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The T.J. Hooper

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 60 F.2d 737 (2d Cir. 1932)

Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiff’s two barges, towed by Defendant’s tugboats, were lost in a storm. Plaintiff sued Defendant for negligence for failing to equip the tugboats with reliable radios, which would have warned Defendant of the storm.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. If new technology is developed, and it is widely used and accepted, then it is negligent not to utilize it.

Facts. Defendant, the operator of the T.J. Hooper and the Montrose tugboats, did not have reliable radios on board. Plaintiff sued Defendant under a towing contract when two barges and the cargo of coal were lost in a storm. The gist of Plaintiff’s negligence claim stated that it was negligent of Defendant not to equip the tugboats with reliable radios. If the tugboats had radios Defendant would have received storm warnings and Plaintiff’s two barges would have been put safely into breakwater. Four other tugs were on the same route as Defendant and avoided the storm because of reliable radios.

Issue. Is Defendant required to equip his tugboats with radio sets to pick up weather reports?

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