by the consignees of goods against Nippon Yusen Kaisha (N.Y.K. Line), an ocean carrier, for alleged damage to their cargo. Respondent has denied liability, alleging that under its bill of lading its responsibility terminates when the goods leave the ship's deck or tackle. Respondent has also impleaded the Universal Terminal & Stevedoring Corp. (Universal), alleging that the cargo was in apparent good condition when removed from respondent's ship, and was damaged by water thereafter, and while in the possession of Universal. The present motion is an exception by Universal to the impleading petition.

N.Y.K. Line is a common carrier of goods by water and, as such, undertakes to carry and deliver goods to New York. It has a contract with Universal under which the latter discharges and delivers its goods and furnishes it with wharf facilities, and its third-party action is for the alleged breach of that contract. Universal excepts to the impleader on the ground that the contract between it and N.Y.K. Line is not a maritime contract and therefore not within the jurisdiction of this court.1

The general rule is that a maritime contract is one having reference to maritime services or maritime transactions. See The New England Marine Insurance Co. v. Duhham, 11 Wall. 1, 78 U.S. 1, 20 L.Ed. 90 (1871); 1 Benedict on Admiralty § 62. Both the loading and unloading of cargo and the furnishing of wharf facilities are maritime services. See American Stevedores v. Porello, 330 U.S. 446, 456, 67 S.Ct. 847, 91 L.Ed. 1011 (1947); Ex parte Easton, 95 U.S. 68, 24 L.Ed. 373 (1877); 1 Benedict on Admiralty § 66. See also, The Gilbert Knapp, 37 F. 209 (E.D.Wis.1889); The Canada, 7 F. 119 (D.C.Oregon (1881). The contract between N.Y.K. Line and Universal to furnish these facilities is therefore a maritime contract. N.Y.K. Line states in its brief, however, that the evidence may show the cargo was damaged as a result of flooding on Universal's wharf. Thus, the third-party action involves not the furnishing of wharf facilities, but damage to goods while on the wharf.

It is clear that admiralty has no jurisdiction over an action for damage to cargo being held for storage purposes. Pillsbury Flour Mill Co. v. Interlake S.S. Co., 40 F.2d 439 (2d Cir. 1930), cert. denied, 282 U.S. 845, 51 S.Ct. 24, 75 L.Ed. 750, but the courts are not agreed on whether admiralty has jurisdiction over an action for damage to cargo held in a dock warehouse prior to loading. Compare, Luckenbach Steamship Co. v. Coast Manufacturing & Supply Co., 185 F.Supp. 910 (E.D.N. Y.1960), with Armstrong Cork Co. v. Farrell Line, 81 F.Supp. 848 (E.D.Pa. 1948). See also, The Czechoslovakia Victory, 76 F.Supp. 808, 809 (S.D.N.Y. 1948). I think it more reasonable to hold that if the cargo is on the wharf as an incident to maritime carriage, whether before loading or after unloading, the action is within the admiralty jurisdiction.

The allegations and objections to jurisdiction in the instant case are similar to those involved in The Milwaukee Bridge, 291 F. 711 (S.D.N.Y.1922). There, too, the libel was for cargo delivered in bad order, the answer alleged that under the bill of lading the consignee accepted discharge at the ship's tackle and that the goods were damaged thereafter, and respondent also impleaded the party who had been engaged to discharge the vessel, alleging that if respondent were held liable for any damage that occurred during the discharge, the third party would be liable to it. Judge Learned Hand held that the court had jurisdiction over the impleader, saying:

"The exception on the score of jurisdiction is not good either. If the discharge did not terminate at the tackles, it was none the less maritime till it did terminate, however much more the contract of carriage required, because in such matters the carriage includes the discharge, though that embrace acts done ashore. The Scotia (D.C.) 35 Fed. 916; The Hattie N. Bain (D. C.) 20 Fed. 389; The Gilbert Knapp (D.C.) 37 Fed. 209. If the libelant recovers, it will be upon a maritime contract, because that is all that it has pleaded, and its recovery must be secundum allegata. If the defense be true, and the contract terminated before any damage

To continue reading

Request your trial
12 cases
  • Moore-McCormack Lines v. INTERN. TERMINAL OPERATING
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of New York
    • October 16, 1985
    ...maritime. Pillsbury Flour Mills Company v. Interlake S.S. Company, 40 F.2d 439, 440 (2d Cir.1930); Marubeni-Iida (American), Inc. v. Nippon Yusen Kaisha, 207 F.Supp. 418, 419 (S.D.N.Y.1962). That the Magistrate found that the losses occurred during the storage of the cargo, i.e. after disch......
  • David Crystal, Inc. v. Cunard Steam-Ship Company
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of New York
    • October 10, 1963
    ...316 F.2d 3 (2 Cir. 1963); The Czechoslovakia Victory, 76 F.Supp. 808 (S.D. N.Y.1948). But compare Marubeni-Iida (America) Inc. v. Nippon Yusen Kaisha, 207 F.Supp. 418 (S.D.N.Y.1962).4 The fact that the cargo which is the subject of the alleged negligence was at some time shipped by a carrie......
  • Atlantic Mut. Ins. v. BALFOUR MACLAINE INTERN.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of New York
    • September 13, 1991
    ...the entire contract if the nonmaritime obligations are "incidental" to the maritime obligations. In Marubeni-Iida (America), Inc. v. Nippon Yusen Kaisha, 207 F.Supp. 418 (S.D.N.Y.1962) the Court ruled that a claim involving damage to cargo on a wharf immediately prior to loading or after un......
  • Union Marine & General Ins. Co. v. American Export Lines, Inc., 60 Civ. 2788.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of New York
    • August 8, 1966 having reference to maritime transactions, and thus we look to the subject matter of the contract. Marubeni-Iida, Inc. v. Nippon Yusen Kaisha, 207 F.Supp. 418, 419 (S.D.N.Y.1962). "It is as much the duty of the shipowner to load and discharge the cargo as it is to carry it between the l......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT