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Date:   31 January 2002
Court:   Copenhagen Maritime and Commercial Court
Local case reference:   n7a
CISG Nordic ID:   020131DK
Country of decision:   Denmark
Buyer's country:   Russia
Seller's country:   Denmark
Goods involved:   Mackarel
Case history:   n/a
Original language:   Danish
Provisions cited:   CISG articles 7, 35, 36, 38, 39, 44, 45, 49, 92
Original court document:   Reported below in full text.
Rapporteur:   Thomas Neumann
Case citations:   n/a

 

Commentary

Lookofsky, Joseph, Comments on CISG Article 8, 9 and 35, CISG W3 Database.

Bernstein & Lookofsky, Understanding the CISG in Europe, 2d ed., Kluwer (2003) §: 3-1 n.10; §: 4-4 n .42.

DiMatteo, Larry A. et al., The Interpretive Turn in International Sales Law: An Analysis of Fifteen Years of CISG Jurisprudence, Northwestern Journal of International Law & Business (Winter 2004) 299-440 at nn.341, 368, 395, 607.

CISG Advisory Council Opinion 2: Examination of the Goods and Notice of Non-Conformity Articles 38 and 39, Table of cases.

Kruisinga, S.A., 2004, (Non-)conformity in the 1980 UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods: a uniform concept?, Intersentia at 67.

Schlechtriem & Schwenzer ed., Commentary on UN Convention on International Sale of Goods, 2d (English) ed., Oxford University Press,2005, Art. 35 para. 10 Art. 38 para. 14 Art. 44 para. 17.

Henschel, René Franz, The Conformity of Goods in International Sales, Forlaget Thomson (2005) 107 et seq., 121, 158.

 

Abstract

by Andersen, Camilla Baasch. Reproduced with permission from Pace Law School.

The case concerns frozen fish (mackerel), which the buyer considered non-conforming as it was not the type of mackerel he ordered. However, since he had not objected to a written specification detailing the type of mackerel ("Trachurus Symmetricus Murphyi"), the Court dismissed this argument.

The Court also determined that the buyer could not rely on a subsequently established non-conformity regarding the quality of the fish, as the buyer had not adequately examined the fish upon delivery to discover this (Art. 38) and had thus not given the seller notice of non-conformity within a reasonable time specifying the problem (Art. 39). The Court did not find the fact that the buyer considered the contract avoided on the grounds of the fish being the wrong type to constitute a reasonable excuse under Article 44.

Although this judgment does not refer to foreign case law directly in its rationae, it cites the arguments of the seller who does (by paraphrasing the Dutch mozarella-cheese case Rechtbank Roermond of 19 December 1991 in its conviction that the buyer could and should have defrosted a sample of the goods to determine the quality of the goods upon delivery in accordance with his duty under Article 38). Moreover, the transcript of the case reflects the seller's reference to foreign CISG case law, which seems to have swayed the court.

Abstracts are also available at CISG W3 and Unilex

 

Translated text

Judgment of the Maritime and Commercial Court
of Copenhagen of 31 January 2002
Transcript
- Claims
- Facts
- Evidence of the Parties
- Legal Arguments
- Grounds of the Judgment
Case No. H-0126-98 1
Dr. S. Sergueev Handelsagentur v. DAT-SCHAUB A/S
* Court composed of Claus Forum Petersen, Jørgen Sieverts, Niels Hofman Laursen.
* Appearances: Anders Aagaard, advokat, for the buyer; Thomas O. Smitt-Jeppesen, advokat, for the seller.
The main issues in this case are whether a consignment of fish delivered by the Defendant DAT-SCHAUB A/S (hereinafter referred to as "[Seller]") to the Plaintiff Dr. S. Sergueev Handelsagentur (hereinafter referred to as "[Buyer]") conformed to the specifications in the order, whether the fish had been caught in November/December 1996 as required by the contract, and whether the notice of lack of conformity as to the period of catch had been given in time by [Buyer].
Claims
[Buyer] claims that [Seller] be ordered to pay US $107,299, alternatively a smaller amount determined by the court plus interest on it as from 29 June 1997, alternatively as from a later date.
Particulars:
Prepayment to [Seller] US $ 70,000
Customs duty US $ 5,459
Customs duty US $ 100
Unloading US $ 477
SGS report US $ 1,260
Expenses to Vaara & Partners US $ 2,590
Storage expenses US $ 29,563
Less income on resale US $ -2,120
Total US $107,229
[Seller] moves for dismissal of the buyer's claim, alternatively dismissal of the buyer's claim for the payment of a smaller amount.
[Seller] claims separately that [Buyer] be ordered to pay US $5,822.75 plus interest as from 23 July 1997. This amount equals the balance owing on the consignment of fish after the prepayment of US $70,000 made by [Buyer].
[Buyer] moves for dismissal of the separate claim by the seller.
De Poel Import Export BV, the Netherlands (hereinafter referred to as "de Poel") was brought in as a third party to the proceedings by [Seller] seeking an indemnity for any amount it might be ordered to pay in the main proceedings.
Based on an agreement between the parties to the case, the court decided to hear the main proceedings separately pursuant to section 253 of the Danish Administration of Justice Act.
Before the case was set down for judgment, [Seller] discontinued the third party proceedings.
Facts
In a fax of 2 December 1996 to [Seller], de Poel offered to deliver "80 tons of frozen mackerel, Whole Round" from Peru in boxes of 22.5 kg at a price of US $865 per metric ton. Time of delivery was indicated as "beginning of January 1997".
Following a telephone conversation between [Buyer] and Mr. Torben Sørensen of [Seller] at the end of January 1997 concerning the delivery of mackerel, [Seller] received confirmation from de Poel that de Poel was still able to deliver under the terms of the offer of 2 December 1996. Consequently, [Seller] informed [Buyer] that delivery could be effected. [Buyer] asked for further specifications and [Seller] requested and received further specifications from de Poel for the purpose of preparing the information requested by [Buyer]. On 3 February 1997 de Poel faxed its specifications to [Seller] showing that the product was "Tiefgefrorene Mackerel – Whole Round", "400-500 gr." from Peru with the Latin name "Trachurus Symmetricus Murphyi", packed in boxes of 22.5 kg. The fax also stated: "Date of production: November/December 1996".
Later on 3 February 1997, [Seller] faxed the specifications to [Buyer]'s Russian customer in St. Petersburg and to [Buyer] in Germany. The fax, which was signed by Mr. Christian Lommer of [Seller], read:
"Lieber Herr Sergueev [Buyer],
Betr. Bastardmakrele für Rußland.
Mit Referenz an Ihr Telefongespräch mit Herrn Sørensen betr. Makrele senden wir Ihnen hiermit Spezifikation wie versprochen:

Ware: Tiefgefrorene Makrele, ganz gefroren (whole Round)

Grösse: 400-500 gr./Stück

Ursprung - Peru

Lateinischer Name: Trachurus Symmetricus Murphyi

Verpackung: 22, 5 Kg. net pro Karton

Produktionsdatum: Nov/Dez. 1996

Wir hoffen bald von Ihnen zu hören.

