Westwood Shipping Lines v. Geo International Inc. et al.

In Carriage of Goods by Sea on (Updated )

This was an action for fraudulent misrepresentation against the General Manager of the corporate Defendant. The corporate Defendant was the "Notify Party" on order bills of lading. The corporate Defendant obtained delivery of the cargo from the Plaintiff without surrendering the original endorsed bills of lading and without paying the purchase price to the shipper/vendor. In an earlier summary judgment motion ( Reasons dated June 24, 1998) the Plaintiff obtained judgment against the corporate Defendant and its President for conversion. The Plaintiff now sought judgment against the General Manager. The evidence established that the General Manager convinced the Plaintiff to release the goods by advising they were urgently needed and by representing that the original bills of lading would be forwarded when received. The Plaintiff argued that the General Manager knew the bills of lading would never be forwarded or was wilfully blind. The court, however, was not convinced that the General Manager had acted fraudulently. The court noted that, at the time, the corporate Defendant was a going concern and was receiving fifty to sixty containers per year. The court found it difficult to believe that the General Manager knew the goods would not be paid for. In result, the action was dismissed.