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United States v. Bear Marine Services

Citation. 696 F.2d 1117 (5th Cir. 1983)
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Brief Fact Summary.

Plaintiff sued Defendant for negligently causing an oil spill in the Mississippi River.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b), interlocutory appeals are allowed for claims involving a controlling question of law for which immediate appeal would materially advance the end of litigation.


The United States (Plaintiff) sued International Matex Tank Terminals (Defendant) and others for the cost of cleaning up an oil spill in the Mississippi River. Plaintiff argued that negligence caused a metal beam or object on the Defendant’s dolphin to puncture one of the oil-carrying barge’s oil tanks. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss on the basis that the Federal Water Pollution Control Act provided the exclusive means for recovery.


Whether it was proper to permit an interlocutory appeal, under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b)?


No, the interlocutory appeal was not proper.


The Court determined that, following its decision in United States v. M/V Big Sam, the issue brought on interlocutory appeal was no longer controlling or materially advance the end of litigation. United States v. M/V Big Sean made clear that the Federal Water Pollution Control Act does not provide exclusive remedy, and the trial court will have to proceed with a trial on the merits of the negligence claim.

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