[Dear Mr. Sergueev [Buyer]
Horse Mackerel for Russia
Referring to your telephone conversation with Mr. Sørensen concerning the mackerel, we hereby send you the promised specifications:
Product: Frozen mackerel (whole round)
Size: 400-500 gr. each
Origin: Peru
Latin name: Trachurus Symmetricus Murphyi
Packing: boxes of 22.5 kg net
Date of production: Nov./Dec. 1996.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.]
After having read the specifications, [Buyer] placed his order.
The order confirmation of 5 February 1997 from [Seller] described the goods as "WHOLEROUND MACKEREL". The Latin name of the goods, which was mentioned in the specification, was not found in the order confirmation, but the information about the size of the fish, place of origin and the weight of the boxes had been repeated.
[Seller] then ordered the consignment of fish from de Poel at a price of US $800 per metric ton. It appears from [Seller]'s invoice to [Buyer] that the consignment was sold to [Buyer] for US $1,175 per metric ton. In the invoice the fish was referred to as "WHOLE ROUND MACKEREL" from Peru without the Latin name, but the information about size and the weight of the boxes had been repeated. The goods were to be transported in three trucks from Harlingen in the Netherlands on 10 February 1997 to [Buyer]'s customer, "Minos", in St. Petersburg, Russia.
It appeared from the CMR waybills that the consignment consisted of 956 boxes of "frozen Mackerel, whole round", that the temperature of the goods on loading should be -20º C. The temperature during transport was also specified as -20º C.
A Dutch "Health Certificate" dated 10 February 1997 with pre-printed text in both Russian and English accompanied the CMR waybills. The English text concerning the goods included the following particulars:
"Name of product: Mackerel
Species (scientific name): Trachurus Symmetricus Murphyi
State of processing: frozen, Whole Round
Temperature during storage and transport -20° C
d) The fish or/and fishery product is/are fit for human consumption."
The producer was identified as "Corporacion de Pesca S.A."
The goods arrived in St. Petersburg on 17 February 1997 and were delivered to [Buyer]'s buyer on 19 February 1997. From that date and until end-1997, the goods were stored in refrigerated wagons. Shortly after the delivery of the goods, [Buyer]'s customer sent a notice that the goods did not conform to the species required by the contract to [Buyer], who then telephoned his notice of lack of conformity to [Seller].
On 10 March 1997 [Buyer] sent an invoice for US $75,822.75 together with the following letter to [Seller] addressed to Mr. Torben Sørensen:
" .... hiermit erhalten Sie die Rechnung für die falschen Lieferung Makrele nach St. Petersburg. Die ganze Menge steht nach wie vor in St.,Petersburg Ihnen zur Verfügung. Ich bekam die Rechnung von meinem Kunde und muss so schnell wie möglich ihm das Geld zurück überweisen. Nach Ihren Wunsch kann mein Kunde die Ware Ihnen nach Dänemark oder nach Moskau zurückliefern ...."
[...I hereby send you an invoice for wrongful delivery of mackerel to St. Petersburg. All the goods are still at your disposal in St. Petersburg. I received the invoice from my customer and will have to repay him as soon as possible. My customer is willing to return the goods to you in Denmark or to Moscow according to your instructions...]
In a fax of 11 March 1997 [Seller] (Mr. Sørensen) replied to [Buyer]'s letter stating, inter alia:
"Wir haben zum ersten Mal am 31.01 1997 über diesen Auftrag gesprochen. Am Montag den 03.02.1997 haben wir über die genaue Spezifikation gesprochen und wir haben alle Informationen über diesen Auftrag per Fax geschickt. Auch der Lateinische Name "Trachurus Symmetricus Murphyi".
Am Mittwoch Nachmittag haben Sie drei LKW's bestätigt und wir am 06.02.1997 eine Auftragsbestätigung mit falschen Spezifikation an Ihnen geschickt.
Unsere Meinung nach haben wir die genaue Spezifikation an Ihnen geschickt und deswegen sind wir nicht verantwortlich dass der Kunde nicht die waren gebrauchen kann.
Aber wir werden noch einmal versuchen die Waren an einen anderen Kunden zu verkaufen ...."
[We first discussed this order on 31 January 1997. On Monday 3 February 1997 we discussed the exact specifications of the goods and sent you all the information by fax. Also the Latin name "Trachurus Symmetricus Murphyi". Wednesday afternoon you agreed to the three trucks, and on 6 February 1997 we sent you an order confirmation containing wrong specifications. We believe that we sent you the exact specifications and that we are therefore not to blame if your buyer has no use of the goods. However, we will again try to sell the goods to another buyer...]
Then followed an exchange of several letters between the lawyers representing the parties.
In a letter of 22 May 1997, [Buyer]'s lawyer argued that [Seller] was liable to pay damages and asked [Seller] to "... cooperate and take back the goods in order to mitigate the loss on resale". In a letter of 29 May 1997 the damages were assessed to US $75,822.75 and the letter ended: "We reserve the right to claim interest under the provisions of the Danish Interest on Overdue Payments Act".
In his letters, [Seller]'s lawyer disputed the buyer's claims. In a letter of 3 June 1997, he wrote, inter alia: "I urge your client to take the necessary steps to mitigate the loss..."
After a meeting between the parties on 20 June 1997, where the parties failed to reach an agreement, [Seller]'s lawyer sent a letter dated 23 June 1997 in which he demanded payment of the balance of the price, US $5,822.75, and also claimed interest under the provisions of section 3(2) of the Danish Interest on Overdue Payments Act.
In a letter of 29 July 1997, [Buyer]'s lawyer maintained "the avoidance of the contract by my client and his claim for repayment of the price paid" and he observed that the fish ought to be "sold or destroyed" as soon as possible. It was further stated that "my client will take steps to mitigate the loss in relation to [Seller]".
In a letter of 13 August 1997, [Seller]'s lawyer wrote that [Seller] had no interest in keeping the fish stored in refrigerated wagons if the parties could agree that "Trachurus Symmetricus Murphyi" had been delivered in the quantity and units described in [Seller]'s fax of 3 February 1997.
[Seller] urged [Buyer] or his buyer to sell the fish at the best possible price and noted that they were in a better position than [Seller] to sell the goods in the Russian market.
On 11 September 1997 [Buyer]'s lawyer sent another letter to [Seller]'s lawyer, in which he wrote:
"My client and his Russian buyer of the consignment in dispute have taken steps to dispose of the fish in order to mitigate the loss. It was found that the fish were caught in the autumn of 1995 and in the spring of 1996 and not in November/December 1996 as stated in the fax of 3 February 1997 from your client.
In addition to the declaration of avoidance already made, I invoke the wrong period of catch and the age of the goods as further reasons for declaring the contract avoided.
My client has asked the well-reputed firm of surveyors SGS to examine the goods immediately and prepare a report."
SGS prepared a report dated 17 September 1997. The parties agree that it does not form part of the proceedings as it was requested unilaterally.
In a letter of 25 September 1997 to [Seller], de Poel rejected the claim of lack of conformity with the contract and stated, inter alia:
"....In February 1997, we have sold and delivered 3 loads of frozen Mackerel to you.
We have imported these goods and submitted them to the approval of the competent veterinary authorities. The goods and the packages have been approved, which have been appeared by the documents which have accompanied the loads.
After more than half a year you come to us with objections about the delivered goods".
After a further exchange of letters between the lawyers, [Seller]'s lawyer urged [Buyer]'s lawyer in a letter of 27 October "... to arrange for an expert opinion to be prepared in accordance with Part 19 of the Danish Administration of Justice Act".
In a fax of 12 November 1997, the Peruvian supplier, Corporacion de Pesca S.A. informed de Poel that the production date of the goods was November/December 1996, that the product "is fish frozen", and that the quality had been checked by the research institute "CERPER S.A."
A letter of 11 October 1999 from Corporacion de Pesca S.A. to de Poel stated, inter alia:
"At that time our company used boxes with pre-stamped production dates which more than once created the situation that boxes remaining from previous period were used in a new period and that the production dates stamped on the boxes did not correspond with the actual production dates. We confirm once again that the containers of horse mackerel delivered to you in early 1997 had been produced in November and December 1996 and that the product had been fresh frozen in that period. Insofar as the production dates stamped on the boxes show an earlier production date, these production dates are incorrect and only result from the use of the wrong boxes."
In a letter of 5 November 1997 [Seller]'s lawyer recommended that the Helsinki-based firm of Vaara & Partners, which has an office in St. Petersburg, should be instructed to examine the goods. The lawyer specified the issues to be resolved by an examination, including the period of catch, the marking of the boxes, the quantity and storage of the fish, and he wrote: "...I recommend that your client instruct the above firm to examine the fish."
In a document containing the questions to be examined and dated 18 November 1997, [Buyer]'s lawyer instructed Vaara & Partners to prepare a report. The final survey report was dated 4 February 1998. In a letter of 20 November 1997 to [Buyer]'s lawyer, the surveyor, David Axam of Vaara & Partners, wrote, inter alia, that the St. Petersburg office of Vaara & Partners had been in contact with [Buyer]'s Russian buyer FINTRADE, and that Vaara knew that an SGS report had already been prepared. In letters dated 5 and 16 November 1997, [Seller]'s lawyer did not want to commit himself as to the probative value of the report by Vaara & Partners, and in a letter of 5 December he urged [Buyer] to mitigate the loss because [Seller] did not want to have disposal of the goods.
As to the fish stored in the refrigerated wagons, the report prepared by Vaara & Partners included the following findings:
1,563 boxes without production date
1,056 boxes marked: Apr. 1996
80 boxes marked: Mar. 1996
92 boxes marked: Sept. 1995
48 boxes marked: Jul. 1995
In addition to the 2,812 intact boxes, 8 boxes were damaged, causing the production date stamped thereon to be illegible.
The report specified the species of fish as " Whole Round Jack Mackerel Trachurus Picturatus Murpyi", and stated that this species could only be caught in a specified area in the Pacific Ocean.
As to the condition of the fish, the report said:
"...Without a production date
- Fish has flabby consistency
- Muscular tissue is easily split off the bone
- Gills are light red in colour at the centre but grey on the ends
- Fish itself is yellow-grey in colour
- After defrosting the fish had a sharp smell of oxided fish fat
- Fish is visibly different than that of a freshly caught fish
Production Dated in 1995
... [see above]
Production Dated in 1996
- Fish has rather tight consistency
- Fish flesh flattens immediately when pressed by finger
- Fish is grey-blue in colour
- Scales are present
- Gills are dark red in colour and covered in slime
- Fat under skin has oxidated and is yellow in colour
- Smell of oxidated fish fat
- Fish is visibly similar to that of freshly caught fish...."
At the time of examination, the fish were in the same condition as when they arrived in St. Petersburg, according to the report.
As to the conditions of storage, the report said:
"... the storage of the fish is done in a proper manner as to allow efficient circulation of air and to maintain the temperatures in the storage wagons over a long period of time. It must be stated that due to the type of wagon used the cartons must be rotated to different wagons from time to time. This allows the freezing chamber of the wagons to be defrosted from time to time, this is done to maintain the efficiency of the wagons' freezer units. The temperature logs of the wagons were inspected and the temperatures have been maintained from –9° C to -18° C.
The temperature of the fish flesh was measured and was seen to be generally in the range of –13° C in Wagon No. ... and –9° C in Wagon No. ... The temperature seen in the logs it must be pointed out are higher than the recommended temperatures as stated on the CMR and in the Health Certificates.
From the examined cartons there was no evidence of cargo defrost. The cartons were seen to be dry and without external staining."
It appeared from a "Statement of Sampling" dated 25 November 1997 and accompanying the report that Mr. Boris L. Madorsky of FINTRADE had been present during the taking of samples from the fish for the purpose of "bacteriological and chemical tests".
On 1 December 1997 the Russian health authorities refused to grant permission to sell the fish for human consumption, but accepted that the fish could be sold as "Frozen fish for furry animals".
Around New Year 1997/1998 the fish were sold to the fur industry and removed from storage.
In the present case photos and a drawing of the label put on the boxes were presented. The heading read:
"WHOLE ROUND JACK MACKEREL
(TRACHURUS PICTURATUS MURPHYI)
JUREL"
Dated (24 and 25 November 1997) photos of pallets with boxes of fish stacked from floor to ceiling in the refrigerated wagons were included as appendices to the survey report. Some boxes were marked with dates. In some photos a thermometer protrudes from a box showing temperatures of -13º C and –12.5º C, while the temperature in one of the refrigerated wagons is shown as -12.1º C. One photo shows a wagon in wintry and snowy conditions.
In a letter of 9 February 1998 [Buyer] specified his claim against [Seller] and explained why the claim was maintained. As to interest, he wrote: "This letter is also a notice of interest according to the Danish Interest on Overdue Payments Act so that the failure to pay the balance owed to my client will make you liable to pay interest in so far as a right to claim payment of interest has not already accrued."
It appeared from statistical data from the Danish Directorate of Fisheries concerning the average prices of mackerel and horse mackerel used for human consumption and landed in Danish ports by Danish and foreign fishers in 1997 that the highest average price of mackerel was Danish kroner 9.95 per kg. (June) and the lowest average price was Danish kroner 2.85 per kg. (December). The highest average price of horse mackerel was Danish kroner 4.45 per kg. (November) and the lowest was Danish kroner 0.65 per kg. (October). The data also contained specifications for landings of Danish and foreign fish separately.
The Association of Danish Fish Processing Industries and Exporters has submitted the following answers to questions from the parties:
"... 1. Question: Is the designation "Mackerel" used about horse mackerel in the trade?
1. Answer: No. To be certain of the identity of the goods the Latin name is used.
2. Question: Does the trade use the designation "Mackerel from Peru" to refer to horse mackerel?
2. Answer: Not exclusively.
3. Question: Is it generally known within the trade that mackerel is not found in the waters off the coast of Peru?
3. Answer: Persons trading in fish internationally know that there are several species of mackerel in the waters mentioned."
During the proceedings excerpts from books on fish were presented:
"Havfisk og Fiskeri i Nordvesteuropa" [Sea Fish and Fishing in Northwestern Europe] (Bent J. Muus, 1985):
"Horse Mackerel, Trachurus trachurus ... Mainly found in the Mediterranean and off Western Africa ...Processed as sardines, sold fresh, smoked or sold for industrial use. Related species in all warm-temperate waters."
"Mackerel, Scomber scombrus ... Sold smoked or fresh and iced, some exported frozen. 1 or 2-year-old mackerel used in the canning industry, largely in oils ... Mainly caught by Norway, the USSR and Poland."
Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean:
"Scomber japonicus.....Common names: Chub mackerel (En) , Macquereau espanol (Fr) ... Distribution: eastern Atlantic from the Canaries and the Azores .. – Frequent in the Mediterranean and the southern part of the Black Sea... Elsewhere, worldwide in warm-temperate waters."
"Scomber scombrus .... Common names: Atlantic mackerel (En) , Maquereau common (Fr) , Makrele (G) . . . "
The two fish mentioned are classified under the species "scombridae".
"Trachurus picturatus. ... Common names: Blue jack macke­rel (En) , Chinchard du large (Fr) , Jurel de alture, Chicharro (SP) ."
"Trachurus trachurus....Common names: Atlantic horse­ mackerel (En), Chinchard d 'Europe, Chinchard commun (Fr), Jurel (Sp).
"Trachurus trecæ .... Common names: horse-macke­rel (En) , Chinchard commun (Fr) , Jurel cunene (Sp)."
The three fish mentioned are classified under the species "caran­gidae".
Multilingual Dictionary of Fish and Fish Products:
"Horse mackerel ... Trachurus .... Also known as: Jack Mackerel . . . . D: Bastardmakrele, Holzmakrele. DK: Hestemakrel.
"Mackerel...Scomber....Scomber Scombrus .... Scomber Japonicus .... D: Makrele, DK: Makrel.
"FAO SPECIES CATALOGUE", vol. 2 "Scombrids of the world" (Rome 1983), states, inter alia, that the Danish name for "scomber scombrus" is "Almindelig makrel", the German name is "Makrele" or "Gemeine Makrele" and the English name is "Atlantic mackerel".
Evidence of the Parties
In his evidence [Buyer] explained that he is now manager of the Russian branch of the Danish company of Steff Houlberg. His agency business, [Buyer], has discontinued operations.
He had previously bought 10 to 15 carloads of goods from [Seller], including one consignment of fish. This trading had not given rise to any problems. He knew that the main business of [Seller] was the exportation of meat. He assumed that [Seller] primarily acted as an intermediary when dealing in fish.
He talked to Mr. Torben Sørensen on the telephone when, at the end of January 1997, he contacted [Seller] concerning the delivery of a consignment of mackerel.
His customer in Russia requested confirmation of the date of catch and he therefore asked [Seller] for specifications. [Seller] faxed the specifications on 3 February. He was not familiar with the Latin name of the fish mentioned in the fax at the time, and he did not concern himself with the Latin name. It was sufficient that the goods were specified as deep-frozen mackerel.
After having received the fax and dispatched it to his Russian buyer, he phoned Mr. Sørensen and told him that they would like to buy the fish. He is quite certain that the Russian buyer had read the fax. The buyer had no objections and did not concern themselves with the Latin name but only with the mackerel being caught in the autumn of 1996. He is sure that Mr. Sørensen did not know what the Latin name referred to.
[Buyer]'s customer in Russia deals commercially in fish. They buy frozen fish, defrost them and smoke them before the fish are resold. The fish of this consignment were scheduled to have been smoked. It was therefore important that the fish had been caught in the autumn of 1996.
After placing the order, he received [Seller]'s order confirmation and was content that the subject matter of the contract was mackerel caught in November/December 1996.
He also received the invoices, which were as expected.
He received the "Health Certificate" issued by the Dutch health authorities at the same time as the consignment was delivered. He had not seen the document prior to this date.
When the buyer discovered that the fish were horse mackerel, [Buyer] requested that the labels on the boxes in Russia were sent to him, following which he contacted [Seller].
The reason why he stated that, in his letter of 10 March 1997, the goods were at the disposal of [Seller] was that he had had a meeting with Mr. Lommer of [Seller], who had indicated that [Seller] would try to find another buyer for the goods in Moscow. The likely reason for the failure to find a buyer was the different prices of mackerel and horse mackerel.
For the purposes of these proceedings, he was not familiar with the German word "Bastard", neither standing alone nor in connection with "Makrele". He is not that proficient in German.
[Buyer]'s previous dealing in fish with [Seller] was based on the Latin name.
Mr. Torben Sørensen explained that he took up his position as sales manager with [Seller] in end-1996. He had previously held a position as sales manager in Germany for three months and therefore speaks some German. [Seller] acts as an intermediary, mainly in the sale of casings but also meat, poultry, salami, vegetables and occasionally fish.
The witness had not previously dealt in fish and had no special knowledge of mackerel.
When the witness took up his present position, he got [Buyer] as a customer. [Buyer] bought pork but had bought fish on one previous occasion.
A contract with [Buyer] was usually concluded after he had phoned [Seller]. Occasionally [Seller] would call [Buyer] and inform him of an advantageous offer. If the type of goods was known, the contract would be concluded over the phone. If the type of goods was unknown, [Seller] would fax [Buyer] the specifications in order to clarify any queries.
The first conversation was on Thursday 30 or Friday 31 January. [Buyer] called the witness saying that he would like to buy some mackerel. The conversation was in German. He did not say what the fish would be used for. The witness said that he would look into the matter and call back later. [Buyer] knew that [Seller] had to obtain an offer.
The witness already had an offer from de Poel. It was for "frozen mackerel, whole round" and matched [Buyer]'s request. The witness then contacted de Poel, which confirmed that the offer was still open. He then ordered the specification presented in these proceedings and dated 3 February 1997. He skimmed the text and passed it on to Mr. Christian Lommer.
[Buyer] had requested a specification from [Seller], and such a specification was made and faxed to [Buyer] by Mr. Lommer. The witness saw the specification on the following day when he discussed it with Mr. Lommer. He did not note the subject heading "Bastardmakrele....". The witness did not know what the Latin name referred to but knew that transactions in fish were done on the basis of their Latin names.
After having received the specification, [Buyer] accepted the offer on 4 February in the afternoon or on 5 February in the morning. There was nothing unusual about the acceptance. [Buyer] cannot have been in doubt as to what goods he had ordered, because he had received and read the complete specification.
The price charged was fixed on the basis of the price of de Poel plus carriage and a profit of approximately US $100 per metric ton, which is a usual profit. When fixing the price, it was not relevant to consult the quotation of fish prices.
The witness prepared the order confirmation, which is an adapted computerised standard form. Everyone was busy at [Seller] at the time, and the order confirmation was therefore brief but contained all the important details, i.e. mackerel, size and place of origin. [Buyer] had already received a complete specification on which the contract was based, and he had not expressed any doubt as to the type of fish concerned.
The goods were sent direct from the Netherlands to Russia, and the witness did not see them.
Shortly after the goods had arrived in Russia, the witness was contacted by [Buyer], who said that a wrong species of fish had been delivered. The witness replied that the fish delivered were the fish ordered. To be on the safe side he contacted de Poel, which confirmed that it had delivered the fish mentioned in the specification.
The phrase used by the witness in his letter of 11 March 1997, "Auftragsbestätigung mit falschen Spezifikation", was a repetition of the words used by [Buyer] during the telephone conversation they had just had. The phrase probably meant that the order confirmation was incomplete because it did not contain the Latin name found in the specification.
