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U.S. Supreme Court

Charter Shipping Co., Ltd. v. Bowring, Jones & Tidy, Ltd., 281 U.S. 515 (1930)

Charter Shipping Co., Ltd. v. Bowring, Jones & Tidy, Ltd.

No. 397

Argued April 22, 1930

Decided May 19, 1930

281 U.S. 515


1. The retention of jurisdiction of a suit in admiralty between foreigners is within the discretion of the district court, and the exercise of that discretion may not be disturbed unless abused. P. 281 U. S. 517.

2. Liability in general average arises not from contract, but from participation in the common venture, and its extent in the absence of limiting clauses in the bill of lading is, under the admiralty rule, fixed by the law of the port of destination. Id.

3. In a suit in admiralty between British corporations for the recovery of a general average deposit made in London to release cargo shipped from ports in the United States, the litigation apparently involving the application of the law of England to a fund there located, but it being claimed that limiting clauses in the bills of lading modified the liability in general average so as to put in issue the seaworthiness of the vessel at the beginning of the voyage, on which question there were American witnesses, held:

(1) It was for the district court, upon consideration of all the circumstances, to say whether it should decline jurisdiction. P. 281 U. S. 518.

(2) In declining jurisdiction, the district court cannot be said to have improvidently exercised it discretion. Id.

Page 281 U. S. 516

(3) The question of convenience of witnesses was for the District Judge to consider and determine. Id., 33 F.2d 280, reversed.

Certiorari, 280 U.S. 545, to review a decree of the circuit court of appeals which reversed a decree of the district court declining jurisdiction of a suit in admiralty between foreigners to recover a general average deposit made in a foreign port.

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