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

INDEMNITY INSURANCE COMPANY OF NORTH AMERICA ET AL v. M/V STAR LEADER et al

ATTENTION: It is possible that this information may no longer be current and therefore may be inaccurate. The index contains both open and closed cases and is not a complete list of cases in which an ACE Insurance Group company is involved. This information is provided to give interested persons an idea of the issues disputed in the indexed cases. For a full understanding of a case, one should read the rest of the court file, including the response. For the most up-to-date and complete information on a case, visit www.pacer.gov or contact the clerk of the relevant court.

Case Number: 
1:14-cv-10198 Search Pacer
Court Type: 
Federal
US District Court: 
Southern District of New York
Date Filed: 
Dec 30 2014

JURISDICTION

1. This is an admiralty and maritime claim within the meaning of Rule 9(h) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. Jurisdiction is predicated upon 28 U.S.C. §1333 and the General
Maritime Law of the United States.

PARTIES
2. At all material times, INDEMNITY INSURANCE COMPANY OF NORTH AMERICA
(hereinafter “IINA”) was and is a corporation with an office and place of business located at 10
Exchange Place, Jersey City, New Jersey 07302, and is the subrogated underwriter of the
consignment of bananas and pineapples laden on board the M/V STAR LEADER, as more
specifically described below.
3. At all material times, THROUGH TRANSPORT MUTUAL SERVICES (UK) LTD
(hereinafter “TT CLUB”) was and is a corporation with an office and place of business located at
90 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 4ST and is the subrogated underwriter of the containers that
were loaded on deck of the M/V STAR LEADER, as more specifically described below.
4. At all material times, DEL MONTE INTERNATIONAL GMBH - SWITZERLAND
(hereinafter “DMI” or together with FDM “DELMONTE”) was and is a corporation organized
and existing by virtue of the law of a state or country other than New York with an office and
place of business located at 241 Sevilla Avenue, Coral Gables, Florida 33134. DEL MONTE
INTERNATIONAL GMBH - SWITZERLAND was and is engaged, inter alia, in the
importation, distribution and sale of fresh fruit, including bananas and pineapples into Europe,
including Spain and Belgium and was the owner and or successor in title to a cargo of bananas
and pineapples onboard the M/V STAR LEADER in January 2014.
5. At all material times, FRESH DEL MONTE PRODUCE INC. (hereinafter “FDM” or
together with DMI “DEL MONTE”) was and is a corporation organized and existing by virtue of
the law of a state or country other than New York with an office and place of business located at
241 Sevilla Avenue, Coral Gables, Florida 33134, and was the owner and/or lessee of certain
refrigerated containers that were laden on board the M/V STAR LEADER.
6. At all material times, the M/V STAR LEADER was and is an oceangoing reefer vessel
built in 2010, that is flagged in the Singapore, has the call sign 9V9350, which engages in the
common carriage of merchandise by water for hire between various foreign and domestic ports
and which is now, or will be during the pendency of this action, within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court.
7. Upon information and belief, at all material times, defendant GRACE OCEAN PRIVATE
LTD was and is a foreign company with an office and place of business located in Singapore
owns, operates, manages and/or charters ships, including the M/V STAR LEADER, that operate
between various foreign and domestic ports and, in particular, within this district and was the
owner, owner pro hac vice, charterer, manager and/or operator of the M/V STAR LEADER, and
at all relevant times, was and is still doing business within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court.
8. Upon information and belief, at all material times, defendant STAR REEFERS POOL,
INC. (“STAR”) was and is a foreign company with an office and place of business located in
Cayman Islands, and owns, operates, manages and/or charters ships, including the M/V STAR
LEADER, that operate between various foreign and domestic ports and, in particular, within this
district and was the owner, owner pro hac vice, charterer, manager and/or operator of the M/V
STAR LEADER, and at all relevant times, was and is still doing business within the jurisdiction
of this Honorable Court.
9. This action is brought on behalf of and for the interest of all parties who may be or
may become interested in the claims herein referred to, as their respective interests may
ultimately appear, and plaintiffs are entitled to maintain this action.