[Buyer] urged [Seller] to try to sell the fish to another buyer and [Seller] agreed to try to do so in order to preserve the good relationship between the parties. However, it turned out that there was no market for this type of fish in Russia.
The notice from September concerning the wrong time of catch was something quite new and came as a great surprise to [Seller]. The dates on the boxes had not been mentioned previously, and the only information the witness had about the time of catch was what de Poel had stated in its specification of 3 February 1997.
In his evidence Mr. Christian Lommer stated that he is export manager for Russia at [Seller], a position he also held in 1997.
[Buyer] had requested a specification – a definition of the type of fish mentioned in the offer. The witness prepared such a specification on the basis of the specification from [Seller]'s supplier, de Poel. He looked up the Latin name in a fish dictionary. The name corresponded with the German "Bastardmakrele" and he therefore used this word in the heading of the specification. He did not consider whether this was the type of fish [Buyer] wanted. The witness had not been involved in the actual deal or with [Buyer], and he therefore did not know what [Buyer] wanted.
Legal Arguments
[Buyer] stated that, in a telephone conversation at the end of January, Mr. Sørensen confirmed that [Seller] would able to deliver a consignment of mackerel, i.e. fish of that species.
Mr. Lommer was asked to take over, but Mr. Sørensen did not inform Mr. Lommer of the contents of the contract, and Mr. Sørensen did not know what he was selling. This was not prudent commercial practice, and indeed the deal went wrong.
When [Buyer] received the offer he was not sure whether the goods were mackerel. He had doubts about the Latin name. However, [Buyer]'s and Mr. Sørensen's statements as to the contents of their conversations are consistent, whereas they disagree about the conclusions. One reason for this may be that the conversations took place more than four years ago. It is argued that, on the basis of the evidence, [Buyer] ordered mackerel, and that Mr. Sørensen knew what [Buyer] wanted.
This is supported by the order confirmation and the text of the invoice. They mention "whole round mackerel", not "horse mackerel", "Bastardmakrele" or "Jack Mackerel". The CMR waybill describes the goods as "frozen mackerel". The price of the goods is in keeping with the price of landed mackerel in Denmark, whereas it is much higher than the price of landed horse mackerel.
Based on the evidence and the contents of the documents presented, the inevitable conclusion is that the parties contracted to buy and sell mackerel. The Dutch Health Certificate did not pass between the buyer and the seller when the contract was being concluded. This document contains a Latin name that is different from that stated by [Seller]. The contents of subsequent documents overrule the contents of earlier documents.
When [Seller] delivered a species of fish other than that ordered by [Buyer], [Seller] incurred liability under the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods of 11 April 1980, see Article 35 of the CISG.
In connection with the attempt to sell the goods in order to mitigate the loss, as agreed by the parties' lawyers, [Buyer] noticed that the fish had not been caught in November/December 1996 as required by the contract, but in the spring of 1996 and the autumn of 1995. [Buyer] immediately gave notice of lack of conformity on 11 September 1997. It turned out that none of the boxes were marked November or December 1996, cf. the report prepared by Vaara.
Neither the information about the physical condition of the fish nor the packaging, cf. the Vaara report, agrees with the explanation of the dates on the boxes given to de Poel by the Peruvian producer. It is improbable that dates of packing are stamped on the boxes and those dates are not consistent with their contents. This is also inconsistent with the fact that half of the boxes were without date. It is argued that the explanation by the Peruvian firm, which was given after two years had passed, is creative and should therefore be rejected.
[Seller] is also liable under Article 35 of the CISG by having delivered fish with a production date that is different from that required by the contract.
The Vaara report concluded that the quality of the fish delivered rendered the fish unfit for human consumption. The condition of the fish is specified on page 3 of the report. According to the report, the fish had the same condition as when they were delivered in St. Petersburg and that they had been stored correctly, although they had been stored at a temperature that was slightly higher than recommended.
Under Article 36 of the CISG the seller is liable for any lack of conformity which exists at the time when the risk passes to the buyer, even though the lack of conformity becomes apparent only after that time. The Vaara report shows that the fish were not fresh at the time of delivery and therefore unfit for human consumption. Consequently [Seller] is liable.
[Buyer] gave notice that the goods did not conform to the species required by the contract immediately after receipt in Russia. In a reasonable continuation of events various examinations were made, and [Buyer] gave notice that the date of catch did not conform to that required by the contract as soon as he became aware of the lack of conformity. [Buyer] caused the goods to be examined within as short a period as was practicable in the circumstances, see Article 39 of the CISG. Consideration must be given to [Buyer]'s prompt notice that the goods did not conform to the species required by the contract, and time must be deemed to have been prevented from running under the provisions of Article 38 of the CISG when the first notice was given. [Seller] then became aware that [Buyer] did not accept the goods, and from that time [Seller] could safeguard its own interests, cf. also Article 44 of the CISG. It is important that, in his letter of 10 March 1997, [Buyer] placed the goods at the disposal of [Seller], and that [Seller] took no steps in that connection.
[Seller] did not examine the goods for sale. It is immaterial that [Seller] acted as intermediary; the lack of conformity was within [Seller]'s sphere of control liability for direct loss.
In these circumstances, [Buyer] had complied with his obligation to examine the goods and to give proper notice, see Articles 38 and 39 of the CISG; he was therefore entitled to declare the contract avoided under Article 49 of the CISG and claim damages under Article 45 of the CISG.
Damages are to be assessed according to the rules of Danish law, see Article 7 of the CISG. Consequently [Buyer] is to be placed in the same financial position as if the contract had not been entered into, i.e. damages on a reliance basis. The assessment is to be based on the particulars of loss and damage of [Buyer].
[Buyer] acted correctly concerning the mitigation of loss. The goods were stored in a prudent manner until [Buyer] arranged for the goods to be sold as agreed with [Seller]. In so doing [Buyer] reduced the loss to a minimum and thereby incurred reasonable and foreseeable expenses.
As agreed between the parties, the goods were placed at the disposal of [Seller] with a view to selling them to another buyer, which failed; in [Buyer]'s opinion because the goods were priced as if they were mackerel when offered for sale.
[Seller] recommended the firm of surveyors Vaara & Partners. The fact that Vaara & Partners contacted the buyer of the fish, or anyone else, is immaterial and does not reduce the probative value of the report; nor does it prevent [Buyer] from recovering the expenses incurred in taking this necessary step from [Seller].
The notice of claim of interest contained in the letter of 29 May 1997 from [Buyer]'s lawyer meets the requirements of section 3(2) of the Danish Interest on Overdue Payments Act, and [Buyer] is entitled to claim interest as from 29 June 1997. In the alternative, interest was claimed as from 9 March 1998, one month after the letter of 9 February 1998 in which a new claim of interest was made.
The allegations on which the claim for damages is based are also submitted in support of the motion for dismissal of the separate claim made by [Seller].
[Seller] stated that the question of which contract the parties had made was to be decided by the general rules of Danish law, as Denmark has made a declaration under Article 92 reserving out of the contract formation provisions of the CISG. Otherwise it is agreed that the CISG applies.
Scomber and Trachurus belong to different families of fish but in several languages both have names containing the word "mackerel". For instance, the English name of "scomber Japonicus" is "chub mackerel", and in French it is called "imaquereau espagnol"; the English name of "scomber scombrus" is "Atlantic mackerel", and in French it is called "maquereau commun"; the English name of "trachurus picturatus" is "blue jack mackerel", and "trachurus trachurus" is called "Atlantic horse mackerel".
In conformity with the answers provided by the Association of Danish Fish Processing Industries and Exporters, it is submitted that the Latin names are used in commercial transactions in fish as these clearly distinguish one species from another. Thereby misunderstandings that may occur as a result of imprecise designations, such as "mackerel", can be avoided. The previous contract between the parties concerning fish was based on the Latin name.
It appears from the "Health Certificate" issued by the Dutch health authorities that the fish was called "mackerel", and that the species was "trachurus symmetricus murphyi". This leaves no room for doubt. The same procedure was used by the Dutch supplier, which called the fish "mackerel" but specified the species by using its Latin name. Furthermore, the Russian authorities and the firm of surveyors Vaara & Partners used the term "mackerel" at random in the report and appendices, but used the Latin name when the fish was identified in section 3 of the report.
[Buyer] contacted [Seller], in German, concerning the delivery of a consignment of fish. [Buyer] knew that [Seller] acted as an intermediary, and Mr. Sørensen was unable to give a prompt reply but had to look further into the matter. In accordance with the wording of the Dutch offer, which specified the goods as "frozen mackerel", Mr. Sørensen told [Buyer] that [Seller] was able to deliver mackerel. [Buyer] needed a specification, which Mr. Sørensen appreciated. This was – in order to avoid misunderstandings – usual in dealings between the parties.
Mr. Lommer prepared the specification, which was faxed to both the Russian buyer and [Buyer] in Germany. This specification is an essential document. Mr. Lommer had consulted a fish dictionary and written the German name "Bastardmakrele" as well as the Latin name "Trachurus symmetricus murphyi" in the specification. This description of the fish was sufficient and precise, and on the basis of this specification [Buyer] accepted the offer. In other words, there is no doubt that [Buyer] bought a consignment of the species "trachurus" and not "scomber". Irrespective of the reasons for requesting a specification, [Buyer] had to rely on the brief specification in order to get all the information about the goods.
The failure of either [Buyer] or his Russian buyer to inquire into the meaning of the Latin name is not prejudicial to [Seller]. If [Buyer], as he explained, neither knew the Latin nor the German name, and if he did not concern himself with their meaning, he should not have concluded the contract.
The wording of the order confirmation and the invoices is irrelevant as these documents were prepared after the time of conclusion of the contract. The order confirmation must be read in conjunction with the specification and did not add new or divergent details compared to the specification.
[Seller]'s task as an intermediary is to match the buyer's demand for particular goods. A "complete match" is only attained by being aware of possible misunderstandings and by being exact and precise when making the offer.
[Buyer] knew that [Seller] acted as an intermediary. [Buyer], who also acted as an intermediary, must be able to rely on his Russian buyer, who deals in fish commercially and ought to have known the Latin name.
The prices of mackerel and horse mackerel landed in Denmark are irrelevant. [Seller] fixed their price on the basis of the price charged by de Poel plus carriage and a usual profit. Moreover the fish were from Peru and not Denmark. If the prices are considered, it turns out that in November the price of horse mackerel was higher than the price of mackerel. However, the prices generally fluctuate considerably and the catch is undisclosed.
The fish were in good condition and fit for human consumption at the time of arrival in St. Petersburg. The Vaara report did mention inadequacies, but 10 days before arrival in St. Petersburg, the fish had been examined an approved by an independent Dutch veterinary. Considerable importance must be given to the Dutch Health Certificate, in particular because the fish had been inadequately stored for nine months prior to the examination by Vaara & Partners. This is explicitly stated in the report. The goods were to be stored at a temperature of -20º C, but this requirement was not met at any time as the evidence shows that the temperature was between -9º C and -18º C throughout the period. The photos accompanying the report were taken during the winter and show temperatures considerably above -20º C. One can only guess at the temperature inside the wagons in the summer.
In section 7 of the report, Vaara & Partners merely state that they found no evidence of cargo defrost, which only occurs at a temperature close to 0º C. The conclusions of the Vaara report were influenced by the SGS report, commissioned unilaterally by [Buyer]. It was also a mistake when [Buyer]'s Russian buyer, FINTRADE, was present during the examination. This appears from an appendix to the report but, more significantly, this fact is not mentioned in the report itself. In a case like this where so much depends on the report, the impartiality of the firm of surveyors should be beyond any doubt. [Seller] had asked [Buyer] to arrange for an expert opinion to be prepared, which was refused. The court must assess the Vaara report on this basis. [Seller] is not prevented from contesting the probative value of the report merely on the ground that they had suggested the firm of Vaara & Partners.
In conclusion, [Buyer] failed to discharge the burden to prove that the fish did not conform to the contract at the time of delivery.
As to the date of catch, the Peruvian supplier explained that the fish were caught as stated. The reason why the production dates on the boxes were wrong is that they used to have boxes with pre-stamped production dates. This information should be taken into account, which is also in keeping with the fact that the fish of the poorest quality were found in the boxes with the oldest dates.
In these circumstances it is submitted that, apart from the question of species, [Buyer] did not give his notice within the time allowed for giving notice of lack of conformity.
Articles 38 and 39 of the CISG must be considered together.
By merely storing the goods after having determined that they were of a species other than that expected, [Buyer] did not comply with his obligation to examine the goods under Article 38 of the CISG. An early notice that the goods did not conform to the species required by the contract is ineffective as regards any other lack of conformity discovered by the buyer at a later date.
The notice that the date of catch did not conform to the date required by contract was given in September 1997, i.e. seven months after delivery, and cannot be considered to have been given with effect as from the notice of wrong species given in January. Merely by looking at the boxes [Buyer] could have seen that more than half were stamped with a date. It is quite unlikely that [Buyer] did not notice the dates. The boxes were also stowed in the wagons, where they were rotated to different wagons from time to time according to the Vaara report. The dates stamped on the boxes should have caused [Buyer] to make further inquiries. A few fish could have been defrosted for examination with very little difficulty. A notice given seven months after delivery, when the buyer could have discovered any lack of conformity with the contract by a simple examination of the goods, cannot be considered to have been given within a reasonable time, see Article 39 of the CISG. It is particularly important that the buyer examines perishable goods immediately, and it is immaterial that they are frozen. Authority for this is found in the Dutch judgment of 19 December 1991, Rechtbank Roermond in the case Fallini Stefano & Co. S.N.C. v. Fordic B.V. concerning a consignment of frozen cheese, in which the court considered Articles 38 and 39, and the judgment of 5 March 1997 (HA ZA 95-640) by Rechtbank Zwolle concerning a consignment of fish, in which the court also considered Articles 38 and 39 of the CISG. In the latter judgment the court stated that "the buyer should have discovered the defects by examining all the goods as soon as practicable which under the circumstances was at the time of delivery or shortly afterwards."
If the notice of lack of conformity had been given within a few days, it would have been given within a reasonable time. In some situations reference is made to "the noble month", but a notice given after seven months would never have been timely. In its judgment of 29 June 1998 the Swiss Tribunal Cantonal du Valais (Cl 97 288) the court makes the following observation concerning Article 39 of the CISG: "... notification ... given ... seven to eight months after delivery was by far too late."
[Buyer] explained that no further examination of the fish was made after the discovery that the fish was of the wrong species and a notice to that effect had been given. It is submitted that this is not a reasonable excuse and that [Buyer] may not successfully rely on Article 44 of the CISG.
It is irrelevant to the question of [Buyer]'s obligation to examine the goods that [Seller] promised to help him to find another buyer.
As to the alternative claim, it was argued that [Seller] could not be charged with some of the expenses in [Buyer]'s particulars of loss and damage.
This includes the expenses of the SGS report, which the parties agree was commissioned unilaterally by [Buyer].
The expenses of the Vaara report are to be paid by [Buyer] and may only partly be of the concern of [Seller]. As already indicated, the report cannot be considered to be independent.
[Buyer] should have sold the goods at an earlier date and at a higher price. This would have reduced storage costs. A sale in April/May would have been possible, considerably mitigating the loss. The fact that Trachurus had been delivered had never been in dispute. The claim of interest made in the letter of 29 May 1997 does not comply with the requirements provided in section 3(2) of the Danish Interest on Overdue Payments Act. Moreover, the claim was made at a time when a notice concerning solely the lack of conformity as to species had been given. If the court finds that the fish delivered was that required by the contract, the claim of interest is without substance because no claim would have been due for payment at that time.
The claim of interest made on 9 February 1998 should be accepted.
If [Seller]'s motion for dismissal is successful, [Seller] may claim payment of the balance of the price and the court is therefore asked to give judgment in favour of the seller concerning the separate claim made by [Seller].
Grounds of the Judgment
Species of fish
As a preliminary point, it should be made clear that within both families "scumbridae" and "carangidae" several fish in Danish, English and German are called "makrel", "mackerel" and "Makrele" or contain this word as part of their names. The only way in which to precisely identify a species is to use its Latin name. According to the statement by the Association of Danish Fish Processing Industries and Exporters and the evidence given by Mr. Sørensen of [Seller], the court finds that the Latin names are used in dealings in fish. In his evidence [Buyer] stated that the only previous contract for the sale of fish between the parties had been based on the Latin name of the species concerned.
At the end of January 1997 [Buyer] telephoned [Seller] concerning a delivery of mackerel and in a subsequent telephone conversation with Mr. Sørensen, who confirmed that [Seller] was able to deliver the goods, [Buyer] asked for a specification. On the basis of Mr. Sørensen's evidence the court is satisfied that the parties usually exchange specifications when they do business together in those cases where – as in the present case – they are not familiar with the goods.
Mr. Lommer of [Seller] prepared the specification and also faxed it to [Buyer] as well as his Russian buyer. In addition to the information about the time of production, size, packing and description, "Tiefgefrorene Makrele", the specification included the Latin name of the species, "Trachurus Symmetricus Murphyi" and a German translation, "Bastardmakrele", in the subject heading.
On the basis of this specification [Buyer] placed his order after having familiarised himself with the contents of the specification, to which he did not object. That [Seller] then delivered "Trachurus Symmetricus Murphyi" is undisputed.
Upon hearing the evidence and because the contents of subsequent documents do not change the assessment, the court rejects [Buyer]'s claim that the goods delivered by [Seller] did not conform to the species required by the contract.
Time of catch and quality
[Buyer]'s notice of lack of conformity and his claim that [Seller] had delivered the wrong species must be deemed based on an immediate visual identification of the species made when the Russian buyer received the goods on 19 February 1997. This notice was unfounded.
A superficial examination of the boxes containing the fish could have directed [Buyer]'s attention to the production dates stamped on the boxes, and on which [Buyer]'s notice given on 19 September 1997 was based.
[Buyer] could have discovered any lack of conformity with the contract regarding the condition of the fish, provided such lack of conformity existed, on the arrival of the goods by defrosting samples from the consignment in order to determine their quality, something which should have been done at that time, considering the nature of the goods.
Upon hearing the evidence and because the statements of [Buyer] in general do not indicate otherwise, the court finds that [Buyer] cannot be deemed to have examined the goods within as short a period as practicable in the circumstances, see Article 38(1) of the CISG.
Apart from the notice that the goods did not conform to the species required by the contract, [Buyer] did not give notice of lack of conformity until 11 September 1997, approximately seven months after delivery. Consequently, the court finds that, according to the facts of the case, [Buyer] has lost his right to rely on a lack of conformity of the goods, see Article 39(1) of the CISG.
The court is not satisfied that [Buyer] had a "reasonable excuse", see Article 44 of the CISG.
It follows that the court finds in favour of the seller [Seller] and that the separate claim for the payment of the balance of the price is allowed, noting that the question of the correctness of the non-conformities relied upon is not subject to these proceedings.
On those grounds the court hereby rules:
The court finds for the [Seller] and dismisses the claim made by [Buyer].
The buyer is ordered to pay US $5,822.75 plus interest thereon as from 23 July 1997 to the seller within two weeks.
The buyer is ordered to pay the costs, an amount of Danish kroner 45,000, to the seller within two weeks.

