Barber Lines v. Donau Maru Case Brief

Summary of Barber Lines v. Donau Maru, 764 F.2d (1st Cir. 1985)

Facts: D’s ship spilled oil into the Boston Harbor and as a result, P’s ship was blocked from the harbor and it had to dock it ship elsewhere. P incurred extra costs and it sued D to recover for this pure economic loss.

Procedure: The district court denied recovery on the basis of the pleadings.

Issue: Can the plaintiff recover for its pure economic loss that resulted due to D’s negligence?

Holding: No

Rationale: Even though the financial loss was foreseeable, but by following the precedent and policy reasons, recovery for this pure economic loss cannot be allowed. Allowing plaintiffs to recover for pure economic loss will make litigation an extremely expensive process and will hurt society at large through high insurance premiums, etc. According to the court, “The number of persons suffering foreseeable financial harm in a typical accident is likely to be far greater than those who suffer traditional physical harm." Furthermore, there are alternative methods that P in our case can recover for the damages and the court does not need to extend the liability of D here. Affirmed.

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