Exxon Company, U.S.A. v. Sofec, Inc.
United States Supreme Court
517 U.S. 830 (1996)
While unloading oil to Hawai’i via an underwater pipeline, an Exxon Company, U.S.A. (plaintiff) oil tanker was moored to a Single Point Mooring System (SPM) owned and manufactured by Sofec, Inc. (defendant). During a storm, Exxon’s ship broke loose from the SPM. While trying to maneuver the ship clear of the broken oil hoses, the ship’s captain, Kevin Coyne, made a number of decisions that eventually resulted in the ship striking coral and spilling oil into the ocean. Exxon brought suit in admiralty against Sofec in the United States District Court for the District of Hawai’i. The district court found that Coyne’s negligence was the superseding and sole proximate cause of the harm and entered judgment in favor of Sofec. Exxon appealed. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Thomas, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 175,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.