The Case of the Missing Cargo
Obtained dismissal on the eve of trial in a Florida maritime litigation case. The plaintiff, together with its affiliated company in Ecuador, arranged for the transport and shipment of $600,000 of computer equipment in two shipping containers from the Port of Miami to Guayaquil, Ecuador. Over 14,000 pounds of merchandise was allegedly loaded onto the two containers, but when the containers were opened in Ecuador, one had nothing but empty pallets and the other had a case of water bottles. (An FBI investigation is ongoing.) Lawsuits were brought against the trucking company, ocean carrier and a freight forwarding company. Representing the trucking company, we determined that the plaintiff did not own the missing cargo and had failed to declare any value on the bills of lading, and the trucking company was limited to 50 cents per pound if a higher value was not declared. There was insufficient proof of other claimed damages, such as lost profits or damaged reputation, and the judge let the parties know during the final pre-trial conference that he was very skeptical of how the plaintiff would be able to support or quantify such damages.