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The Surprising Truth About COGSA's Statute of Limitations and Why it May Not Work as a Defense

When trying to understand the details of your own denied marine insurance claim, it can be extremely helpful to research other cases. The cases might even be very different from your own. However, seeing the various defenses that are used and the outcomes of those defenses can be helpful. It provides some insight into the legal process and all the many things that need to be considered.

One interesting case is Fortin Corporate Insurance, SA v. Viken Ship Management SA and it revolves around the COGSA defenses. In this maritime shipping case, Fortis Corporate Insurance insured a cargo of 176 steel coils that belonged to Metallia LLC. During their voyage from Poland to Ohio, the coils were damaged by sea water and sustained significant rust damage. Fortis paid Metallia and then brought a lawsuit against Viken Ship Management for negligence and breach of bailment. Viken Ship Management tried to argue that the lawsuit was initiated more than a year after COGSA's statute of limitations, which meant that Viken was free and clear.

The main question throughout this appeal case was whether or not a ship manager (who is charged with providing a Master, officers and crew, while also performing other ship-management tasks) qualifies as a "carrier" under the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA). The court found that Viken Ship Management did not qualify as a COGSA carrier. Therefore, COGSA's one-year statute of limitations could not bar the underlying suit.

Marine insurance claims can be quite complicated. That is why it is important that you call The Voss Law Firm, P.C. if you suffer any kind of loss. Contact us today at 888-614-7730 to discuss your marine insurance claim, delayed payment, or denied claim. You are also welcome to request a free copy of our marine insurance company's book, Your Basic Guide to Marine Insurance.

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The Voss Law Firm, P.C. represents clients on a local, national and international basis. We proudly serve companies and individuals along the Gulf Coast and around the globe on a contingency fee basis. Our law firm collects nothing unless we recover on our client's behalf.

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