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October 1, 2014

PN Maritime Law Update: Spain Trial Court Judgment Enforceable in NY

In the summer of 2008, the cargo vessel Athena put out to sea. On July 16, 2008, Stylianos Coutsodontis, a part owner of Sea Trade Maritime Corporation, the owner of the ship, had it seized in the port of Tarragona, Spain, raising a maritime claim of $6 million. He detained the ship, according to him, to protect his interest from his sister, Anna Peters, and her son, George Peters, who own 40% and 10% shares, respectively, in Sea Trade. Sea Trade challenged the detention in the Spanish court system, which determined that there was no valid claim and awarded damages against Stylianos for bringing the bad claim against his family members. Sea Trade sought to enforce the Spanish judgment in New York.

Stylianos opposed the enforcement action arguing that the Spanish court decision was not enforceable in the U.S. New York County Supreme disagreed awarding to Sea Trade damages in the amount of $914,514.41 plus interest from July 29, 2011. The full decision can be found at the following link: http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/pdfs/2014/2014_32489.pdf

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