 

 

Original text

 

UDSKRIFT
AF
SØ- OG HANDELSRETTENS DOMBOG

Den 31. januar 2002 blev af retten i sagen

H-0126-98 1

Dr. S. Sergueev Handelsagentur (Advokat Anders Aaqaard) mod DAT-SCHAUB A/S (Advokat Thomas 0. Smitt-Jeppesen, prøve)
afsagt sålydende

D O M:
Sagens hovedspørgsmål er, om et parti fisk, som sagsøgte, DAT-SCHAUB A/S (herefter DAT-SCHAUB) , leverede til sagsøgeren, Dr. S. Sergueev Handelsagentur (herefter Dr. Serqueev) var af den bestilte art, om fiskene som aftalt var fanget i november/december 1996, og om Dr. Sergueevs reklamation med hensyn til fangsttidspunktet blev fremsat rettidigt.

Parternes påstande

Dr. Sergueev har nedlagt påstand om, at DAT-SCHAUB til­pligtes at betale USD 107.229, subsidiært et mindre be­løb efter rettens skøn, med tillæg af procesrente fra den 29. juni 1997, subsidiært fra et senere, tidspunkt.

Påstanden er sammensat således:

Forudbetalt til DAT-SCHAUB USD 70.000

Told - 5.459
Told - 100
Udlæsning - 477
SGS-rapport - 1.260
Udgifter til Vaara æ Partners - 2.590

Lageromkostninger - 29.463

Heraf fragær indtægter ved salq - -2.120

I alt USD 107.229

DAT-SCRAUB har påstået frifindelse, subsidiært frifindelse mod betaling af et mindre beløb.

DAT-SCHAUB har nedlaqt selvstændig påstand om, at Dr. Serqueev tilpligtes at betale USD 5.822,75 med tillæg af procesrente fra 23. juli 1997. Beløbet svarer til restkøbesummen for fiskepartiet efter Dr. Serqueevs forudbetaling af USD 70.000.

Overfor den selvstændige påstand har Dr. Sergueev påstået frifindelse.

De Poel Import Export BV, Holland (herefter de Poel), har under sagen været adciteret af DAT-SCHAUB med påstand om friholdelse for ethvert beløb, som DAT-SCHAUB måtte blive pålagt at betale i hovedsagen.

Retten har i overensstemmelse med parternes enighed herom i medfør af retsplejelovens § 253 udskilt hovedsagen til særskilt behandling.

Efter sagens optagelse til dom har DAT-SCHAUB hævet adcitationssagen.

Sagens omstændigheder:

I en telefax af 2. december 1996 til DAT-SCHALTB tilbød de Poel at levere bl.a. ”80 tons of frozen Mackerel, Whole Round” fra Peru i 22,5 kg pakninger til en pris af 865 USD pr. ton. Om leveringstidspunkt var anført "beginning january 1997”.

Efter en telefonsamtale mellem Dr. Stanislav Sergueev og Torben Sørensen hos DAT-SCHAUB ultimo januar 1997 om levering af makrel fik DAT-SCHAUB hos de Poel bekræftet, at de Poel fortsat kunne levere i overensstemmelse med tilbuddet af 2. december 1996. DAT-SCHAUB meddelte på denne baggrund Dr. Sergueev, at man var i stand til at levere. Dr. Serqueev udbad sig herefter en nærmere specifikation, og til brug for udarbejdelse af en sådan rekvirerede DAT-SCHAUB en specifikation hos de Poel. De Poel telefaxede den 3. februar 1997 en specifikation til DAT-SCHAUB, hvoraf fremgik, at varen var ”Tiefgefrorene Mackerel - Whole Round", ”400-500 gr” fra Peru med det latinske navn ”Trachurus Symmetricus Murphyi”, pakket i kartoner a 22,5 kg. Endvidere var anført: ”Produktionsdatum: November/Dezember 1996”.

DAT-SCHAUB telefaxede herefter, ligeledes den 3. februar 1997, en specifikation til Dr. Sergueevs russiske kunde i St. Petersborg og efterfølgende også til Dr. Sergueev i Tyskland. Af telefaxen, der var underskrevet af DATSCHAUB's medarbejder Christian Lommer, fremgik:

”Lieber Herr Sergueev,

Betr. Bastardmakrele für Rubland.

