Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that the plaintiff had voluntarily sought dismissal and a judge granted that request.
MIAMI – A lawsuit against a Miami business and its operator over alleged breach of contract related to a time charter was dismissed by a federal court judge less than four months after it was filed.
Asmara Services S. DE R.L. filed a complaint on July 28 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Vanguardia Energy LLC and Matthew Klann.
The complaint had alleged that parties entered into a time charter and the defendant was to transfer $375,000 to the plaintiff upon the arrival of a commercial oil and chemical tanker called Tradewind Adventure in Texas.
Vanguardia Energy had sought to dismiss the complaint and compel arbitration, arguing that its maritime contract "unambiguously" provided for arbitration for any disputes arising out of the charter.
An attorney for Vanguardia stated in a motion to dismiss or compel arbitration that he wrote to Asmara's counsel urging them to dismiss the suit.
"Asmara's current counsel indicated that this suit was filed in federal court because Plaintiff was concerned that Vanguardia would not respond to a demand for arbitration," wrote attorney Joseph DeMaria of Fox Rothschild in Miami.
"This concern is belied by the fact that, after Asmara served a demand notice on Vanguardia in May 2016, undersigned counsel informed Plaintiff's then counsel that if the parties could not resolve this dispute through negotiations, Vanguardia would be prepared to litigate the claim.
"Nevertheless, Plaintiff's alleged concern that Vanguardia would not respond to demand for arbitration was not a proper basis to ignore the mandatory arbitration clause that the parties negotiated in this conract."
Asmara moved to voluntarily dismiss the suit on Nov. 8. U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno granted the move and dismissed the case without prejudice on Nov. 10.
Vanguardia's chief operating officer Gary Stanley said the underlying dispute began with the client defaulting on its letter of credit, not by any breach of contract on its part.
He described the lawsuit as "a pure shakedown."
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida Case number 1:16-cv-23249-FAM