Lone Star Industries, Inc. v. Mays Towing Co.

927 F.2d 1453, 1991 AMC 1540 (1991)

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Lone Star Industries, Inc. v. Mays Towing Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
927 F.2d 1453, 1991 AMC 1540 (1991)

Facts

Lone Star Industries, Inc. (Lone Star) (plaintiff) was a cement manufacturer that owned self-unloading barges used to transport cement on the Mississippi River. Mays Towing Co. (Mays) (defendant) provided towage services to Lone Star. Mays towed three Lone Star barges from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to Memphis, including LS 1501. When the barges were delivered to Memphis, they were coated with snow and ice, and as a result the Lone Star employee tasked with supervising the unloading process was unable to perform all of the normal pre-unloading inspections. As the unloading of LS 1501 began from the bow of the barge towards the stern, the back of the barge began to settle lower in the water as was customary. The single Lone Star employee on duty did not notice, however, that the barge began to take on water into the stern through an unseen crack in the hull. The crack had apparently formed at some point on the journey as a result of contact with another vessel. The barge sank, and the remaining cargo on board was lost. Lone Star sued Mays for damages in federal district court. The court held that Mays’s negligence caused the damage to the hull but that Lone Star had also been negligent in not completing its normal inspections and in only having one employee on hand for the unloading. Both Lone Star and Mays appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Beam, J.)

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