Justices' Citgo Ruling Offers Shippers Contractual Clarity

By Christopher Nolan and Robert Denig (April 2, 2020, 4:52 PM EDT) -- Negotiating a contract — a charter party, in maritime parlance — is a balance of leverage, and sometimes a leap of faith. Certain issues are more important to companies than others.

For those important issues, the language of clauses will be negotiated over email drafts for hours, days or weeks, depending on insurance concerns and other considerations. The remaining clauses are often standard, with form language added, subtracted or amended over time based on industry practice, personal preference or the whims of previous counsel from a bygone era.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in its March 30 opinion in Citgo Asphalt Refining Co....

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