Mit Referenz an Ihr Telefongespräch mit -Herrn Sørensen betr. Makrele senden wir Ihnen hiermit Spezifikation wie versprochen:

Ware: Tiefgefrorene Makrele, ganz gefroren (whole Round)

Grüsse: 400-500 gr./Stück

Ursprung - Peru

Lateinischer Name: Trachurus Symmetricus Murphyi

Verpackung: 22, 5 Kg. net pro Karton

Produktionsdatum: Nov/Dez., 1996

Wir hoffen bald von Ihnen zu hören.

Efter at have gjort sig bekendt med specifikationen afgav Dr. Serqueev sin bestilling.

I DAT-SCHAUB's ordrebekræftelser af 5. februar 1997 blev varen beskrevet som "WHOLE ROUND MACKEREL". Varens latinske betegnelse fra specifikationen fremgik ikke, mens oplysningerne om fiskens størrelse, oprindelsessted og kartonvægt var gentaget.

DAT-SCHAUB bestilte herefter fiskepartiet hos de Poel til en pris af USD 800 pr. ton. Af DAT-SCHAUB's fakturær til Dr. Sergueev fremgik, at partiet blev solgt til Dr. Segueev for USD 1.175 pr. ton. I fakturateksten var fisken betegnet som "WHOLE ROUND MACKEREL" fra Peru uden latinsk betegnelse, men med gentagelse af oplysningerne om størrelse og kartonvægt. Fiskepartiet skulle i 3 lastbiler transporteres fra Harlingen i Holland den 10. februar 1997 til Dr. Sergueev´s russiske kunde, "Minos” i St. Petersborg.

Af CMR-fragtbrevene fremgik bl.a., at transporten vedrørte 956 kartoner "frozen Mackerel, Whole round", at varernes temperatur ved lastning skulle være –20 °C. Den foreskrevne transporttemperatur var ligeledes –20 °C.

I et som bilaq til CMR-fragt.brevene vedlagt. hollandsk "Health Certificate", dateret den 10. februar 1997, hvis fortrykte tekst var på såvel. russisk som engelsk, frem­gik på engelsk om fiskepartiet bl.a.:

Name of product: Mackerel
Species (scientific name): Trachurus Symmetri cus Murphyi
State of processing: frozen, Whole Round
Temperature during storage and,transport -20 °C
d) The fish or/and fishery product is/are fit for human consumption.
Producentens navn var oplyst til ”Corporacion de Pesca S.A.”. 
Fiskepartiet ankom til St. Petersborg den 17 . februar 1997 og blev leveret til Dr. Sergueevs kunde den 19. februar 1997. Partiet blev fra det tidspunkt og indtil slutningen af 1997 opbevaret i køletogvogne.

Dr. Sergueevs kunde reklamerede kort tid efter leveringen til Dr. Sergueev over fiskens art, hvcrefter Dr. Sergueev reklamerede telefonisk til DAT-SCHAUB.

Dr. Serqueev sendte den 10. marts 1997 en regning pæ USD 75.822,75 samt sålydende brev til DAT-SCHAUB, stilet til Torben Sørensen:

” .... hiermit erhalten Sie die Rechnung far die falschen Lieferung Makrele nach St. Petersburg. Die ganze Menge steht nach wie vor in St.,Petersburg Ihnen zur Verfügung. Ich bekam die Rechnung von meinem Kunde und muss so schnell wie mölich ihm das Geld zurück überweisen. Nach Ihren Wunsch kann mein Kunde die ware Ihnen nach Denmark oder nach Moskau zurückliefern
….”

I en telefax af 11. marts 1997 besvarede DAT-SCHAUB (Torben Sørensen) henvendelsen fra Dr. Sergueev og anforte bl.a. :

”Wir haben zum ersten Mal am 31.01 1997 über diesen Auftraq gesprochen. Am Montag den 03.02.1997 haben wir über die genaue Spezifikation gesprochen und wir haben alle Inf'ormationen über diesen Auftrag per Fax geschickt. Auch der Lateinische Name “Trachurus Symmetricus Murphyi”.

Am Mittwoch Nachmittag haben Sie drei LKW´s bestätigt und wir am 06.02.1997 eine Auftragsbestätigung mit falschen specifikation an Ihnen geschickt.

Unsere meinung nach haben wir die genaue Specifikation an Ihnen geschickt und deswegen sind wir nicht verantwortlich dass der Kunde nicht die waren gebrauchen kann.

Aber wir werden noch einmal versuchen die Waren an einen anderen Kunden zu verkaufen .... ”

Der udspandt sig herefter en længere korrepondance mellem parternes advokater.

Dr. Serqueevs advokat gjorde 1 en skrivelse af 22. maj 1997 gældende, at DAT-SCHAUB havde pådraget sig et er­statningsansvar og opfordrede til "...samarbejde om en tilbagetagelse af leverancen med henblik på, at det sam­lede tab ved videresalg kan begrænses mest muligt." I en skrivelse af 29. maj 1997 blev erstatningskravet opgjort til USD 75.822,75, og det fremgik afslutningsvis af skrivelsen: ”Endvidere tages der renteforhold i henhold til renteloven”

DAT-SCHAUB's advokat bestred i korrespondancen rigtigheden af sagsøgerens krav. I skrivelse af 3. juni 1997 anfortes bl. a. ” .... skal jeg opfordre til, at Deres klient foretager nødvendige bestræbelser med henblik på at begrænse sit tab...

Efter et møde mellem parterne den 20. juni 1997, hvorunder parterne ikke nåede til enighed, krævede DAT SCHAUB's advokat i skrivelse af 23. juni 199-7 den resterende del af købesummen, USD 5.822,75, betalt og fremsatte samtidig rentepåkrav i henhold til rentelovens § 3, stk. 2.

I skrivelse af 29. juli 1997 fastholdt Dr. Sergueev´s advokat ”min klients krav om ophævelse af handelen og tilbagebetaling af den erlagte købesum... ” og bemærkede, at fisken snarest burde "afhændes eller destrueres”. Det anførtes videre, at ”Min klient vil ... iagttage sin tabsbegrænsningspligt i forhold til DAT-SCHAUB”.

DAT-SHAUB's advokat oplyste i skrivelse af 13. august 1997, at DAT-SCHAUB ikke havde interesse i, at fisken fortsat var oplagret i frostvogne, hvis der var enighed om, at der var leveret ”Trachurus Symmetricus Murphyi” i de mængder og enheder, som fremgik af DAT-SCHAUB's telefax af 3. februar 1997.

DAT-SCHAUB opfordrede Dr. Serqueev eller dennes russiske kunde til at afsætte fisken bedst muligt og anførte, at disse havde bedre muligheder for at afsæette partiet på det russiske markd end DAT-SCHAUB selv.

I skrivelse af 11. september 1997 rettede Dr. Sergueevs advokat pæ ny henvendelse til DAT-SCHAUB's atdvokat. Af skrivelsen fremgik bl.a.:

”Min klient og dennes russiske aftager af det omstridte fiskeparti er netop gået i gang med at afdisponere fiskepartiet med henblik på at opfylde sin tabsbegrænsningspligt. Det er i den forbindelse konstateret., at fiskene er fanget i efteråret 1995 og i foråret 1996 og ikke i november/december 1996. Dette fremgik ellers af Deres klients telefax af 3. februar 1997.

I tillæg til den allerede skete ophævelse af handlen, skal jeg anføre det ukorrekte fangstidsunkt og varens alder som en yderligere årsag til handlens ophævelse.

Min klient har anmodet det anerkendte surveyor firma SGS om straks at foretage en besigtigelse og udfærdige rapport.”

SGS udfærdigede en rapport af 17. september 1997. Parterne er enige om, at den som ensidigt indhentet ikke indgår i sagen.

De Poel afviste i skrivelse af 25. september 1997 til DAT-SCHAUB indsigelser mod fiskepartiet og anførte bl. a.

“….
In February 1997, we have sold and delivered 3 loads of frozen Mackerel to you.
We have imported these goods and submitted them to the approval of the competent veterinary authorities. The goods and the packages have been approved, which have been appeared by the documents which have accompanied the loads.
After more than half a year you come to us with objections about the delivered goods.
Efter yderligere korrespondance mellem advokaterne opfordrede DAT-SCHAUB's advokat i skrivelse af 27. oktober 1997 Dr. Sergueevs advokat til ”... at få gennemført et egentligt syn og skøn i henhold ti retsplejelovens kapitel 19.”

I telefax af 12. november 1997 oplyste den peruvianske leverandør, Corporacion de Pesca S.A., overfor de Poel, at fiskenes produktionsdato, var november og december 1996, samt at produktet "is fresh frozen", og at kvaliteten var blevet kontrolleret af analyseinstituttet ”CERPER S.A.”

Af en skrivelse af 11. oktober 1999 fra Corporacion de Pesca S.A. til de Poel fremgik bl.a.:

"At that time our company used boxes with prestamped production dates which more than once created the situation that boxes remaining from previous period were used in a new period and that the production dates stamped on the boxes did not correspond with the actual production dates. We confirm once again that the containers of horse mackerel delivered to you in early 1997 had been produced in November and December 1996 and that the product had been fresh frozen in that period. Insofar as the production dates stamped on the boxes show an earlier production date, these production dates are incorrect and only result from the use of the wrong boxes."
I skrivelse af 5. november 1997 foreslog DAT~SCHAUB's advokat, at en undersøgelse kunne foretages af firmæt Vaara æ Partners, hjemmehørende i Helsinki og med kontor i St. Petersborg. Advokaten beskrev de spørgsmål, som en undersøgelse skulle søge afklaret, bl.a. vedrørende fiskenes fangsttidspunkt, mærkning af kartoner, fiskenes kvalitet og opbevaring, og anførte: ” ... vil jeg foreslå, at De anmoder ovenstående firma om at forestå undersøgelsen af fisken.”

I et den 18. november 1997 dateret spørgetema anmodede Dr. Serqueevs advokat Vaara æ Partners om at udarbejde en rapport. Den endelige surveyrapport forelå dateret 4. februar 1998. Allerede i en telefax af 20. november 1997 til Dr. Sergueevs advokat havde surveyour David Axam, Vaara æ Partners, bl.a. oplyst, at Vaara æ Partners' St. Petersborg-afdeling på det tidspunkt havde været i kontakt med Dr. Sergueevs russiske kunde FINTRADE, og at Vaara var opmærksom på, at SGS tidligere havde udarbejdet en rapport. I skrivelser af 5. og 16. december 1997 tog DAT-SCHAUB's advokat forbehold med hensyn til bevisværdien af en rapport fra Vaara æ Partners og opfordrede endvidere i skrivelsen af 5. december Dr. Sergueev til at begrænse tabet mest muligt, idet DAT-SCRAUB ikke ønskede at disponere over fiskepartiet.

Af Vaara æ Partner´s rapport fremgik det vedrørende fiskepartiet i køletogvognene bl.a., at­

1536 kartoner var uden produktionsdato

1056 kartoner var mærket: Apr. 1996

80 kartoner var mærket: Mar. 1996

92 kartoner var mærket: Sept. 1995

48 kartoner var mærket: Jul. 1995

Udover disse ialt 2812 intakte kartoner var der 8 ødelagte, hvor produktionsdatostemplet ikke kunne aflæses.

Fiskens art var i rapporten angivet som "Whole Round Jack Mackerel ”Trachurus Picturatus Murpyi”. Det var oplyst, at denne art kun kan fanges i et bestemt område i Stillehavet.

Vedrørende fiskenes tilstand fremgik:
”...
Without a production date
- Fish has flabby consistency
- Muscular tissue is easily split off the bone
- Gills are light red in colour at the centre but grey on the ends
- Fish itself is yellow-grey in colour
- After defrosting the fish had a sharp smell of oxided fish fat
- Fish is visibly different than that of a freshly caught fish
Production Dated in 1995
... [som ovenforl
Production Dated in 1996
- Fish has rather tight consistency
- Fish flesh flattens immediately when pressed by finger
- Fish is grey-blue in colour
- Scales are present
- Gills are dark red in colour and covered in slime
- Fat under skin has oxidated and is yellow in collor
- Smell of oxidtæd fish fat
- Fish is visibly similar to that of freshly cought fish.
…”
Rapporten udtalte, at fisken på undersøgelsestidspunktet var i samme tilstand som ved ankomsten til St. Peters­borg .
Vedrørende opbevaringsforholdene konkluderede rapporten:
“... the storage of the fish is done in a proper manner as to allow efficient circulation of air and to maintain the temperatures in the storage wagons over a long period of time. It must be stated that due to the type of wagon used the cartons must be rotated to different wagons from time to time. This allows the freezing chamber of the wagons to be defrosted from time to time, this is done to maintain the efficiency of the wagons' freezer units. The temperature logs of the wagons were inspected and the temperatures have been maintained from –9 °C to 18 °C.
The temperature of the fish flesh was measured and was seen to be generally in the range of –13 °C in Wagon No. ... and –9 °C in Wagon No. . . . . The temperature seen in the logs it must be pointed out are higher than the recommended temperatures as stated on the CMR and in the Health Certificates.
From the examined cartons there was no evidence of cargo defrost. The cartons were seen to be dry and without external staining. ”
Af en til rapporten vedlagt "Statement of Sampling", dateret den 25. november 1997, fremgik, at Boris L. Madorsky fra firmæt 000 ”FINTRADE” havde deltaget i prøveudtagningen af fiskene til brug for "bacteriological and chemical tests".

