Stevens Shpg & Term vs. Japan Rainbow II MV, 061403 FED5, 02-30627

Docket Nº:02-30627
Party Name:Stevens Shpg & Term vs. Japan Rainbow II MV
Case Date:June 14, 2003
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
FREE EXCERPT

Stevens Shpg & Term vs. Japan Rainbow II MV

02-30627

FED5

6/14/2003

United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit

FILED

June 13, 2003

Charles R. Fulbruge III

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS For the Fifth Circuit

No. 02-30627

STEVENS SHIPPING AND TERMINAL COMPANY; ET AL

Clerk

Plaintiffs,

STEVENS SHIPPING AND TERMINAL COMPANY

Plaintiff-Appellant,

VERSUS

JAPAN RAINBOW II MV, its engines, tackle, & apparel, in rem;

Defendant-Appellee,

and RUBY TRADING S A Claimant-Appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court For the Eastern District of Louisiana, New Orleans

Before DUHÉ, EMILIO M. GARZA, and DeMOSS, Circuit Judges. DeMOSS, Circuit Judge:

Plaintiff-Appellant, Stevens Shipping & Terminal Co., Inc., ("Stevens"), claimed a maritime lien for agency and stevedoring services that it rendered to the M/V JAPAN RAINBOW II in Savannah,

Georgia, in February 2001. The district court, however, found that Stevens provided those services with actual knowledge that the charter party of the M/V JAPAN RAINBOW II contained a prohibition of liens clause, and that the time charterer who hired Stevens, Tokai Shipping Co., Ltd. ("Tokai"), could not incur liens or pledge the credit of the vessel to secure Stevens's charges. The district court, therefore, held that Stevens could not hold a maritime lien for the services it provided, and Stevens's in rem claims against the M/V JAPAN RAINBOW II were dismissed. Stevens now appeals.

I. BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Stevens and Stevedoring Services of America (“SSA”) filed a complaint under Rule C of the Supplemental Rules for Certain Admiralty and Maritime Claims of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Stevens and SSA sought the arrest of the M/V JAPAN RAINBOW II alleging that Stevens and SSA had not received payment for services provided to the M/V JAPAN RAINBOW II in Savannah, Georgia, and New Orleans. Thus, Stevens and SSA alleged they had maritime liens on the M/V JAPAN RAINBOW II. SSA settled its claims and is not a party in this appeal.

Tokai chartered the JAPAN RAINBOW II and dispatched Voyage Instructions to Zodiac Maritime Agencies, Ltd. (“Zodiac”), the vessel owners’ managing agent. Ruby Trading (“Ruby”) is the claimant-appellee in this case. Stevens served as stevedore and husbanding agent for Tokai. As stevedore, Stevens loaded and

2

unloaded the JAPAN RAINBOW II, and as husbanding agent, Stevens ordered goods and services for the vessel, such as tug and wharfage services. Stevens would order the services and goods on behalf of the JAPAN RAINBOW II, pay for them, and receive reimbursement from Tokai. If Stevens paid a third party for services provided to the JAPAN RAINBOW II, it took the third party’s maritime liens as assignee upon payment.

Clive Ferguson, a Zodiac employee, served as the operations supervisor of the JAPAN RAINBOW II. Zodiac had been aware since late 2000 that Tokai was having financial problems, and Ferguson was instructed to fax a notice of the prohibition of liens clause in the charter to each agent listed in Tokais voyage instructions. On January 23, 2001, Ferguson faxed the notice to Stevens at the fax number listed in Tokais voyage instructions. The letter accompanying the notice requested that Stevens notify other Savannah providers about the prohibition of liens clause. The letter also requested that Stevens return an...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP