The sole issue for bench trial in Union Oil v. Buffalo Marine Services was the amount of damages causedby an oil spill. No. 12-40848 (August 16, 2013, unpublished). Both sides appealed. The Fifth Circuit affirmed. As to the methodology used by the district court, the Court said: “Contrary to Buffalo’s assertion, the ‘reasonable certainty’ with which Unocal was required to prove lost profits did not require it to identify lost opportunities from specific vessels that would have visited the terminal but for its closure following the spill. Considering figures from adjacent months was more than adequate.” The Court found “no support in the actual numbers” for an argument about a seasonal spike in revenue during the relevant period. Finally, the Court agreed that a claim determination from the National Pollution Fund Center was inadmissible as proof of damages under Fed. R. Evid. 408.
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