Kelley Mala vs. Crown Bay Marina: Gas Pump Malfunction Causes Spill - Case Study

Published: 2023-11-22
Kelley Mala vs. Crown Bay Marina: Gas Pump Malfunction Causes Spill - Case Study
Type of paper:  Case study
Categories:  Company Business
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 969 words
9 min read


In the Kelley Mala case against Crown Bay Marina, the plaintiff sued the company for failing to manage their automatic gas pump. While cruising in his powerboat, the plaintiff had run out of fuel and stopped at the Marina to refuel. Mala left the boat fueling and informed the attendant to watch it as he went to pay for the oil at the cash register. Due to a faulty mechanism, the pump malfunctioned and poured fuel into the boat and water. After cleaning the powerboat with soap and water, Mala started the engine, and it exploded. The fire caused irreparable damage to the vessel, and Mala got burned severely (Cross & Miller, 2020). He filed a legal complaint at the District Court of the Virgin Islands, suing Crown Bay Marina for negligence. The District Court involved an advisory jury in the case whose verdict got rejected by the court. After that, the plaintiff filed an appeal.

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The plaintiff sued Crown Bay Marina for breaching their legal duty to maintain the pump in a state that does not harm others. However, the plaintiff claimed that the District Court had admiralty and diversity jurisdiction on the matter, and requested a jury trial. According to state law, for a plaintiff to have a right to a jury trial in an admiralty case, the court must have diversity jurisdiction. It is a condition that arises when the complainant and the defendant come from different states, and the value of the lawsuit exceeds a particular amount. In this case, the plaintiff had a burden to prove that the court had diversity jurisdiction since Crown Bay Marina identified itself as a citizen of the Virgin Islands (Cross & Miller, 2020). Since Mala could not provide evidence of diversity, the District Court and the Court of Appeal entered judgment for Crown Bay.

Gucci America, Inc. v. Wang Huoqing. United States District Court, Northern District of California, ___ F.Supp.2d ___ (2011)

Selling counterfeit goods infringes on trademark laws that protect businesses against fraudsters who benefit from misleading customers. Companies protect their brand name and value through trademark infringement lawsuits that compel the accused to stop selling counterfeit products. In Gucci America, Inc. v. Wang Huoqing, the plaintiff filed a suit seeking damages and injunction against the defendant. The defendant lives in China and runs web sites that sell fake goods via the online platform. Gucci established that Huoqing’s stock includes merchandise bearing the Gucci trademark, but they are not original Gucci products (Cross & Miller, 2020). The corporation engaged a private investigator who bought a counterfeit Gucci wallet from the site to gather evidence that would apply in the trademark infringement lawsuit. The purchase served as a proof of a transaction made via the website that sells fake Gucci items. The District Court for the Northern District of California entered a judgment in favor of the corporation and granted Gucci an injunction against Huoqing.

Before hearing the case, the federal District Court for the Northern District of California had to evaluate the scenario and establish whether it had the authority to judge it. The defendant is a resident of the People’s Republic of China and conducts his business via the internet. Other crucial factors that the court also had to consider were the plaintiff’s primary business location, the state in which the transaction place, and the laws applicable to parties involved. In this case, the defendants’ contacts and interactions with California via the internet indicated Huoqing’s purposeful availment (Cross & Miller, 2020). The defendant’s actions had violated the laws of the State of California that prohibit trademark infringement, counterfeiting of goods, advertising, and selling them via any forum. Based on these details and evidence presented by the plaintiff, the court ruled in the Gucci’s favor.

Espresso Disposition Corp. 1 v. Santana Sales & Marketing Group, Inc. Florida Court of Appeal, Third District, 105 So.3d 592 (2013)

Espresso Disposition Corp. 1 and Santana Sales & Marketing Group, Inc. are partners whose business agreement has a mandatory forum-selection clause. It is a component within a contract that indicates the specific jurisdiction or venue where legal proceedings and action will take place should a dispute arise between the involved parties. In this case, Espresso and Santana had signed an agreement that termed the State of Illinois as the selected venue (Cross & Miller, 2020). Santana filed a legal complaint against its partner, Espresso, in a Florida state court. Espresso responded by filing a dismissal motion, quoting the contract’s forum-selection clause. The defendant requested the court to dismiss the case, and the plaintiff claimed that it had made a mistake in the clause. The court did not grant Espresso’s motion to dismiss, and the firm responded by appealing the decision.

The essence of having forum-selection clauses in business contracts is to eliminate struggles that occur among parties over the jurisdiction for addressing disputes. The provisions of the clauses are presumptively enforceable when all the involved parties receive communication about them. In response to the dismissal motion, Santana argued that a mistake had occurred, and the venue had not changed from Illinois to Florida as expected. They attributed the error to the copying and pasting a clause from a different agreement (Cross & Miller, 2020). The court ruled against Espresso’s motion to dismiss since the party did not prove that enforcement would result in the absence of a forum for taking legal action. However, the contract’s forum-selection clause is mandatory to Espresso and Santana, with Illinois identified clearly as the chosen jurisdiction. Consequently, the appellate court reversed the trial court’s decision to deny Espresso’s dismissal motion.


Cross, F. B., & Miller, R. L. (2020). The legal environment of business: Text and cases. Cengage Learning.

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Kelley Mala vs. Crown Bay Marina: Gas Pump Malfunction Causes Spill - Case Study. (2023, Nov 22). Retrieved from

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