Friday, February 24, 2017

Case of the Day: A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S v. Safewater Lines (I) Pvt. Ltd., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13227 (S.D. Tex. Jan. 31, 2017)


Plaintiff Maersk sued the defendant Samrat Container Lines, Inc. to recover clean up costs arising from a spill of hydrochloric acid from a shipping container. Samrat cross-claimed against defendant Safewater Lines. Cross-claim defendant Safewater is an Indian company, which never appeared before the court on this issue. Maersk then settled with Safewater, and sought to dismiss the claim against Safewater.

Samrat opposed the dismissal. The court found that Samrat cannot oppose a voluntary dismissal against another defendant, even if Samrat cross-claimed.  The court also denied Samrat's request for entry of default against Safewater, because Samrat did not effectuate proper service under the Hague Convention as required to serve an Indian company.


Here is a staple of transnational litigation--handling complicated procedural posture involving multiple parties, some of whom are based outside of the United States. Here, defendant Samrat was acting in a sloppy and unsophisticated manner as it was attempting to implead a third party defendant. When you are entering into these choppy waters, you gotta do your homework--like ensuring you served the defendant properly.

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