The shipbroker had entered into an exclusive commission agreement with a shipowner, which provided for commission of 5 per cent to be paid to the broker on the sale of any of its fleet of vessels, even if sold through another broker. The broker heard that two of the owner’s ships had been sold through another broker for Euros 3.3m each. The owner refused to pay the broker’s commission of Euros 303, 000, lawyers were appointed, and the commission claim was brought before the courts in January 2013. The court found for the broker and awarded it the commission of Euros 303, 000, plus interest and costs.
The owner appealed the decision to the supreme court, alleging that the broker who had initially handled the sale had been incompetent. The owner also involved the local shipbrokers’ association in an attempt to demonstrate that the broker’s employee had fallen short of industry standards. The local association responded in favour of the shipbroker to the allegations of incompetence posed by the shipowner.
Before the expense of a trial in the supreme court had been incurred, the owner approached the broker with an offer of settlement at the commission amount of Euros 303, 000 without interest and without the payment of costs. The shipbroker was willing to forgo the interest, and settlement was agreed at the commission amount of Euros 303, 000 plus the costs awarded by the first instance court of $32, 300. The costs incurred in the early stages of the supreme court proceedings were waived.
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