MSC to appeal default judgement against it in US case

Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) has said that it will be appealing a court decision in the US to fine it nearly $950,000 in a legal dispute with American furniture company MCS Industries.

Judge Erin Wirth’s fined MSC $944,655 over an alleged failure to meet contractual obligations after it Wirth ruled that MSC had failed to supply the correct documents in time. The lawsuit was launched 18 months ago.

“MSC will appeal Judge Wirth’s January 13th 2023 interim decision, which did not address the merits of the case. MSC will continue to vigorously defend itself against MCS Industries’ baseless claims. The judge’s decision to award MCS Industries damages for losses it has never proved is in error and is not final,” claimed an MSC statement from its press office. 

MSC has claimed that MCS Industries’ difficulties with its cargo bookings arose from errors and communication issues between MCS Industries and third-party intermediaries, and not as a result of any wrongdoing by MSC. 

“MCS Industries is seeking to hold MSC liable for not carrying cargo MCS never asked it to carry, and the decision to award it damages for harm it has never proved is in error,” MSC asserted.

MCS Industries also filed suit against China-based COSCO, but that carrier settled with the Pennsylvania firm in the autumn of 2021.

A number of similar cases have been brought by shippers against the shipping companies, many of which are being examined by the Federal Maritime Commission in Washington DC. The allegations generally claim that the carriers exploited unfairly and illegally the sudden boom in container shipping rates, either by failing to fulfil contracts already agreed, or attempting to impose future certain conditions on the shippers if they wanted the contracts to be fulfilled.