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Teras Chartering, LLC v. Hyupjin Shipping Co. Ltd.

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

February 26, 2018

TERAS CHARTERING, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
HYUPJIN SHIPPING CO., LTD., Defendant. Ex. No. Description Ex. No. Description Ex. No. Description Ex. No. Description Ex. No. Description Ex. No. Description

          Tim Lord Attorney for Plaintiff.

          Jeremy B. Jones Attorney for Defendant.

          PRETRIAL ORDER

          RICARDO S. MARTINEZ, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         JURISDICTION

         This is a suit for demurrage arising out of the carriage of cargo loaded on board the M/V NORFO LK in Sattahip, Thailand and Masan, Korea, and carried to Guanta, Venezuela pursuant to the terms of two Liner Booking Notes. The Booking Notes are maritime contracts and therefore, Plaintiff's claims fall within 28 U.S.C. §1331, and Plaintiff properly designated its claims under Rule 9(h) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as admiralty and maritime claims.

         CLAIM AND DEFENSES

         Plaintiff, Teras Chartering, LLC (“Teras” or “Plaintiff”) will pursue at trial the following claims: breach of contract with respect to the Booking Note for the cargo loaded in Masan, Korea and discharged in Guanta, Venezuela. If Teras is the prevailing party, it is entitled to recover its attorneys' fees and costs pursuant to the maritime contract at issue herein.

         Defendant, Hyupjin Shipping Co., Ltd. (“Hyupjin” or “Defendant”) will pursue the following affirmative defenses and claim at trial:

1. Plaintiff's damages, if any, were caused in whole or in part by Plaintiff's own negligence and/or unauthorized unilateral choices.
2. Plaintiff's damages, in any, were caused in whole or in part by the negligence of third parties outside the control and responsibility of Hyupjin.
3. Plaintiff has failed to mitigate its damages.
4. Plaintiff breached the terms of the parties' agreements. As a result, to the extent that Hyupjin is found liable to Plaintiff, such liability should be offset in an amount equivalent to the value of Plaintiff's liability to Hyupjin for the breach.
5. Hyupjin reasonably relied upon Plaintiff's representations regarding its ability to perform its obligations under the parties' agreement. Specifically, Plaintiff made representations regarding the performance characteristics of the NORFOLK, as well as the vessel's anticipated time of arrival and readiness for the loading or discharge of cargo at Sattahip, Masan, and Guanta. As a result of its reliance, Hyupjin did not hire other available vessels that would have been able to arrive in Guanta sooner and avoid the holiday period. Because Hyupjin relied on Plaintiff's representations to its detriment, Plaintiffs should be estopped from asserting claims against Hyupjin.

         Defendant will assert the following claims at trial:

1. In the event Hyupjin is the substantially prevailing party, it is entitled, pursuant to the terms of the Booking Notes, to recover its attorney fees and costs.

         ADMITTED FACTS

         1. The document Bates numbered TER-HYU 000178, at Section 11, provides for demurrage of $20, 000 per day on a pro rata basis.

         2. Teras Chartering LLC Liner Booking Note (Bates numbered P000011) dated November 3, 2015 at para. 11, states that the demurrage rate is $20, 000 per day on a pro rata basis.

         3. The document Bates numbered TER-HYU 000178 does not contain the term “Grace Period.” 4. The vessel M/V NORFOLK arrived ready for loading at Masan, Korea within the laycan, as contracted for in Teras Chartering ...


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