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Corpus Christi Oil & Gas Co. v. Zapata Gulf Marine Corporation

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
71 F.3d 198 (1995)


Facts

Corpus Christi Oil & Gas Co. (Corpus Christi) (plaintiff) owned natural-gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico. Corpus Christi had an offshore platform with a vertical pipe, or riser, attached to one of the platform’s legs. The riser linked gas from Corpus Christi’s wells to a pipeline several miles away. Houston Pipeline Co. (Houston) owned the riser affixed to Corpus Christi’s platform. During a storm, a tugboat and barge owned by Zapata Gulf Marine Corp. (Zapata) (defendant) broke free from its moorings and collided with Corpus Christi’s platform, damaging the riser. Corpus Christi was forced to stop transporting natural gas for two weeks while Houston repaired the riser. During that time, Corpus Christi had to flare, or burn off, gas in order to avoid the loss of its wells. Corpus Christi sued Zapata for its losses while the riser was being repaired. The district court awarded damages to Corpus Christi for the value of the gas that Corpus Christi flared and Corpus Christi’s two weeks of lost revenue while the riser was being repaired. Zapata appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Jolly, J.)

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Dissent (Benavides, J.)

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