State National Insurance Co. v. Marketing Services, Inc., No. 12-60148 (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, May 10, 2013). Copy of court-issued opinion available here.
On the first point, defendant purchaser argued that warehouse was a “carrier” under the insurance contract. The insurance contract did not define that term. And the 5th Circuit had ruled under the former version of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act that a “carrier” was “the owner or the charterer who enters into a contract of carriage with a shipper”, and under the more recent version that a “carrier” was “the owner, manager, charterer, agent, or master of a vessel”.
The court ruled that the warehouse here met neither version of the definition of “carrier”.
On the second point, relating to “theft of documents of title” – there could have been no theft from defendant since the defendant’s agent had been delivered the bill of lading. Among various functions, a bill of lading is a document of title. Hence there could have been no “theft” where the holder of the freight was in possession of the bill of lading.