Shipping company sued over delivery of rotten South American fruit

By The Penn Record | Jul 22, 2014

Eugene Maginnis

Two California-based produce distributors have filed a federal civil suit against a New York shipping company based on the loss of more than $65,000 in fresh fruit from South America that rotted during its journey to Philadelphia.

The owners of Green Earth Produce Trading, Inc., in Vernon, Calif., and Alberts Organic in San Francisco claim that sub-standard practices and negligent behavior by Mediterranean Shipping Company contributed directly to the poor condition of the produce. Both companies seek full restitution for what they call unusable fruit.

According to the complaint, in January 2014, a large delivery of fruit cultivated in South America was placed in shipping containers in good order and condition and loaded onto two ships, the Helene and the Kiel Trader at a port in Paita, Peru. Green Earth Produce Trading had claim to $38,000 worth of the fruit, and Alberts Organic consigned $30,000 of the product.

During delivery, the containers were transferred to two other vessels, the Woge and the Caribbean Voyage. The new ships carried the load the rest of the way, docking at the Philadelphia port. The plaintiffs claim that when they received the fruit, it was not in the same good condition as when it left Peru and was, in fact, damaged and unfit for sale or use.

The claim says that the Mediterranean Shipping Company breached its obligations as a carrier of goods and failed to provide a seaworthy vessel for the transport of the product. The plaintiffs also claim that the ships' crews failed to find a seaworthy place to stow the cargo and provide the requested temperature for the shipment. Efforts were made to recover payments from the shipping company, but contact attempts have been ignored, the claim says.

The plaintiffs are represented by Philadelphia attorney Eugene Maginnis of Dugan, Brinkmann, Maginnis and Pace.

The federal case ID number is 2:14-cv-04345-LDD.


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