Barnard v. Adams

51 U.S. (10 How.) 270, 13 L.Ed. 417, 2004 AMC 899 (1850)

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Barnard v. Adams

United States Supreme Court
51 U.S. (10 How.) 270, 13 L.Ed. 417, 2004 AMC 899 (1850)

Facts

The Brutus was a cargo vessel lying at anchor in a wide river outlet near Buenos Aires. The vessel had been loaded with cargo for delivery to New York. A dangerous storm arose. The Brutus’s anchors failed, and the ship began drifting in the storm. The crew determined that the only way to attempt to save the vessel, the cargo, and the crew was to run the Brutus aground in the safest location it could reach. The crew managed to beach the Brutus in a location where it was damaged, but not destroyed, with the crew and the cargo safe. After the storm passed, the cargo was unloaded onto another vessel, the Serene. The cost to remove the Brutus from the beach was greater than its value, however, so it was left and eventually sold. The cargo was brought to New York on the Serene. The owners of the Brutus (the vessel owners) (plaintiffs), including Joseph Adams, delivered the cargo to the cargo owners (defendants), including Charles Barnard. The delivery of the cargo was made on the stipulation that the cargo owners would pay contributions to the vessel owners toward the loss of the Brutus if the doctrine of general average was found to apply. The vessel owners then brought suit against the cargo owners seeking to assert the doctrine. The circuit court found for the vessel owners, and the cargo owners appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Grier, J.)

Dissent (Daniel, J.)

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