Broken crane and economic loss

The plaintiff in Smith Maritime v. L/B KAITLYN EYMARD sought recovery for property damage and lost profits from allegedly negligent welding on a crane on a boat.  No. 12-30378 (Jan. 3, 2013, publication ordered March 11, 2013)  The Fifth Circuit found the plaintiff’s tort claims for economic loss barred by East River Steamship Corp. v. Transamerica Delaval, which “held that a manufacturer in a commercial relationship has no duty under either a negligence or strict products-liability theory to prevent a product from injuring itself.”  476 U.S. 858, 871 (1986).  The Court concluded that “modification of a vessel,” as distinguished from its “manufacture or repair,” was “a distinction without a difference” for purposes of East River.  The Court recognized that the errant crane had damaged living quarters that were being added to the vessel, but those quarters were not “other property” outside the East River doctrine given the wording of the parties’ Asset Purchase Agreement.  

Recent Related Posts