FACTS
10. On or about September 25, 2009 STAR entered into a time charter with Network
Shipping Ltd. for the M/V STAR LEADER. The vessel was chartered, among other things, to
transport Del Monte bananas and pineapples in containers on deck from Central America to
various ports in Europe, including Marin, Spain and Antwerp, Belgium.
11. On or about January 23, 2014, DEL MONTE and/or their representatives delivered to the
in personam defendants and the M/V STAR LEADER, at the port of Moin, Costa Rica, a
shipment of fresh green bananas and pineapples. A portion of the fruit was loaded under deck
while other fruit was loaded into refrigerated containers and stowed on-deck of the M/V STAR
LEADER. The bananas, pineapples and containers were owned by and/or consigned and/or
leased to DEL MONTE, and were in good order and condition at the time they were delivered to
the in personam defendants and vessel for carriage aboard the M/V STAR LEADER, to
Antwerp, Belgium. The transportation was all in consideration of an agreed freight and in
accordance with the terms of one or more bills of lading, which were then and there signed and
delivered to the shipper of the cargo by the duly authorized agent, representative and/or
employee of the in personam defendants and the M/V STAR LEADER.
12. Plaintiffs refer to said bills of lading for greater certainty as to the contracts of carriage
which they represent and will produce the originals or copies thereof at trial.
13. On or about February 4, 2014 the vessel arrived in Marin, Spain and discharged her
cargo. The vessel then departed from Spain at about February 4, 2014 at 1840 hours destination
Antwerp, Belgium.
14. Upon departing Spain, the Vessel encountered a storm and on February 5, 2014, while
the vessel was in transit heading along the Portuguese coast towards Cap Finisterre, the vessel
reported that a total of 15 (fifteen) containers fell overboard into the sea and were lost and at
least one additional container toppled over on deck and broke open and damaged.
15. The vessel arrived in Antwerp on February 7, 2014.
16. As a result of the damage to the fruit that was in the containers that were lost overboard
and/or collapsed on deck, DELMONTE was damaged in the form of lost sales. In addition,
DELMONTE incurred the expense of cleaning, storing and disposing of the damaged containers
that were still on deck.
17. The losses sustained by DELMONTE were not the result of any act or omission of
DELMONTE but, on the contrary, were due solely as the result of the negligence, fault, neglect,
breach of contracts of carriage, charter and bailment on the part of in personam defendants as
well as the unseaworthiness of the M/V STAR LEADER which was discoverable by the exercise
of due diligence.
18. At all times relevant hereto, a contract of insurance for property damage was in effect
between DMI and IINA, which provided coverage for, among other things, loss or damage to the
consignment of bananas and pineapples.
19. Pursuant to the aforementioned contract of insurance between DMI and IINA, monies
have been expended on behalf of DMI to the detriment of IINA due to the damages sustained
during transit.
20. As IINA has sustained damages as a result of said expenditures, expenditures rightly the
responsibility of the defendant, IINA has an equitable right of subrogation and is subrogated, to
the extent of its expenditures, to the rights of its insured with respect to any and all claims for
damages against the defendant.
21. By reason of the foregoing, IINA has been sustained losses which will be shown with
specificity at trial, no part of which has been paid, although duly demanded, which are presently
estimated to be no less than $296,208.35.
22. At all times relevant hereto, a contract of insurance for property damage was in effect
between FDM and TT Club, which provided coverage for, among other things, loss or damage to
the refrigerated containers.
23. Pursuant to the aforementioned contract of insurance between FDM and TT Club, monies
have been expended on behalf of FDM to the detriment of the TT Club due to the damages
sustained during transit.
24. As the TT Club has sustained damages as a result of said expenditures, expenditures
rightly the responsibility of the defendant, TT Club has an equitable right of subrogation and is
subrogated, to the extent of its expenditures, to the rights of its insured with respect to any and all
claims for damages against the defendant.
25. By reason of the foregoing, TT Club has been sustained losses which will be shown with
specificity at trial, no part of which has been paid, although duly demanded, which are presently
estimated to be no less than $338,234.29.
26. Plaintiffs have a maritime lien against the M/V STAR LEADER and the in personam
defendants for the damages referred to herein and will enforce that lien in these proceedings.

