Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Totem Marine Tug & Barge, Inc. v. Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. case brief

Totem Marine Tug & Barge, Inc. v. Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. case brief summary
584 P.2d 15 (1978)

The Superior Court (Alaska) granted summary judgment in favor of defendant contractor in an action brought by plaintiff transporter. The transporter appealed the judgment.

The contractor hired the transporter to move construction materials by sea. Numerous problems impeded performance of the contract, and the contractor terminated the contract. The parties settled for a portion of the invoice. The transporter argued that the settlement should be avoided on the grounds of economic duress.


  • The court held that the trial court erred in denying the transporter's motion to formally publish a witness' deposition after summary judgment was entered because the parties had referred to the deposition in their memoranda and arguments. 
  • The court further held that summary judgment was not properly granted because the transporter made a sufficient factual showing to withstand the motion for summary judgment as to each of the elements of economic duress by showing that it was the victim of a wrongful threat, and the threat deprived it of its unfettered will.

The summary judgment was reversed and remanded.

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