An earth-moving precedent

mike mulliganAn accident occurred while a dredge attempted to anchor itself in the seabed.  The legal issue was whether the dredge’s activity triggered the notice requirements of a Louisiana statute involving “excavation.”  The Fifth Circuit reasoned: “The plaintiffs may well be right that the movement of earth is an inevitable result of anchoring, and thus that a person who engages in anchoring does so knowing that he will cause the movement of earth.  But under the [statute], an activity constitutes ‘excavation’ only if the ‘purpose’ — the actual object — of engaging in it is the ‘movement . . . of earth.’  And the object of ‘anchoring’ is, unmistakably, the securing of a ship, not the movement of earth.”  Plains Pipeline LP v. Great Lakes Dredge, No. 14-31046 (Aug. 12, 2015, unpublished).

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