AS AND FOR A FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST DEFENDANTS
27. Plaintiffs repeat, reiterate and reallege each and every allegation set forth in paragraphs 1
through 26, inclusive, as if herein set forth at length.
28. During the transit from Spain to Belgium, the vessel encountered weather conditions such
that seas washed across the weather deck of the vessel and causing the aforesaid damage to the
cargo and containers.
29. The in personam defendants and the M/V STAR LEADER failed to deliver the cargo and
containers to the plaintiffs at the intended port of destination in the same good order and
condition as when received by defendants at the port of loading.
30. The loss of the aforementioned cargo of bananas and refrigerated containers did not result
from any act or omission on the part of the plaintiffs, but to the contrary, was the result in whole
or in part, of the negligence and/or fault of the in personam defendants and/or the
unseaworthiness of the M/V STAR LEADER.
31. By reason of the foregoing, plaintiffs have sustained damages in the total amount of
$634,452.64 plus expenses, no part of which has been paid, although duly demanded.

AS AND FOR A SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST ALL DEFENDANTS
32. Plaintiffs repeat, reiterate and reallege each and every allegation set forth in paragraphs 1
through 31, inclusive, as if herein set forth at length.
33. As the owner, operator, charterer, and/or manager of the M/V STAR LEADER,
defendants Grace Ocean and Star Reefers Pool were responsible for properly manning,
maintaining and repairing the vessel and for otherwise exercising due diligence to ensure that the
vessel was seaworthy and fit to carry the cargoes that were delivered to and loaded on board the
M/V STAR LEADER during North Atlantic voyages. Moreover, the said defendants were subbailees
of the cargoes and containers referred to aforesaid and in any event, as the parties having
custody and control of the property and chattels of others, said defendants were obligated to
exercise due diligence to properly care for those cargoes and containers, a responsibility which
included exercising due diligence to ensure that the M/V STAR LEADER was seaworthy for the
voyage.
34. The losses sustained by plaintiffs were caused, in whole or in part, by the negligence and
fault of defendants, and/or their agents, representatives and independent contractors for whose
acts and omissions they was responsible, including, but not limited to, their failure to maintain
the M/V STAR LEADER in a seaworthy condition.
35. By reason of the foregoing, plaintiffs have sustained damages in the total amount of $----
$634,452.64, plus expenses, no part of which has been paid, although duly demanded.
AS AND FOR A THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST ALL DEFENDANTS
36. Plaintiffs repeat, reiterate and reallege each and every allegation set forth in paragraphs 1
through 35, inclusive, as if herein set forth at length.
37. Defendants GRACE OCEAN and STAR REEFER POOL, as managers and owners of
the M/V STAR LEADER, were responsible for manning, maintaining and repairing the vessel.
38. The damage to the cargo and containers, as described aforesaid, was caused in whole or
in part, by the negligence and fault of the said defendants in failing to properly manage and
operate the M/V STAR LEADER, in failing to properly man the vessel and to train its officers
and crew, and in failing to properly maintain the hull and machinery of the vessel.
39. By reason of the foregoing, plaintiffs have sustained damages in the total amount of
$$634,452.64, plus expenses, no part of which has been paid, although duly demanded.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs pray:
1. That process in due form of law issue against the defendants, citing them to
appear and answer under oath all and singular the matters alleged in the Complaint;
2. That if the defendants cannot be found within this District pursuant to Rule B
of the Supplemental Rules for Certain Admiralty and Maritime Claims, this Court issue an
Order directing the Clerk to issue Process of Maritime Attachment and Garnishment to secure
plaintiffs’ claims;
3. That in rem service of process be issued against the M/V STAR LEADER, her
engines, boilers, tackle, furniture, apparel, etc.; that the vessel be seized and that all those
claiming an interest in her be cited to appear and answer under oath both all and singular the
matters aforesaid;
4. The Court order, adjudge and decree that defendants pay to plaintiffs the losses
sustained herein, together with pre-judgment and post judgment interest thereon and their
costs; and,
5. That the Plaintiff has such other, further and different relief as the Court may
deem just and proper.

The provided text is an excerpt from a document filed in this case. For a full understanding of the case, one should read the complete court file, including the response.