Blue Whale Corp. v. Grand China Shipping Dev. Co., Ltd., et al., No. 13-192 (2d Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
This case stemmed from a maritime contract entered into by Blue Whale and Development. Blue Whale filed a complaint in district seeking to attach property belonging to Development's alleged alter ego, HNA, in anticipation of a future arbitration award against Development pursuant to Rule B of the Supplemental Rules for Certain Admiralty and Maritime Claims. The court concluded that the district court properly applied federal maritime law to the procedural question of whether Blue Whale's claim sounded in admiralty, and the claim did sound in admiralty because it arose out of a maritime contract; the issue of the claim's prima facie validity was a substantive inquiry; however, the district court's application of English law to this question was improper because the charter's party's choice-of-law provision did not govern Blue Whale's collateral alter-ego claim against HNA; and drawing on maritime choice-of-law principles, the court held that although federal common law did not govern every claim of this nature, federal common law did apply here, primarily because of the collateral claim's close ties to the United States. Accordingly, the court remanded for reconsideration of the prima facie validity of Blue Whale's alter-ego claim under federal common law.