De russiske sundhedsmyndigheder havde den 1. december 1997 afvist at meddele tilladelse til, at fiskene blev solgt som menneskeføde, men tiltrådte, at fiskene kunne sælges som "Frozen fish for furry animals".

Omkring Årsskiftet 1997/98 blev fiskepartiet solgt til pelsindustrien og fjernet fra lageret.

Der er under sagen fremlagt foto og en tegning af den etiket, som var påført kartonerne. Overskriften var sålydende:
"WHOLE ROUND JACK MACKEREL
(TRACHURUS PICTURATUS MURPHYI)
JUREL”
Som bilag til surveyrapporten forelå datomærkede (24. og 25. november 1997) fotos af kartoner med fisk stablet på paller fra gulv til loft inde i køletogvognene. Nogle kartoner har stempler med dato. På et par fotos ses et termometer stukket ind i en karton med temperaturer på 13 °C og -12,5 °C, mens temperaturen i en kølevogn 12,1 °C. På et foto af en togvogn ses vintervejr med sne.

I en skrivelse af 9. februar 1998 opgjorde Dr.. Sergueev sit krav overfor DAT-SCHAUB og redegjorde for., hvorfor kravet blev fastholdt. Vedr. forrentning fremgik: "Nærværende skrivelse er samtidig renteadvis i henhold til Renteloven, således at manglende betaling af min klients tilgodehavende medfører pligt til at betale ren­te i det omfang, krav på forrentning ikke måtte være indtrådt, tidligere”

Af en statistiktabel fra Fiskeridirektoratet vedrørende gennemsnitspriser på konsumanvendt makrel og hestema­krel, landet i danske havne af danske og udenlandske fiskere i 1997, fremgik, at højeste gennemsnitspris for makrel var 9,95 kr. pr. kg (juni) og 1aveste pris 2, 85 kr. (december) . For hestemakrels vedkommende var højeste kilopris 4,45 kr. (november) og laveste 0,63 kr. (oktober) . I tabellen ses priserne også specificeret for landninger af danske og udenlandske fiskere hver for sig.

Danmarks Fiskeindustri- og Exportforening har besvaret nogle sporgsmål fra parterne således: 
”... 
1. Spørgsmål: Det ønskes oplyst, hvorvidt betegnelsen "Mackerel" anvendes om hestemakrel i branchesprog?
1. Svar: Nej. For at være sikker pæ hvad man køber/sælger benyttes det latinske navn.

2. Spørgsmål: Det ønskes besvaret, hvorvidt ”Makrel fra Peru" i branchen forstås som hestemakrel.
2. Svar: Ikke nødvendigvis.

3. Spørgsål: Det ønskes oplyst, hvorvidt det i branchen er almindelig kendt, at makrel ikke findes i farvandet omkring Peru?
3. Svar: Hvis man handler med fisk internationalt, ved man, at der findes flere makrelarter i de nævnte farvandsområder.

Der er under sagen fremlagt uddrag af bøger om fisk:
”Havfisk og Fiskeri i Nordvesteuropa” (Bent J. Muus, 1985):

"Heste-makrel, Trachurus trachurus .... Hovedudbredelse Middelhavet og Vestafrika .... Forarbejdes som sardiner, sælges fersk, røget eller anvendes som industrifisk. Beslægtede arter i alle varme og tempererede have."

”Makrel, Scomber scombrus ... Sælges røget eller fersk iset, en del eksporteres frosset. 1-2 års makrel anven­des i hermetikindustrien, mest i olie ... Det største fiskeri har Norge, USSR og Polen.”


Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean:
“Scomber japonicus…..Common names: Chub mackerel (En) , Macquereau espanol (Fr) ... Distribution: eastern
Atlantic from the Canaries and the Azores .. – Frequent in the Mediterranean and the southern part of the Black
Sea... Elsewhere, worldwide in warm-temperate waters."
“Scomber scombrus .... Common names: Atlantic mackerel (En) , Maquereau common (Fr) , Makrele (G) . . . ”
De to omtalte fisk er rubriceret under artsbetegnelsen ”scombridæ”

“Trachurus picturatus. ... Common names: Blue jack macke­rel (En) , Chinchard du large (Fr) , Jurel de alture, Chicharro (SP) .”
“Trachurus trachurus….Common names: Atlantic horse­ mackerel (En) , Chinchard d 'Europe, Chinchard commun (Fr), Jurel (Sp) .
"Trachurus trecæ .... Common names: Cunene horse-mackarel (En) , Chinchard cun6n6 (Fr) , Jurel cunene (Sp) .”
Disse tre omtalte fisk er rubriceret under arten ”caran­gidæ”.
Multilingual Dictionary of Fish and Fish Product:
“Hrse mackerel ... Trachurus .... Also known as: JackMackerel . . . . D: Bastardmakrele, Holzmakrele DK:
Hestemakel.
"Mackerel…Scomber....Scomber Scombrus .... Scomber Japonicus .... D: Makrele, DK Makrel.
Om "scomber scombrus” er det i "FAO SPECIES CATALOGUE", vol.2 “Scombrids of the world” (Rome 1983), bl.a. an­ført, at denne art på dansk betegnes ”Almindeliq makrel”, på tysk ”Makrele” eller ”Gemeine Makrele” og på engelsk ”Atlantic mackerel”

Forklaringer

Dr. Stanislav Serqueev har forklaret, at han nu er di­rektør for Steff Houlbergs afdeling i Rusland. Hans agenturvirksomhed, Dr. S. Sergueev Handelagentur, er ik­ke 1ængere i drift.

Han havde tidligere købt 10-15 vognladninger varer fra DAT-SCHAUB, herunder et enkelt parti fisk. Der havde ik­ke forhen været problemer i samhandelen. Han vidste, at DAT-SCHAUB´s primære forretningsområde er eksport af kød. Han formoder, at DAT-SCHAUB i første række var mellem­handler, når der blev handlet fisk.

Da han i slutningen af januar 1997 rettede telefonisk henvendelse til DAT-SCHAUB om tilbud på levering af et parti makrel, talte han med Torben Sørensen.

Hans køber i Rusland forlangte, at han fremskaffede be­kræftelse på fangsttidspunktet, og han bad derfor DAT­SCHAUB om en specifikation. Den sendte DAT-SCHAUB med telefax af 3. februar. Den latinske betegnelse for fi­skene i telefaxen kendte han ikke dengang, og den inte­resserede ham ikke. For ham var det tilstrækkeligt, at der stod, at varen var dybfrossen makrel.

Efter at have fået telefaxen og sendt den til sin køber i Rusland ringede han til Sørensen og sagde, at de gerne ville købe. Det er helt sikkert, at kunden i Rusland også så faxen. Kunden havde ingen indvendinger og interesserede sig ikke for den latinske betegnelse, men kun for, at der var tale om makrel fra efteråret 1996. Han er overbevist om, at Sørensen ikke vidste, hvad den latinske betegnelse dækkede over.

Sergueevs kunde i Rusland driver professionel handel med fisk. De køber frosne fisk, tør dem op og røger dem, før de sælges videre. Fisken i dette parti skulle også have været røget. Det var derfor så vigtigt, at fisken var fanget i efteråret 1996.

Efter bestillingen modtog han DAT-SCHAUB's ordrebekræftelse og var tilfreds med, at det fremgik, at købet drejede sig om makrel fanget i november og december 1996.

Han har også modtaget regningerne, som svarede til, hvad han havde forventet.

De hollandske sundhedsmyndigheders "Health Certificate" ankom samtidig med leverancen. Han har ikke set dokumentet på et tidligere tidspunkt.

Da køberen blev opmærksom på, at fiskene var hestemakrel, bad han om at få tilsendt etiketter fra kasserne i Rusland, hvorefter han kontaktede DAT-SCHAUB.

Baggrunden for, at han i sin skrivelse af 10 . marts 1997 meddelte, at varepartiet stod til DAT-SCHAUB's disposition, var, at han havde haft et mode med med DAT­-SCHAUB's medarbejder, hr. Lommer, der havde givet udtryk for, at DAT-SCHAUB ville forsøge at sælge varerne til en anden kunde i Moskva. At partiet ikke blev solgt, skyldes sandsynligvis, at makrel og hestemakrel har forskellige priser.

For denne sag kendte han ikke det tyske ord "Bastard", hverken alene eller i sammenhæng med ”Makrelle”. Så godt er hans tyske heller ikke.

Dr. Sergueevs tidligere handel med fisk med DAT-SCRAUB fandt sted på grundlag af fiskens latinske, betegnelse.

Torben Sørensen har forklaret, at han blev ansat hos DAT-SCHAUB ultimo 1996 som sales manager. Han har tidligere bestridt en stilling som salgschef i 3 måneder i Tyskland og, har derfor kendskab til det tyske sprog. DAT-SCHAUB driver mellemhandlervirksomhed primært med salg af tarme, men også kød, fjerkræ, salami-, grøntsager og lidt fisk.

Vidnet havde ikke tidligere handlet med fisk, og han havde ikke særligt kendskab til makrel.

Da vidnet tiltrådte, overtog han Dr. Serqueev som kunde. Dr. Serqueev købte sædvanligvis svinekød, men havde tidligere købt fisk en enkelt gang.

En handel med. Dr. Serqueev kom normalt i stand efter en telefonisk henvendelse fra kunden. Det kunne dog også være DAT-SCHAUB, som ringede med et godt tilbud. Hvis varetypen var kendt, blev aftalen indgået telefonisk. Hvis varetypen ikke var kendt, sendte DAT-SCHAUB en specifikation via telefax for at afklare eventuelle tvivlsspørgsmål.

Den første samtale fandt sted torsdag den 30. eller fredag den 31. januar. Det var Dr. Sergueev, der ringede til vidnet og oplyste, at han gerne ville købe noget makrel. Samtalen foregik på tysk. Han sagde ikke, hvad han skulle bruge fisken til. Vidnet sagde, at han ville undersøge mulighederne og vende tilbage. Dr. Sergueev vidste, at DAT-SCHAUB i givet fald først selv skulle indhente et tilbud.

Vidnet fandt tilbuddet fra de Poel frem. Tilbuddet angik "frozen mackerel, whole round", og det svarede jo til det, Som Dr. Sergueev ville have. Vidnet rettede heref­ter henvendelse til de Poel, der bekræftede, at tilbud­det fortsat var gældende. Han rekvirerede herefter den i sagen fremlagte specifikation, dateret den 3. februar 1997, som han kort læste, for han gav den til Christian Lommer.

Dr. Serqueev havde bedt DAT-SCHAUB om en specifikation, og en sådan blev udarbejdet og ekspederet af Christian Lommer som telefax. Vidnet så den dagen efter, hvor han gennemgik den med Lommer. Han hæftede sig ikke ved overskriften ”Bastardmakrele ... ” Vidnet vidste ikke, hvad den latinske betegnelse stod for, men han vidste, at fisk blev handlet på de latinske artsbetegnelser.

Efter at have modtaget specifikationen accepterede Dr. Serqueev tilbuddet den 4. februar om eftermiddagen eller den 5. om morgenen. Der var intet usædvanliqt ved accepten. Dr. Sergueev kan ikke have været i tvivl om, hvilken vare han bestilte, for han havde fået og læst den fuldstændige specifikation.

Salgsprisen til Dr. Sergueev blev fastsat på grundlag af de Poel ' s pris med tillæg af fragt og avance på ca. USD 100 pr. ton, hvilket er sædvanlig avance. Ved prisfastsættelsen var det ikke relevant at se på fiskerinoteringen.

Vidnet ekspederede ordrebekræftelsen, som er en tilrettet computerstandard. Der var meget travlt hos DATSCHAUB på dette tidspunkt, og ordrebekræftelsen var derfor kortfattet, men nævnte det væsentlige, nemlig makrel, størrelse og oprindelsessted. Dr. Serqueev havde jo fået en fuldstændig specifikation, på grundlag af hvilken aftalen var indgået, og han havde ikke udtrykt tvivl om, hvilken type fisk han købte.

Fisken blev sendt direkte fra Holland til Rusland, og vidnet har ikke selv set den.

Kort tid efter fiskepartiets ankomst til Rusland blev vidnet ringet op af Dr. Sergueev, der sagde, at der var leveret en forkert type fisk. Hertil sagde vidnet, at der var leveret den bestilte fisk. For en sikkerheds

skyld kontaktede han de Poel, som bekræftede, at man havde leveret de fisk, som fremgik af specifikationen.

Vendingen i vidnets skrivelse af 11. marts 1987: "Auf­tragsbestätigung mit falschen Specifikation” er en gentagelse af Dr. Sergueevs ord fra en telefonsamtale, de netop havde ført. Det, der var meningen, var vel, at beskrivelsen i ordrebekræftelsen ikke var fuldstændig, fordi den latinske betegnelse fra den egentlige specifikation ikke var gentaget.

