Nine Starz Fruits & Vegetables Inc. v. Schenker of Canada Ltd.

In Carriage of Goods by Sea on (Updated )

Précis: The Court of Quebec refused motions to dismiss the claim of the plaintiff consignee against a freight forwarder and ship owner on the basis of lack of privity of contract.

Facts: The plaintiff was the owner/consignee of a cargo of tangerines that had to be destroyed because of delay in delivery and temperature fluctuations during carriage. The plaintiff commenced suit against Schenker of Canada and against Mediterranean Shipping Company (“MSC”). Both defendants brought motions to dismiss the claims against them on the grounds of an insufficient legal relationship with the plaintiff.

Decision: Schenker motion referred to trial Judge. MSC motion dismissed.

Held: Schenker Canada argues that the claim against it should be dismissed because the contract of carriage as evidenced by the bill of lading was between the plaintiff and Schenkerocean not Schenker Canada. However, Schenker Canada does appear on documents, including the sea waybill, as a consignee, suggesting some relationship. At this stage of the proceeding it is premature to dismiss the claim as against Schenker Canada and this issue will be referred to the trial Judge. With respect to MSC, the documents show that the carrying vessel was owned by MSC and the law recognizes that the vessel owner can be liable as carrier. Thus, MSC’s motion must be dismissed.