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The Collaborative Clearinghouse for Lawsuits and Other Claims Against ACE Group Insurance Companies

Van Overboard! ACE Unit Sues Over Sunk Cargo

January 18th, 2013 - Indemnity Insurance Co. of North America has sued a freight expeditor after a load of lawn and garden equipment ended up on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean in the midst of a storm.

The ACE Group unit filed the suit in U.S. District Court in New York as an admiralty and marine claim against Expeditors International of Washington Inc. as the defendant. It said it was doing so as subrogee to Fred’s Inc., a Memphis, Tennessee-based lawn and garden retailer.

Fred’s had ordered lawn lights, birdbaths, chairs, umbrellas and other lawn and garden accessories that were manufactured for it by manufacturers in China. All of the cargo was delivered on January 9th, 2012, to the M/V Cosco Yokohama container ship at the Chinese port of Ningbo.

The merchandise, loaded into nine containers, was bound for Tennessee via Prince Rupert, British Columbia. But on January 22nd, 2012, M/V Cosco Yokohama ran into a storm and eight of the nine containers went overboard and were lost at sea. The ninth container stayed on the ship but reportedly sustained major damage.

Indemnity said that the loss to its covered policyholder, Fred’s, was not due to any omission on Fred’s part but rather due solely as a result of the negligence, fault and bailment on behalf of Expeditors. At the time of the incident, Expeditors was acting in the capacity of a non-vessel owning common carrier.

Indemnity asked the court to award it damages of at least $228,764, its estimate of the payout to Fred’s.

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