Shot by both sides? Interpleader proceedings in the OWB saga.

 

The bankruptcy of OW Bunkers in November 2014 has led to many shipowners facing competing claims for the supply of bunkers from ING as assignee of OWB and from physical bunker suppliers. In Hapag-Lloyd Aktiengesellschaft v. U.S. Oil Trading LLC, http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/ca2/15-97/15-97-2016-02-24.html, an interpleader was filed on behalf of shipowners and an injunction obtained preventing the imminent arrests of three of vessels by U.S. Oil Trading LLC, the physical supplier of bunkers. The Second Circuit has now rejected U.S. Oil Trading’s appeal. This contrasts with the position in Singapore last year where the Court of Appeal denied interpleader proceedings in similar circumstances. It reasoned that the suppliers’ in rem claims did not compete with ING’s contractual, in personam, claims. In the UK the shipping world awaits with bated breath the decision of the Supreme Court on whether the Sale of Goods Act applies to contracts for the supply of bunkers.

Some improving TV?

A note for 1030 tomorrow and 1100 Wednesday. For those who want a degree of pre-Easter wind-down the Supreme Court is hearing the OW bunkers case (PST Energy 7 Shipping LLC v OW Bunker Malta Ltd [2015] EWCA Civ 1058; [2016] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 228). Watch the excitement live on https://www.supremecourt.uk/live/court-02.html. To remind you, the sexy issue is whether a contract to sell goods (here fuel oil) for immediate consumption on reservation of title terms is a contract for the sale of goods or something else; but there’s a good deal besides. Starring Mance, Clarke, Sumption, Hughes and Toulson: a very decent cast!

Thanks to the guys at the HFW blog for the tip.

Sale of goods — damages where no market

A straightforward sale of goods case in the CA on damages for breach of the duty to deliver where there’s no available market. Only semi-commercial, but still commercially relevant.

Dealers agree to sell a super-rare new Porsche limited edition to a buyer, then sell their allocation —  one car — to someone else (and subsequently lie about it). Apparently their objection is that the buyer might, horror of horrors, resell the car once he’s bought it: something which they rather pompously say is “against their policy”. Buyer recovers the difference between what he’d have paid under the spec he wanted (£135K) and what he’d have had to pay for a similar car elsewhere (£170K). The court confirms that s.51 SGA enacts Hadley v Baxendale in the specialised context of sale of goods. The fact that the only rough equivalent available elsewhere was just that — a very rough equivalent — is beside the point. The dealers go down for £35K plus costs. See Hughes v Pendragon Sabre Ltd (t/a Porsche Centre Bolton) [2016] EWCA Civ 18 (on BAILII).

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