A DISTRICT COURT HAD SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION OVER A BREACH OF MARITIME CONTRACT ACTION PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C.S. § 1333(1), AS THE BREACH OF THE BILLS OF LADING AND SERVICE CONTRACTS CONFERRED ADMIRALTY JURISDICTION ON THE DISTRICT COURT; ALTERNATIVELY, IT HAD DIVERSITY JURISDICTION PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C.S. § 1332(A)(2).
SINOTRANS CONTAINER LINES CO., LTD., Plaintiff-Appellee, v. NORTH CHINA CARGO SERVICES, Defendant-Appellant.
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 10400
May 21, 2010, Filed
Appellant cargo service sought review of an order from the United States District Court for the Central District of California, which granted summary judgment to appellee ocean carrier in its action, seeking demurrage/detention charges, storage charges, and other damages due to the service’s failure to accept delivery of cargo pursuant to the parties’ contract.
The service contracted with the carrier to have it transport containers of waste paper by sea to China. However, upon arrival, the service refused to accept delivery of the containers and clear them through customs. Accordingly, Chinese port authorities took the containers into custody for over two years. The carrier filed suit, and the district court denied the service’s dismissal motion. Thereafter, it granted summary judgment to the carrier. On appeal, the court found that the district court had subject matter jurisdiction over the matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C.S. § 1333(1). The service’s breach of the bills of lading and service contracts, which were maritime in nature, conferred admiralty jurisdiction on the district court. Alternatively, it had diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.S. § 1332(a)(2), based on the parties’ citizenship and the amount in controversy. There were no factual disputes regarding damages that precluded summary judgment. Dismissal based on forum non conveniens was not warranted, as the service failed to show that there was an adequate alternative forum. The majority of public and private interest factors weighed against dismissal on that basis.
The court affirmed the order of the district court.