Det var Dr. Sergueev, der anmodede DAT-SCHAUB om at forsøge at sælge fiskepartiet til anden side, og dette indvilligede DAT-SCHAUB i for at bevare de gode kunderelationer. Men det viste sig, at der ikke var marked for denne type fisk i Rusland.

Mangelsindsigelserne i september vedrørende fiskenes fangsttidspunkt var noget helt nyt og kom som en stor overraskelse for DAT-SCHAUB. Der havde ikke tidligere været noget fremme om datoer på kartoner, og det eneste, som vidnet, vidste om fangsttidspunktet, var det, som de Poel havde oplyst i specifikationen af 3. februar 1997.

Christian Lommer har forklaret, at han er og også i 1997 var eksportchef for Rusland hos DAT-SCHAUB.

Dr. Serqueev havde bedt om en specifikation - en definition af den type fisk, som tilbuddet omfattede. En sådan udarbejdede vidnet pæ baggrund,af specifikationen. fra DAT-SCHAUB's leverandør, de Poel. Han slog det latinske navn op i en fiskeordbog. Det svarede til ”Bastardmakrele” pæ tysk, og dette ord lod han derfor indgå i overskriften til specifikationen. Han overvejede ikke, om det var den type fisk, som Dr. Sergueev ønskede. Vidnet havde ikke selv været involveret i handlen eller talt med Dr. Sergueev, og han kendte derfor ikke Dr. Sergueevs behov.

Procedure

Dr. Sergueev hat med hensyn til arten af den leverede fisk anført, at Torben Sårensen på Dr. Sergueevs tele­foniske henvendelse til DAT-SCHAUB i slutningen af januar bekræftede, at man kunne levere et parti makrel.

Christian Lommer blev bedt om at tage over, men Torben Sørensen orienterede ikke Lommer om, hvad aftalen gik ud på, og Sørensen vidste ikke selv, hvad han solgte. At optræde på denne måde i handelsforhold er ikke betryggende. Tingene gik da også galt.

Da Dr. Sergueev fik tilbuddet, var han i tvivl om, hvorvidt der var tale om makrel. Han var i tvivl om den latinske betegnelse. Men der er overensstemmelse mellem Dr. Serqueev og Torben Sørensens forklaringer med hensyn til samtalernes indhold, mens der er uenighed om konklusionerne. Det kan skyldes, at samtalerne fandt sted for mere end 4 år siden. Under alle omstændigheder kan det alene på grundlag af forklaringerne lægges til grund, at Dr. Sergueev bestilte makrel. Torben Sørensen vidste godt, hvad Dr. Sergueev ville have.

Dette støttes også af ordrebekræftelsen og fakturærnes tekst. Her tales om "whole round mackerel", ikke ”hestemakrel", "Bastardmakrelle” eller "Jack Mackel”. I CMR fragtbrevet er leverancen beskrevet som "frozen mackerel". Prisen for fiskepartiet harmonerer også bedre med prisniveauet for landet makrel i Danmark, mens den er mange gange højere end prisen for landet hestemakrel.

Efter såvel forklaringerne som indholdet af de foreliggende dokumenter er den uundgåelige konklusion, at parterne aftalte at handle makrel. Det hollandske Health Certificate blev ikke udvekslet i forbindelse med afta­leindgåelsen. I øvrigt angav dette dokument en anden latinsk betegnelse end den af DAT-SCHAUB anførte. Indholdet af senere dokumenter ”overruler” indholdet af tidligere dokumenter.

Da DAT~SCHAUB leverede en anden fiskeart end den, som Dr. Sergueev havde bestilt; hermed har DAT-SCHAUB pådraget sig et erstatningsansvar efter international købelov, jf. konvention af 11. april 1980, CISG, artikel 35.

I forbindelse med forsøg på at afhænde fiskepartiet for at begrænse tabet, hvilket parternes advokater havde

indgået aftale om, blev Dr. Sergueev opmærksom pæ, at fisken ikke som aftalt var fanget i november/december 1996, men i foråret 1996 og efteråret 1995. Dr. Sergueev reklamerede straks herefter den 11. september 1997. Det viste sig senere, jf. Vaara -rapporten, at ingen af kasserne var mærket med november eller december 1996.

Hverken oplysningerne om fiskenes fysiske tilstand eller indpakning, jf. Vaara -rapporten, stemmer med den forklaring om datoerne på kasserne, som den peruvianske producent gav til de Poel. Det må anses for helt usandsynligt, at kasserne skulle være stemplet med datoer for pakning, og at indholdet ikke skulle svare til det påstemplede. Det stemmer heller ikke med, at halvdelen af kasserne var uden datostempel. Forklaringen fra det peruvianske firma, der kom 2 år senere, må anses for kreativ og kan ikke tillægges nogen vægt. 

Også ved at have leveret fisk med en anden produktionsdato end aftalt har DAT-SCHAUB pådraget sig et erstatningsansvar efter CISG art. 35.

Med hensyn til kvaliteten af det leverede fiskeparti konkluderede Vaara -rapporten, at fiskene ikke var egnet til menneskeføde. Fiskene tilstand er nærmere beskrevet på side 3 i rapporten. Det udtaltes, at fiskene havde

været i samme tilstand ved leveringen i St. Petersborg, og at de havde været opbevaret korrekt, selvom de havde været opbevaret ved en lidt højere temperatur end anbefalet .

Efter CISG art. 36 er sælger ansvarlig for mangler, som fandtes pæ det tidspunkt, da risikoen overgik til køberen, selv om manglen først viser sig senere. Da det efter Vaara-rapporten kan lægges til grund, at fiskene ikke var friske på leveringstidspunktet, hvorfor de allerede da var uegnede til menneskeføde, har DAT-SCHAUB også af den grund pådraget sig et erstatningsansvar.

Dr. Sergueev reklamerede over den forkerte fiskeart straks efter modtagelsen i Rusland. I rimelig forlængelse heraf blev der iværksat undersøgelser, og Dr. Sergueev reklamerede straks over fangsttidspunktet efter at være blevet opmærksom herpå. Dr. Serqueev har. foranlediget varerne undersøgt, så hurtigt, som det efter omstændighederne var muligt, jf. CISG art. 38. Der skal ved vurderingen tages hensyn til Dr. Sergueevs omgående reklamation over fiskenes art, og fristafbrydelse efter art. 38 må derfor anses for sket allerede ved denne første reklamation. Her blev DAT-SCHAUB bekendt med, at Dr. Sergueev ikke accepterede leverancen, og fra dette tidspunkt havde DAT-SCHAUB mulighed for at varetage sine interesser. Der henvises endvidere til CISG art. 44. Det må tillægges betydning, at Dr. Serqueev ved skrivelse af 10. marts 1997 stillede varepartiet til DAT-SCHAUB's disposition, uden at DAT-SCHAUB i den anledning foretog sig noget.

DAT-SCHAUB undersøgte ikke selv varen for salg. Det er uden betydning, at DAT-SCHAUB var mellemhandler; DATSCHAUB havde et kontrolansvar.

Under disse omstændigheder har Dr. Serqueev ikke forsømt sin undersøgelses- og reklamationspligt, jf. CISG art. 38 og 39, og har derfor i medfør af art. 49 været berettiget til at hæve købet og kræve erstatning efter art. 45.

Erstatningsopgørelsen skal foretages efter dansk ret, jf. CISG art. 7. Herefter skal Dr. Sergueev stilles, som om kontrakten ikke var indgået, negativ kontraktsinteresse. Dr. Sergueevs tabsopgørelse må lægges til grund.

Dr. Sergueev har hele handlet korrekt med hensyn til spørgsmålet, om tabsbegrænsning. Varepartiet blev op­

bevaret betryggende, indtil Dr. Serqueev efter aftale med DAT-SCHAUB sørgede for salg af fiskene. Dr. Sergueev har derved begrænset tabet mest muligt og har kun af­holdt rimelige og adækvate omkostninger.

Partiet havde efter aftale mellem parterne været stillet til DAT-SCHAUB's rådighed med henblik på salg til anden side, hvilket ikke lykkedes - ifolge Dr. Sergueev fordi man forsøgte at sælge til makrel-priser.

Det var DAT-SCHAUB, som foreslog surveyfirmæt Vaara æ Partners. Det forhold, at Vaara æ Partners havde en drøftelse Med køberen af. fisken eller med andre, er underordnet og kan hverken føre til, at rapportens bevisværdi svækkes, eller at Dr. Serqueev ikke kan kræve denne nødvendige omkostning dækket af DAT-SCHAUB.

Renteforbeholdet i Dr. Sergueevs advokats skrivelse af 29. maj 1997 opfylder betingelserne i rentelovens § 3, stk. 2, hvorfor Dr. Serqueev kan kræve renter fra 29. juni 1997. Subsidiært kræves forrentning fra 9. marts 1998, en måned efter skrivelsen af 9. februar 1998, hvor der på ny blev taget renteforbehold.

Anbringenderne til støtte for erstatningspåstanden gøres tilsvarende gældende til støtte for frifindelsespåstanden overfor DAT-SCHAUB's selvstændige påstand.

DAT-SCHAUB har anført, at spørgsmålet om, hvilken aftale parterne har indgået, skal afgøres efter dansk rets almindelige regler, idet Danmark har taget forbehold for aftaledelen af CISG. I øvrigt er der enighed om, at CISG finder anvendelse.

Scomber og Trachurus tilhører forskellige fiskefamilier, men har begge på mange forskellige sprog betegnelser, hvori ordet makrel indgår. Eksempelvis hedder ”scomber Japonicus” på engelsk ”chub mackerel" og på fransk ”imaquereau espagnol", mens ”scomber scombrus” på engelsk hedder ”atlantic mackerel" og fransk ”maquereau commun”. ”Trachurus picturatus” hedder pæ engelsk "blue jack mackerel", og ”trachurus trachurus”, ”atlantic horse mackerel”.

I overensstemmelse med svaret fra Danmarks Fiskeri- og Eksportforening kan det læges til grund, at man ved professionel handel med fisk benytter de latinske betegnelser, der klart adskiller de enkelte fiskearter fra hinanden. Herved undgås misforståelser, som kan opstå ved at benyttet upræcise betegnelser som f.eks. ”makrel”. I parternes tidligere handel med fisk havde man handlet på grundlag af den latinske artsbetegnelse.

Af de hollandske myndigheders "Health Certificate” fremgik tilsvarende, at fiskens navn var "mackerel", mens fiskens art var ”trachurus symmetricus murphyi”. På denne måde kan der ikke opstå misforståelser. Samme fremgangsmåde blev benyttet af den hollandske leverandør, der kaldte fisken "mackerel", men angav arten på latin. Også de russiske myndigheder og surveyfirmaet Vaara æ Partners benyttede i flæng betegnelsen "mackerel" forskellige steder i rapporten og bilagene hertil, men anvendte den latinske betegnelse, da fisken blev artsbestemt i rapportens pkt. 3.

Det var Dr. Sergueev, der rettede forespørgsel på tysk til DAT-SCHAUB om levering af et parti makrel. Dr. Serqueev vidste, at DAT-SCHAUB var mellemhandler, og Torben Sørensen kunne da heller ikke svare straks, men skulle undersøge spørgsmålet nærmere. I overensstemmelse med ordlyden af det hollandske tilbud, der betegnede varen som "frozen mackerel", meddelte Torben Sørensen, at man kunne levere makrel. Dr. Sergueev havde brug for en specifikation, hvilket Torben Sørensen havde forståelse for. Dette var - for at undgå misforståelser - normalt i samhandelen mellem parterne.

Det var Christian Lommer, der udarbejdede specifikationen, som bliv sendt pr. fax til såvel den russiske kunde som til Dr. Sergueev i Tyskland. Specifikationen er et helt essentielt dokument. Lommer havde slået op i en fiskeordbog og havde skrevet såvel den tyske betegnelse "Bastardmakrelle” og den latinske ”Trachurus Symmetricus Murphyi” i specifikationen. Denne beskrivelse af fisken var tilstrækkelig og så præcis som overhovedet mulig, og det var på baggrund af denne specifikation, at Dr. Serqueev accepterede tilbuddet. Dr. Sergueev købte med andre ord utvivlsomt et parti af arten "trachurus", ikke ”scomber”.

Uanset Dr. Sergueevs bevæggrund til at udbede sig en specifikation har han måttet forholde sig til alle oplysningerne om varen i den kortfattede specifikation.

Det kan ikke komme DAT-SCHAUB til skade, at hverken Dr. Serqueev eller den russiske kunde har undersøgt, hvad den latinske betegnelse betød. Hvis Dr. Sergueev, som det blev forklaret, hverken kendte til den latinske eller den tyske betegnelse, og hvis han endvidere ikke interesserede sig herfor, burde han ikke have indgået handelen.

Teksten i ordrebekræftelsen og fakturaerne er irrelevant, da disse dokumenter ligger efter aftaletidspunktet. Ordrebekræftelsen skal 1æses i sammenhæng med specifikationen, og i forhold til denne tilføjede den ikke nye eller divergerende oplysninger.

