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Freehill Prevails in Package Limitation Case

On September 5, 2014 the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted FHM’s motion for summary judgment in the case of Engineered Arresting Systems Corporation vs. the M/V SAUDI HOFUF, 2014WL 4756420 (S.D.N.Y.). The plaintiff sought $760,000 for alleged seawater damage to six trailers carrying mobile aircraft arresting systems, which were unpackaged on the trailers. The six trailers were carried on-deck on the Roll-on Roll-off vessel SAUDI HOFUF, designed to carry automobiles, trucks and other vehicles. FHM represented the vessel and its owner and, after the completion of discovery, made a motion to limit the shipowners’ liability to $500 per trailer, based on the package limitation defense in the U.S. Carriage of Goods By Sea Act, arguing that the carriage of unpackaged vehicles on deck was customary in the roll-on roll-off trade. The court granted our motion, limiting the carrier’s liability to a total of $3,000. The case was handled by Freehill Partner Jim Ross, with assistance from partner Manny Molina and associates Eric Matheson and Yaakov Adler.