U.S. Sixth Circuit - The FindLaw 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Rulings in a Maritime Shipping Case for Rusting Steel Coils and a Criminal Case

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decided a criminal case and a maritime shipping case.

In Fortis Corp. Ins. SA. v. Viken Ship Mgmt. AS, No. 08-4478, the court decided a maritime shipping case involving a claim for rust damage to steel coils caused by exposure to seawater.  In affirming the district court's judgment the court held that a ship manager charged with providing a Master, officers and crew, and performing various other ship-management tasks for the shipping vessel is not a "carrier" under the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA), and as such, the one year statute of limitations does not bar the underlying suit.  The court also concluded that the district court's finding of negligence was not based on clearly erroneous factual findings.

In US v. Almany, No. 08-6027, the court faced a challenge to the district court's sentencing of a defendant convicted of drug and firearm related crimes. In remanding the case for resentencing, the court first addressed the issue of defendant's waiver of appeal and held that the district court committed plain error by failing to probe defendant's understanding of the appellate waiver provision of his plea agreement.  Next, the court held that the district court erred by sentencing defendant to both a five-year mandatory minimum under the firearm statute and a ten-year mandatory minimum under the drug statute.

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