United States Third Circuit

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US v. Citgo Asphalt Refining Company, 11-2576

In action by parties to apportion monetary liability for damages caused when a tanker stuck an abandoned ship resulting in an oil spill, judgment that the port owner was not liable is reversed, where: 1) the tanker, and its owner, were implied beneficiaries of the port owner's safe berth warranty; 2) the safe berth warranty is an express assurance of safety, and that the named port exception to that warranty does not apply to hazards that are unknown to the parties and not reasonably foreseeable; 3) it is unclear if this warranty was actually breached, as the district court made no finding as to the tanker's actual draft nor the amount of clearance actually provided; 4) if the district court finds the contractual warranty issue is satisfied, then the district court needs to resolve the appropriate standard of care required, whether the port owner breached that standard, and if so, whether any such breach caused the accident; but 5) there was no error with the district court's holding that the port owner's alleged misrepresentation as to the depth of its berth was geographically irrelevant to the ultimate accident; and 6) the government has waived reliance on a partial settlement agreement with the port owner that, the government contends, precludes the port owner from making certain equitable defenses to the government's subrogation claims.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 05/16/2013
  • Published 05/16/2013

Judges

  • AMBRO

Court

  • United States Third Circuit

Counsel

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