In re Rationis Enterprises, as Owner of "MSC Carla"
In this case, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York held that defendants Hyundai Corporation and Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Co., Ltd. ("HMD") (collectively the "Hyundai Defendants") were liable in strict products liability and in negligence for damages arising out of the fracture of the MSC Carla’s hull while on a voyage from Le Havre to Boston in 1997. The Court held that the Hyundai Defendants, as manufacturers and sellers of an insert section welded into the Carla’s hull in 1984, were liable for all damages resulting from their failure properly to fabricate and install the insert.
DMC Category: Confirmed
Case Note contributed Brian Tretter, an attorney with the firm of Healy & Baillie, LLP, New York. Healy & Baillie are the International Contributors to this website for the United States
On November 24, 1997, the Carla encountered heavy weather en route to Boston from LeHavre. The hull of the Carla broke apart in a complete "U" along the line where the lengthening insert was welded to the stern of the vessel. The forebody of the Carla sank over a period of five days. The stern of the Carla was towed to Spain where it was scrapped. The owners of the Carla filed a limitation action as a result of the casualty. The cargo interests filed a claim in the limitation action and impleaded the Hyundai Defendants.
The Court rejected HC’s assertion that it was not responsible
for the defective workmanship because it delegated the work to HMD and it
further held that:
The Court ultimately concluded
The Court stated that under admiralty law, this was sufficient to find the Hyundai Defendants liable in strict liability and in negligence. Having established liability, the Court directed the parties to proceed with a hearing on damages.
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