In re Magnolia Marine Transport Co.

366 F.3d 1153, 2004 AMC 1249 (2004)

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In re Magnolia Marine Transport Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
366 F.3d 1153, 2004 AMC 1249 (2004)

Facts

The M/V Robert Y. Love was a tugboat pushing empty barges up the Arkansas River in Oklahoma. When the captain of the tug suffered a heart attack and became unconscious, the tug pushed the barges into a bridge spanning the river, causing the bridge to collapse. Multiple cars fell from the bridge. Fourteen people were killed in the accident, and the total cost of the incident to the State of Oklahoma (plaintiff) was more than $58 million. The owner of the Robert Y. Love, Magnolia Marine Transport Co. (Magnolia) (defendant) filed a liability-limitation proceeding in federal court under admiralty jurisdiction. Oklahoma then sued Magnolia for damages in Oklahoma state court. The actions were consolidated in federal district court. Oklahoma sought to have Magnolia’s liability-limitation proceeding dismissed on the ground that it violated the state’s sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment. The district court denied the state’s motion, and Oklahoma appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Seymour, J.)

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