Articles Posted in U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

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Federal Insurance Company (FIC) sued for damage to property destroyed during the inland leg of international intermodal carriage where FIC was the subrogee of the shipper which contracted with an ocean carrier, APL Co. Ptc. Ltd. (APL), to ship goods from Singapore to Alabama. The district court ruled that a covenant not to sue in the through bill of lading required FIC to sue the carrier, APL, rather than the subcontractor. At issue was what legal regime applied to the shipment's inland leg under the through bill of lading and whether the applicable legal regime prohibited the covenant not to sue. The court held that the district court did not err by enforcing the covenant not to sue and granting summary judgment to the subcontractor where the requirements that FIC sue APL directly was valid under the Hague Rules and the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA), 46 U.S.C. 30701. View "Fed. Ins. Co. v. Union Pacific Railroad Co." on Justia Law

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Resolute Industries, Inc. ("Resolute"), appealed an adverse summary judgment on its products liability claims against Webasto Products NA, Inc. ("Webasto"), the manufacturer of a heater that caught fire on Curtis Oswalt's boat during repairs performed by Resolute's employee. Resolute also challenged a judgment in Oswalt's favor on his claim against Resolute for breach of the implied warranty of workmanlife performance. At issue was whether the district court correctly rejected Resolute's products liability claims, correctly found Resolute liable to Oswalt, and properly awarded Oswalt and his insurer damages for surveyor's fees and for the loss of use of the boat during repairs. The court held that the district court properly granted summary judgment to Webasto on Resolute's inadequate warnings claim, but erroneously granted summary judgment on the design defect claim. The court further held that the court properly held Resolute liable on Oswalt's implied warranty claim and properly awarded damages for loss of use and surveyor's fees. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part and vacated in part the judgment of the district court and remanded for further proceedings on Resolute's design defect claim. View "Oswalt, et al. v. Resolute Industries Inc, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, Ecuadorian members of a fishing boat, sued the United States for damages that resulted from the United States Coast Guard's ("Coast Guard") stop of plaintiffs' boat in international waters near the Galapagos Islands under suspicion of plaintiffs' involvement with smuggling drugs. The Coast Guard performed tests on plaintiffs' boat that yielded inconclusive results and the Ecuadorian government conducted further tests which resulted in no contraband and no charges filed against plaintiffs. At issue was whether the United States waived its sovereign immunity under numerous sources. The court held that non-congressional sources were not acts of Congress and did not effect a waiver of sovereign immunity. The court also held that the Military Claims Act, Alien Tort Statute, and a bilateral treaty concerning the Air Force base at Manta, Ecuador did not waive sovereign immunity. The court further held that the Public Vessels Act ("PVA"), Suits in Admiralty Act, and Federal Tort Claims Act provided waivers of sovereign immunity. The court finally held that if a suit falls within the scope of the PVA, 46 U.S.C. 31102, plaintiffs must meet the reciprocity requirement of the PVA regardless of the type of claim they assert. Therefore, the court vacated and remanded to give the parties and the district court additional opportunity to determine whether reciprocity exists under Ecuadorian Law.

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Plaintiff sued defendant, the Executive Officer of the California Air Resources Board ("CARB"), alleging that California's Vessel Fuel Rules ("VFR")violated federal statutory and constitutional grounds. At issue was whether the VFR was preempted by the Submerged Lands Act and whether the VFR was preempted by the Commerce Clause and Supremacy Clause. The court held that summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff was properly denied where plaintiff failed to demonstrate that the VFR was "otherwise 'unlawful and impermissibly regulate navigation and foreign and domestic commerce as delegated to the United States Congress'" under the Submerged Lands Act. The court also held that summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff was properly denied where the Commerce Clause or general maritime law should be used to bar a state from exercising its own police powers when such powers were used to combat severe environmental problems.