Elroumi v. Shenzhen Top China Imp & Exp Co., Ltd China

In Admiralty Jurisdiction on (Updated )

Précis: The Federal Court struck those parts of a statement of claim relating to road and rail carriers on the grounds that it lacked jurisdiction.

Facts: Plaintiffs purchased goods from two of the named Defendants and paid for shipments of the goods from China to Montreal. A sea-waybill was issued by the third party which indicated Hong Kong as the port of loading, Vancouver as the port of discharge and Montreal as the port of delivery. The Plaintiffs and/or the consignee hired Entrepot Canchi to pick the goods up at the train station. Once the goods cleared customs, the Plaintiffs were told the goods had been damaged and that Entrepot Canchi had to deliver the goods as the Plaintiffs were responsible for that part of the transaction. The Plaintiffs then issued a statement of claim 3 years after the shipment, naming the vendors/shippers, the insurer, the transport agent, the land storage and transport companies involved. The ocean carriers, both named on the bills of lading, were also named as Defendants. Entrepot Canchi launched a third party claim against the ocean carrier CMA CGM.

Decision: Motion granted. Plaintiffs’ claim against Entrepot Canchi was struck out, and the third party claim against CMA CGM were also struck out.

Held: The jurisdiction of the Federal court could not extend to claims against rail and land carriers which were other contracts of carriage not part of the bills of lading. The bills of lading covered the liability of the ocean carriers, but not that of Entrepot Canchi, as the Plaintiffs and/or consignee entered into a contract with the provincial land carrier Entrepot Canchi which was independent of the bills of lading. The Superior Court of Quebec or the Court of Quebec has exclusive jurisdiction to hear the claim between the Plaintiff and Entrepot Canchi. As a consequence, the third party claim was struck as the original claim by the Plaintiff against Entrepot Canchi could not be heard by the court.