Eight produce companies have filed federal court cases this year seeking more than $280,000 from a New York City shipping company for failing to maintain correct refrigeration temperatures, the most recent involving mangoes from Peru.
Two California companies — Albert’s Organics of San Francisco, and Green Earth Produce Trading Inc. of Vernon — jointly filed the most recent case July 18 in U.S. District Court against Mediterranean Shipping Co. Inc. The California produce companies want a total of $68,000 to cover losses for Peruvian mangoes that were rotten when they arrived in Pennsylvania.
The complaint from Albert’s Organics and Green Earth is similar to seven other federal civil cases filed this year against the shipping line. All of the cases contend the shipping line failed to maintain correct temperatures for fresh fruit during transit. The lawsuits allege negligence and breach of contract, according to court documents.
Three of the cases have been settled and dismissed, according to court records. A fourth case was dismissed but court documents did not indicate whether a settlement was reached.
Attorneys for the shipping company had not filed an answer to the case filed by Albert’s Organics and Green Earth as of July 24. The shipping company denied allegations in the other pending cases, as well as denying the allegations in the cases that have been dismissed.
Cases filed this year against Mediterranean Shipping involving improper temperatures for fresh produce include:
- Sunshine Export SAC, Peru, seeking $8,500 for 5,544 cases of mangoes. Filed Feb. 4 and settled May 28;
- Panorama Produce Sales Inc, New York City, seeking $39,000 for two reefer containers of mangoes. Filed Feb. 4 and unresolved;
- Frutera San Fernando SA, Chile, seeking $21,000 for 2,528 cases of plums and pears. Filed Feb. 26 and unresolved;
- Agricom LTDA, Chile, seeking $68,000 for an unspecified amount of avocados. Filed March 31 and settled July 3;
- Exportadora Verfrut SA, Chile, seeking $14,000 for 1,900 cases of grapes. Filed April 7 and settled July 16;
- Exportadora Verfrut SA, Chile, seeking $13,200 for 1,440 cases of clementines. Filed May 16 and dismissed July 15. Settlement status not indicated by court; and
- Giumarra Agricom International LLC, Escondido, Calif., and Agricom LTDA, Chile, seeking a total of $50,000 for 1,920 cases of avocados. Filed June 3 and unresolved.