Brief Fact Summary.
The Anna C, a barge owned by the Conners Marine Company with cargo belonging to the United States (Plaintiff), was tied to the pier in a busy harbor. Carroll Towing Co.’s (Defendant) tugboat needed to get through and, with the help of Grace Line employees, retied Anna C’s lines. With no bargee aboard, the Anna C became untied, crashed, and sank.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
A boatowner must take appropriate precautions where the burden of taking precautions is less than the probability the boat will break away from the pier multiplied by the damage the boat would do (B<PL).
Since there are occasions when every vessel will break from her moorings, and since, if she does, she becomes a menace to those about her; the owner's duty, as in other similar situations, to provide against resulting injuries is a function of three variables: (1) the probability that she will break away; (2) the gravity of the resulting injury, if she does; (3) the burden of adequate precautions.View Full Point of Law
A barge owned by the Conners Maritime Company, the Anna C, was tied to a pier. The Anna C was holding cargo (flour) that belonged to the United States (Plaintiff). Conners Maritime Company had a bargee watching over the Anna C, but he had been absent for the past 21 hours.
A tugboat owned by Carroll Towing Co. (Defendant) was hired by Grace Line to move another barge in the harbor. In order to get to the barge, the Grace Line employees had to retie the Anna C. Due to their negligence, the Anna C became untied from the pier around 2:00PM and crashed into a tanker, puncturing the Anna C. The Anna C and Plaintiff’s cargo sank. Multiple actions ensued amongst the parties, with the Court finding Grace Line was negligent and partly responsible for damages.
Was the Conners Marine Company negligent in not having its bargee aboard the Anna C for 21 hours?
Yes, the Court held the Conners Marine Company was negligentbecause its bargee had been absent from the Anna C for 21 hours.