DAT-SCHAUB's opgave som mellemhandler består i at matche en kundes ønske om en bestemt vare. Kun ved at være yderst opmærksom på mulige misforståelser og være helt præcis i sin tilbudsgivning opnås ”fuldstændig match”.

Dr. Sergueev var klar over DAT-SCHAUB's status som mel­lemhandler. Dr. Sergueev, der selv var mellemhandler, må kunne holde sig til, at den russiske kunde, der var professionel handlende med fisk, burde have kendt til den latinske betegnelse.

Priserne på makrel og hestemakrel, landet i Danmark, er uden betydning for sagen. DAT-SCHAUB´s pris blev fastsat efter DAT-SCHAUB's indkøbspris hos de Poel. med tillæg af fragt, og sædvanlig avance. Hertil kommer, at fisken var fra Peru, ikke fra Danmark. Ser man alligevel på priserne, viser det sig, at prisen for november var højere for hestemakrel end for makrel. Men priserne er i det hele meget svingende, og fangstmængderne er uoplyste.

Fiskene var i god stand og egnet til menneskeføde, da de ankom til Skt. Petersborg. Vaara-rapporten påpegede mangler, men 10 dage for fiskene ankom til St- . Petersborg, var de blevet undersøgt, og godkendt af en uafhængig hollandsk veterinær. Det hollandske Health Certificate må tillægges betydelig vægt, ikke mindst når det tages i betragtning, at fiskene var blevet mangelfuldt opbevaret i 9 mdr. , for Vaara & Partners underrsøgte dem. Dette fremgår direkte af rapporten. Fiskene skulle have været opbevaret ved – 20 °C, men dette krav har ikke været overholdt på noget tidspunkt, idet temperaturen i følge det oplyste i hele perioden havde været mellem – 9 ° – –18 °C. De til rapporten vedlagte fotos, der er taget om vinteren, viser temperaturer væsentligt over de – 20 °. Man kan kun gisne om temperaturen i togvognene om sommeren.

Rapportens pkt. 7 udtaler blot, at der ikke var tegn på cargo defrost, hvilket først opstår ved temperaturer i nærheden af 0 gr.

Vaara-rapportens konklusioner er påvirket af SGS-rapporten, som Dr. Sergueev indhentede på egen hånd. Det er også en fejl, at Fintrade, Dr. Sergueevs kunde, deltog i undersøgelsen. Dette ses af et bilag til rapporten, og det værste er næsten, at det er uomtalt i selve rapporten. I et tilfælde som det foreliggende, hvor så meget kan afhænge af rapporten, bør der ikke kunne sås tvivl om survey-firmaets upartiskhed. DAT-SCHAUB havde opfordret Dr. Sergueev til at foretage syn og skøn, hvilket man afviste. Retten må vurdere Vaara-rapporten i lyset af disse betragtninger. DAT_SCHAUB er ikke afskåret fra at rejse indsigelser mod rapportens bevisværdi, blot fordi Vaara Partners blev bragt i forslag af DAT-SCHAUB.

Dr. Sergueev har sammenfattende ikke løftet bevisbyrden for, at fisken var mangelfuld på leveringstidspunktet.

Med hensyn til fiskenes fangsttidspunkt oplyste den peruvianske leverandør, at fiskene var fanget som oplyst. Datoerne på kasserne skyldes, at man førhen anvendte kasser med fortrykt dato. Disse oplysninger må læges til grund og stemmer meget godt med, at det var fiskene i de ældst daterede kasser, der blev fundet af dårligst kvalitet.

Det gøres under alle omstændigheder gældende, at Dr. Sergueev ikke, bortset fra spørgsmålet om fiskens art, har reklameret rettidigt.

CISG art. 38 og art. 39 hører uløseligt sammen.

Ved blot at lægge fiskene på lager efter at have konstateret, at de ikke var af den forventede art, forsømte Dr. Serqueev sin undersøgelsespligt i henhold til CISG art. 38. En tidlig reklamation vedrørende en type mangel gælder ikke for andre mangler, som køberen konstaterer senere. Reklamationen over fangsttidspunktet­ blev fremsat i september 1997, dvs. 7 måneder efter modtagelsen af fiskene, og kan ikke anses for fremsat med virkning fra reklamationen over fiskens art i februar. Ved blot at se på kasserne kunne Dr. Sergueev have konstateret, at over halvdelen af disse var datostemplede. Det er helt usandsynligt, at Dr. Sergueev ikke skulle have set datoerne. Kasserne blev jo også stuvet i togvognene, og de er i følge Vaara-rapporten blevet flyttet rundt med af og til. Datomærkningen burde i sig selv have ansporet Dr. Sergueev til at foretage yderligere undersøgelser. Der kunne uden nævneværdigt besvær være tøet et par fisk op for en nærmere undersøgelse. En reklamation, der foretages 7 måneder efter modtagelsen, på hvilket tidspunkt køber ved en simpel undersøgelse kunne have opdaget eventuelle mangler, kan derfor ikke anses for fremsat inden rimelig tid, jf. CISG art. 39. Navnlig når det gælder let fordærvelige fødevarer, må en køber undersøge varen straks, og det gør ingen ændring heri, at varen er frossen. Dette støttes af den hollandske dom af 19. december 1991, Rechtbank Roermond: Fallini Stefano & Co. S.N.C. mod Fordic B.V. om CISG art. 38 og 39, angående et parti frossen ost, og den hollandske dom af 5. marts 1997 (HA ZA 95-640), afsagt af Rechtbank Zwolle, ligeledes angående CISG art. 38 og 39, om et parti frossen fisk. I sidstnævnte dom udtaltes det , at “ . . the buyer should have discovered the defects by examining all the goods as soon as practicable which under the circumstances was at the time of delivery or shortly afterwards."
Reklamation kunne rettidigt være foretaget indenfor et par dage. I nogle sammenhænge tales om "the noble month", men reklamation efter 7 måneder kan aldrig være rettidig. Den schweiziske dom af 29. juni 1998, afsagt af Tribunal Cantonal du Valais (Cl 97 288) , udtaler vedr.CISG art. 39, at “... notification...given... seven to eight months after delivery was by far too late.”
Dr. Sergueevs undskyldning, hvorefter man ikke undersøgte fisken nærmere efter at have konstateret og reklameret over, at det ikke var den korrekte art, kan ikke anses for rimelig, og Dr. Serqueev har derfor ikke grundlag for at påberåbe sig CISG art. 44.

Det er uden betydning for spørgsmAlet om Dr. Sergueevs undersøgelsespligt, at DAT-SCHAUB lovede at være behjælpeliq med at søge fisken solgt til anden side.

Til støtte for den subsidiære påstand gøres det gældende, at en del af posterne i Dr. Sergueevs opgørelse ikke kan pålægges DAT-SCHAUB.

Dette gælder udgifterne til SGS-rapporten, som parterne er enige om, er ensidig indhentet af Dr. Segueev.

Udgifterne til Vaara-rapporten må afholdes af Dr. Sergueev og kan under alle omstændigheder kun delvist vedrøre DAT-SCHAUB. Rapporten kan som anført ikke anses. for uafhængig.

Dr. Sergueev burde have afhændet fiskene tidligere og til en bedre pris end sket. Det ville have begrænset udgifterne til oplagring. Et salg i april/maj havde været muligt og ville have reduceret tabet betydeligt. Der var fra starten enighed om, at der var leveret Trachurus.

Det renteforbehold, som blev taget i skrivelsen af 29. maj 1997, opfylder ikke betingelserne i rentelovens § 3, stk. 2. Kravet blev endvidere fremsat på et tidspunkt, hvor der alene var reklameret over fiskenes art. Hvis

retten er enig i, at der er leveret den fisk, som blev aftalt, er rentepåkravet uden indhold, fordi der i givet fald ikke var noget forfaldent krav på det tidspunkt.

Rentepåkravet, som blev fremsat den 9. februar 1998, kan anerkendes,

Hvis DAT-SCHAUB får medhold i sin frifindelsespåstand, vil DAT-SCHAUB have krav på betaling for den resterende del af købesummen og skal derfor have medhold i sin selvstændige påstand.

Sø- og Handelsrettens afgørelse

Fiskenes art

Indledningsvis bemærkes, at der inden for begge fiskefamilier ”scombridae” og ”carangidae” findes flere fiskenavne på såvel dansk som engelsk og tysk. med betegnelsen ”makrel”, ”mackerel” og ”makrele”, eller med denne betegnelse som en del af fiskenavnet. Arten kan alene angives præcist ved at benytte fiskens latinske navn. Efter Danmarks Fiskeindustri og Eksportforenings udtalelse og DAT-SCHAUB's Torben Sørensens forklaring lægges det til grund, at der ved handel med fisk benyttes latinske artsbetegnelser. Efter Dr. Stanislav Sergueevs forklaring blev parternes eneste tidligere aftale om handel med et parti fisk indgået på grundlag af fiskens latinske artsbetegnelse.

Efter i slutningen af januar 1997 at have rettet en telefonisk forespørgsel til DAT-SCHAUB om levering af makrel anmodede Dr. Serqueev i en efterfølgende telefonsamtale Torben Sørensen, der havde bekræftet at kunne levere, om at sende en specifikation. Efter Torben Sørensens forklaring lægges det til grund, at det i parternes samhandelsforhold var sædvanlig fremgangsmåde at udveksle en specifikation, når parterne - som i det foreliggende tilfælde - ikke var fortrolige med varen. 

Specifikationen blev udarbejdet af Christian Lommer hos DAT-SCHAUB og af denne sendt som telefax til såvel Dr. Sergueev som dennes russiske aftager. Ud over oplysninger om produktionstidspunkt, størrelse, pakning og varebetegnelsen: ”Tiefgefrorene Makrele” indeholdt specifikationen den latinske artsangivelse, ”Trachurus Symmetricus Murphyin, og en tysk oversættelse, "Bastard­ makrele”, i overskriften.

På grundlag af denne specifikation, hvis indhold Dr. Sergueev havde gjort sig bekendt med og ikke havde indvendinger imod, afgav han sin bestilling. Det er ubestridt, at DAT-SCHAUB herefter leverede ”Trachurus Symmetricus Murphyi”.

Under de således foreliggende omstændigheder, og idet indholdet af de efterfølgende dokumenter ikke kan føre til en anden vurdering, findes Dr. Sergueevs indsigelse om, at DAT-SCHAUB leverede en forkert fiskeart, ikke at kunne tages til følge.

Fangsttidspunkt og kvalitet

Det må antages, at det var på grundlag af en umiddelbar visuel artsbestemmelse i forbindelse med varens ankomst til den russiske aftager den 19. februar 1997, at Dr. Sergueev reklamerede og gjorde gældende, at DAT-SCHAUB, havde leveret en forkert art fisk. Denne reklamation var ubegrundet.

Ved blot at foretage en overfladisk undersøgelse af de kartoner, hvori fisken var pakket, kunne Dr. Sergueev have bemærket de på kartonerne, trykte produktionstidspunkter, som var grundlaget for Dr. Sergueevs reklamation den 11. september 1997.

Ved i forbindelse med modtagelsen af varepartiet at optø vareprøver stikprøvevis og foretage en enkel. kvalitetsbestemmelse, hvilket under hensyn til varens karakter burde være sket på dette tidspunkt, ville Dr. Sergueev være blevet opmærksom på de påberåbte mangelfulde forhold med hensyn til fiskenes tilstand, såfremt disse forhold forelå på dette tidspunkt.

Under disse omstændigheder, og idet det af Dr. Sergueev herom i øvrigt anførte ikke kan føre til et andet resultat, finder retten ikke, at Dr. Sergueev kan anses at have undersøgt varen så hurtigt, som det efter omstændighederne har været muligt, jf. CISG art. 38, 1. pkt.

Ved bortset fra indsigelsen mod arten af de leverede fisk ikke at give DAT-SCHAUB meddelelse om mangler ved varepartiet før den 11. september 1997, ca. 7 måneder efter leveringen, findes Dr. Sergueev under de anførte omstændigheder at have mistet adgangen til at påberåbe sig manglerne, jf. CISG art. 39, 1. pkt.

Retten finder ikke, at Dr. Serqueev har haft en ”rimelig undskyldning”, jf. CISG art. 44.

Allerede som en følge af det anførte, hvorved bemærkes, at spørgsmålet om rigtigheden af de påberåbte mangelfulde forhold herefter ikke er taget under påkendelse, frifindes DAT-SCHAUB, og DAT-SCHAUB's selvstændige påstand om betaling af retskøbesummen tages til følge.

THI KENDES FOR RET:

Sagsøgte, DAT-SCHAUB International A/S, frifindes for den af sagsøgeren, Dr. S. Sergueev Handelsagentur, nedlagte påstand.

Sagsøgeren skal inden 14 dage betale USD 5.822,75 med tillæg af procesrente fra 23. juli 1997 til sagsøgte.

I sagsomkostninger skal sagsøgeren inden samme frist betale 45.000 kr. til sagsøgte.

Claus Forum Petersen
Jørgen Sieverts
Niels Hofman Laursen

 

 

 

 

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