United States District Court, S.D. Florida
ORDER ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
G. COOKE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a breach of contract and negligence action arising from a
marine shipping agreement gone sour. Plaintiff Miami
Warehouse Logistics, Inc. (“MWL”), a warehousing,
distribution, and logistics company, seeks compensatory
damages from Defendant Seaboard Marine Ltd.
(“Seaboard”), an ocean transport company, for a
spoiled shipment of goods. I have jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. §§ 1333 and 1441.
is Seaboard's Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 14).
I have reviewed the Motion, the parties' supporting and
opposing briefs, the record, and the relevant legal
authorities. For the reasons that follow, I grant the Motion.
October 2015, MWL was a freight forwarder for PepsiCo, Inc.
(“PepsiCo”), an international beverage company.
(ECF No. 15-1 at 6:3-6). During that time, MWL hired Seaboard
to ship thirty-five drums of PepsiCo's cranberry
concentrate from the United States to the Dominican Republic.
(ECF Nos. 1-2 ¶ 6). The initial bill of lading
mistakenly specified a shipping temperature of sixty-four
degrees. (Id. ¶ 7). MWL later changed the bill
of lading to specify the correct shipping temperature, zero
degrees. (Id. Ex. A). Seaboard acknowledged the
change and, on October 19, 2015, loaded the concentrate into
a shipping container bound for the Dominican Republic.
(Id. ¶ 7-8). It did not, however, cool the
container to the correct shipping temperature at any point
during the voyage. (Id. ¶ 9).
concentrate arrived at the Dominican Republic on October 28,
2015. (Id. ¶ 10). When MWL and PepsiCo learned
that Seaboard had not shipped the concentrate at the correct
temperature, they contacted Ocean Spray, the manufacturer, to
determine if the concentrate was still suitable for
consumption. (Id.). Ocean Spray responded that it
was not. (Id. ¶ 11). MWL used trade credits to
reimburse PepsiCo for the spoiled concentrate, and filed a
claim with Seaboard seeking its own reimbursement.
(Id. ¶ 12). When Seaboard denied that claim,
MWL brought this action in state court, alleging state-law
claims for breach of contract and negligence, and seeking
unspecified damages. (Id. ¶¶ 13, 16-24).
Seaboard timely removed. (ECF No. 1).
judgment “shall be granted if the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there
is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of
law.” Allen v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 121 F.3d 642
(11th Cir. 1997) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)) (internal
quotations omitted); Damon v. Fleming Supermarkets of
Florida, Inc., 196 F.3d 1354, 1358 (11th Cir. 1999).
Thus, the entry of summary judgment is appropriate
“against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient
to establish the existence of an element essential to that
party's case, and on which that party will bear the
burden of proof at trial.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
moving party bears the initial burden to show the district
court, by reference to materials on file, that there are no
genuine issues of material fact that should be decided at
trial.” Clark v. Coats & Clark, Inc., 929
F.2d 604, 608 (11th Cir. 1991). “Only when that burden
has been met does the burden shift to the non-moving party to
demonstrate that there is indeed a material issue of fact
that precludes summary judgment.” Id.
“requires the nonmoving party to go beyond the
pleadings and by her own affidavits, or by the
‘depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, ' designate ‘specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.”
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324. Thus, the nonmoving party
“may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of
his pleadings, but must set forth specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial.” Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
factual dispute is genuine if the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving
party.” Damon, 196 F.3d at 1358. “A mere
‘scintilla' of evidence supporting the opposing
party's position will not suffice; there must be enough
of a showing that the jury could reasonably find for that
party.” Abbes v. Embraer Servs., Inc., 195 F.
App'x 898, 899-900 (11th Cir. 2006) (quoting Walker
v. Darby, 911 F.2d 1573, 1577 (11th Cir. 1990)). When
deciding whether summary judgment is appropriate, “the
evidence, and all inferences drawn from the facts, must be
viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party.” Bush v. Houston County Commission, 414
F. App'x 264, 266 (11th Cir. 2011).
offers several arguments in support of its Motion: (1) the
Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, 46 U.S.C. § 30701, et
seq. (“COGSA”) preempts MWL's claims;
(2) MWL's claims are time-barred under COGSA; (3)
Seaboard's liability is limited to $17, 500.00 under
COGSA; (4) the Economic Loss Rule bars MWL's negligence
claim; (4) MWL cannot collect damages for its voluntary
reimbursement of PepsiCo; and (5) the Complaint does not
state a viable claim for attorney's fees. I focus on the
first two arguments, as they are dispositive.
applies to all foreign trade contracts for the carriage of
goods by sea to or from United States ports. 46 U.S.C. §
30712. The Act governs, inter alia, a carrier's
duties with respect to cargo from loading until discharge.
See Crowley Am. Transp., Inc. v. Richard Sewing Mach.
Co., 172 F.3d 781, 785 & n.6 (11th Cir. 1999). The
parties may, however, agree to apply COGSA to other periods
of transit by so indicating in the bill ...