UAH 1,000,000 for invalid bill of lading. ILF won a dispute in favor of an agricultural company

Sometimes you prepare a document and even sign it, but end up never needing it in the end (there was some mixup, or the deal was called off). Most people would just throw this document away and forget about it. However, sometimes an erroneous accounting document can cause a lot of problems.

The head of a large agricultural enterprise turned to ILF for help. His counterparty violated their agreement and failed to pay for a large shipment of goods (planting material and plant protection products) supplied by our client. The buyer claimed that they had paid for the goods with agricultural produce.

ILF lawyers headed by Olexiy Kharytonov helped the client defend his rights in court by filing a lawsuit on debt collection. It seemed that, with a simple dispute like this, the trial would be simple as well: the goods had been supplied, and no payment ever arrived. However, the last court session changed everything. The respondent submitted a copy of a bill of lading which allegedly confirmed the shipment of agricultural products to ILF’s client. On the basis of this, the respondent insisted that the debt had been settled.

The time for consideration of the case in the trial court was expiring, so the plaintiff had no opportunity to refute the false information. The court, never questioning the authenticity of the copy (!) of the bill of lading, refused to satisfy the lawsuit, ruling that the debt had been paid with agricultural products. It should be noted that the parties had indeed signed such a document, but it was done in error. They signed it but the products were never actually shipped – that grain had been shipped under a different contract altogether.

In the appellate court, attorney Boris Zamikula proved that although the bill of lading had been signed, no shipment of goods took place. The lawyer had made appropriate inquiries with the fiscal service and the regional statistics office.

Their replies unequivocally suggested that:

- the respondent never registered a tax invoice on the shipment of goods under the provided copy of the bill of lading. This excluded the possibility of an economic transaction;

- the respondent could not have supplied the grain under the provided copy of the bill of lading – they just didn’t have enough grain at the time.

The evidence convinced the appellate court that the respondent had acted in bad faith. In addition, ILF lawyers demonstrated that an accounting document does not guarantee a shipment of goods.

The appellate court satisfied our client’s lawsuit in full and collected UAH 1 million in his favor.