Swift Spindrift Ltd. v. Alvada Insurance


, New York Law Journal


Magistrate Judge Frank Maas

Cargo ship M/V Swift Spindrift—owned by Liberia's Swift Spindrift Ltd.—is one of several ships comprising the "Grace Line," a fleet of ships that John and Lola Grace own through family trusts and closely held companies. The Swift Spindrift was held in Libya between November 2008 and June 17, 2010—when sold to a third party on an "as-is, where-is" basis for $2.3 million—after it was arrested in connection with an allegedly defective shipment of corn. In Swift Spindrift Ltd.'s (Swift) insurance coverage action against insurance firm and an insurance broker, the defendants (collectively Alvada) sought to compel production of email chains (the "Coverage Emails" and "Libya Emails") that Swift withheld as protected under the attorney-client privilege. Only partly granting Alvada's motion to compel the court required production of documents disclosed to "V-Ships" (a company hired by Swift to manage the Swift Spindrift's daily operations) and also any communications disclosed to third parties other than V-Ships. Swift's voluntary production of the Coverage Emails to Alvada during discovery did not warrant compulsory disclosure of other privileged documents related to the same subject matter.

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