Contracts Keyed to Calamari
Oglebay Norton Co. v. Armco, Inc.
The parties entered into a contract in 1957, which provided that Plaintiff would have adequate shipping capacity available and Defendant would use that capacity for the transportation of iron ore on the Great Lakes. The primary pricing mechanism dictated that Defendant agrees to pay for all iron ore transported according to the “regular net contract rates for the season…as recognized by the leading iron ore shippers.” If, however, there was no regular net contract rate, the secondary pricing mechanism provided that the parties shall mutually agree upon a rate. The parties established the contract shipping rate from 1957 to 1983 by reference to a rate published in Skillings Mining Review. This satisfied the requirements of the primary pricing mechanism. After the iron ore industry experienced a serious downturn in 1983, the parties negotiated a mutually satisfactory rate for 1984. However, after that, they were unable to agree on a rate. Plaintiff thereafter initiated this declaratory judgment action, asking the trial court to set a rate. Defendant responded by filing a counterclaim seeking to have the contract declared unenforceable.
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