Presumption of Negligence Not Applicable

Defendant’s pipe tank broke loose from its mooring to a crane barge and struck a recreational fishing boat, causing injury to Plaintiffs.  Plaintiffs filed a Partial Motion for Summary Judgment on the presumption of negligence.  The Motion was based upon the rule set forth in The Louisiana, 70 U.S. 164 (1865), which imposes a presumption of fault on a vessel that breaks free from its moorings and drifts into a stationary object.  The court found that because the fishing boat was in motion, it did not constitute a “stationary object” and that the presumption therefore did not apply.  Nonetheless, the court stated that the pipe tank would face a considerable challenge in establishing that it was not negligent in a manner that was a proximate cause of the collision.

Nassri v. Inland Dredging Co., 2013 WL 166211 (M.D. La. 2013).