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Canada Malting Co., Ltd. v. Paterson Steamships, Ltd., 285 U.S. 413 (1932)

Canada Malting Co., Ltd. v. Paterson Steamships, Ltd.

No. 487

Argued February 25, 1932

Decided April 11, 1932*

285 U.S. 413


1. In a suit in admiralty between foreigners, it is ordinarily within the discretion of the district court to refuse to retain jurisdiction, and the exercise of its discretion will not be disturbed unless abused. P. 285 U. S. 418.

2. This rule applies even though the cause of action arose in this country. Pp. 285 U. S. 418-419.

3. Two ships of Canadian registry and ownership, each carrying cargo shipped from one Canadian port to another, collided on Lake Superior while unintentionally in United States waters, and one ship sank. While suit was pending in a Canadian court of admiralty to determine liability as between the ships, libels in personam against the owner of one of them were filed by cargo owners in a federal district court in New York. All the parties were citizens of Canada, and the officers and crew of each vessel -- the material witnesses -- were citizens and residents of that country. Opposing affidavits alleged that the motive of the cargo owners in coming to a court of the United States lay in the opportunity in our law to recover full damages from the noncarrying vessel, whereas, in Canada, the liability would be divided equally between the two vessels if both were at fault. The district court dismissed the libels, but ordered that the respondent should appear and file security in any action which might be instituted by the libelants in the admiralty

Page 285 U. S. 414

courts of Canada, so that they would not, by dismissal of the libels, lose the security gained by foreign attachment.

Held that the refusal to retain jurisdiction was not an abuse of discretion. P. 285 U. S. 423.

51 F.2d 1007 affirmed.

Certiorari, 284 U.S. 612, to review the affirmance of decrees dismissing three libels in admiralty. 49 F.2d 802, 804.

Page 285 U. S. 417

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