Montreal Convention’s notice provision spoils shipper’s damaged vegetables claim

Montreal Conventions notice provision spoils shippers damaged vegetablesclaim

Mas & Sons Jardiniers, Ltd. v. Florida West International Airways, Inc. (Fla. 3d DCA Oct. 7, 2015). The shipper/plaintiff alleged that it had sustained damages because Florida West failed to timely release fresh vegetables it had transported by air from Guatemala and Costa Rica to Miami. Due to logistical problems involving payment for the cargo, its release was delayed. The plaintiff then had a USDA inspection performed, which showed that the vegetables were exhibiting signs of early stages of decay. As a result, when the drivers of the trucking company hired by the plaintiff picked up the cargo, they signed the air waybills Receive/Protest.

The plaintiff alleged that some of the vegetables had to be destroyed and that it had to sell the remainder at a reduced price. The plaintiff sent the first written notice of its claim to Florida West 28 days after the cargo was released to the trucking company, although the plaintiff had given verbal notice of its claim to the carrier prior to that time.

Florida West moved for summary judgment on the grounds that the plaintiff had failed to comply with Article 31 of the Montreal Convention, which required that the plaintiff submit its damage claim in writing within fourteen days from the date of receipt of the cargo. The plaintiff argued that fact issues pertaining to the Receive/Protest air waybill notations and its verbal claim notice precluded summary judgment. The court disagreed. Consistent with well-established caselaw, the court strictly construed Article 31, ruling that the Receive/Protest notations were insufficient because they failed to adequately inform the carrier of the nature of the damage and that timely written notice was required even if the carrier had actual knowledge of the damage.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, January 28th, 2016 at 9:10 pm and is filed under Airlines, Cargo loss and damage, Submission of baggage and cargo claims, Waybills.You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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