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Port Authority of New York & New Jersey v. Arcadian Corp.

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
189 F.3d 305 (1999)


On February 26, 1993, terrorists detonated a bomb under the World Trade Center in New York City, causing six deaths, many injuries, and substantial property damage. The terrorists had constructed the bomb using fertilizers—ammonium nitrate, urea, and nitric acid—manufactured by Arcadian Corporation, Hydro-Agri North America, Inc., and Dyno Nobel Inc. (defendants). The fertilizers, sold in their raw form, were not defective or dangerous in themselves. The explosive character of the bomb was effectuated by combining the fertilizers with other products. The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (Port Authority) (plaintiff), owner of the World Trade Center, sued defendants under theories of negligence, strict products liability, and failure to warn. The Port Authority argued that defendants could have rendered their products non-detonable and could have warned sellers thereof to ensure that the products were being purchased for legitimate use. The Port Authority contended that defendants had reason to know that the products could be made explosive because of two explosions caused by ammonium nitrate more than 30 years in the past and because the products were regulated by several foreign countries owing to their explosion-producing capabilities. A federal district court dismissed the complaint for failing to state a viable cause of action. The Port Authority appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Roth, J.)

Concurrence (Hoeveler, J.)

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