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Facts- Conners Company owned a barge named Anna C which was chartered by Pennsylvania Railroad Company with the services of a bargee who was required to stay on board from 8 AM to 5 PM. The barge was loaded with flour owned by the Plaintiff, U.S., and was moored to the end of a pier with other barges. The tug Carroll, owned by Carroll Towing Co., whose the Appellant, chartered by Grace Line Inc., was sent to drill out one of the barges. The defendant went on board the barge and readjusted the mooring lines. It broke free of the mooring lines because of this readjustment. It hit a tanker and its propeller broke a hole in the barge. It lurched, dumped her cargo and sank. P’s cargo could have been saved if somebody was on board but the bargee was absent since the last evening. P sued D for negligence.
Procedural History- Appellant sought review of the U.S. District Court’s Judgment who held them partly liable for the damages caused by the sinking of the barge as well as the cargo. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision and apportioned the damages
Issue- Who is held negligent and liable to pay the damages for the loss?
Judgment- Appellant was held liable for the damages as the barge was left unattended during the working hours. Judge Learned Hand separated the damages into two parts: the Collision Damages which was caused when Anna C collided with the tanker in this one half damages was put on Grace Line Inc and the other half was put on Carroll Towing Co and the Sinking Damages which was caused when Anna C and the Cargo sank in this one third damages was put on each three i.e. Carroll Towing Company, Grace Line Inc. and Conners Marine Co.
Rationale- Judge Hand asserted that there is no general rule to determine when the barge owner will be liable if it breaks away the mooring line without the bargee onboard. So he laid out three factors to determine whether the barge owner was negligent or not- “(1) The probability that she will break away (P); (2) the gravity of the resulting injury, if she does (L); (3) the burden of adequate precautions (B)”. This can be algebraically written as B<PL which means if the burden of taking adequate precaution is lesser than the probability of the events times the gravity of the resulting injury then the barge owner will be held liable. In this case damages were severe as both barge and cargo sank, there was a high probability of this event because of winters and wartime activity and burden of adequate precautions was missing as the barge was left unattended.
Rule- If the burden of taking adequate precaution is lesser than the probability of the events times the gravity of the resulting injury then the person will be held liable.

CASE COMMENT-
Introduction-The United States v. Carroll Towing Co .case emerged because of the sinking of a barge name Anna C which was loaded with the flour of United States. This incident took place in New York City, in the month of January, during the wartime activity. Pennsylvania Railroad Company had chartered a barge, Anna C, from Connors Marine Co. It also included the services of a bargee was required to stay on board limited hours to the hours 8 AM to 4 PM. The barge was loaded with the cargo of the Plaintiff and was moored at a pier with several other barges. The Grace Line Inc. chartered Carroll Towing Co. to drill out one of the barges from the same pier where Anna C was moored. In order to drill out that barge they had to readjust the mooring lines of the barges which around as well. The Defendants went on board every barge and readjusted the mooring line to their satisfaction, including Anna C. These readjustments broke free the mooring lines of Anna C. It collided with a tanker whose propeller broke a hole in her. Later she careened, dumped her cargo and sank. The accident could have been avoided if the bargee was present on board. But he was absent since last evening. During the trial, Carroll and Grace defended on the ground that the absence of the bargee resulted in contributory negligence of Conners. The District Court held that only Carroll was responsible to pay the damages for Anna C as well as the lost cargo. The party appealed.
The Appeal Court apportioned the damages through cost benefit formula or Hand Rule which states that if the burden of taking adequate precaution is less than probability of that event and the gravity of the resulting injury then the person will be held liable for the damages. The bargee’s absence, for more than 21 hours for no good reason, was a crucial point because had he been there, the bargee could have noticed the leaking and he would have been able to prevent the sinking and the lost of cargo. To distribute the damages justly, Judge Hand divided the damages into two parts- Collision Damages, which was caused when the barge collided with tanker, in this half of the damages were put on Grace Line Inc., whose employee, harbormaster, went on board the barge for the readjustment and half of the damages were put on Carroll Towing Co, whose employee, Deckhand went on board with the harbormaster for the readjustment of the mooring lines and they were negligent. But none was put on Conners Company as the judg said “there is no slightest ground for saying that the deckhand and the harbormaster would have paid any attention to any protest which he might have made” . Second Damages are Sinking Damages which was caused when she dumped her cargo and sank in this one third of damages were put on each three parties i.e. Conners Company, as the absence of the barge was unjustifiable the judge said that “The bargee had been away all the time, and we hold that his fabricated story was affirmative evidence that he had no excuse for his absence”, Carroll Towing Co and Grace Line Inc..
This Comment will argue that the The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals was correct in adopting the cost benefit formula in analyzing the negligence which caused by each party in this case.
Analysis- the Court’s decision fundamentally altered the way a negligence case with similar facts can be decided. This completely new structure of throwing mathematical cost benefit formula into the law wasn’t a response to any precedent but the same remedies were given with no general rule like in the case of Clapp v. Young, schooner was held liable who broke free of its mooring lines and collided with another ship and the reason was that the ship was left unattended when an attendant was required to be there. Attendant owed a duty of care towards the schooner and several other ships around it but it was breached when he left it unattended and caused losses. In Carroll Towing case when the bargee left the barge unattended more than 21 hours he breached the duty of care towards the barge which resulted in sinking of the barge and lost cargo.
In the case of Fenno v The Mary E. Cuff, the attendant left the ship unattended during the storm and it ran another ship. Here the court held that there was a foreseeability of harm which could occur so he owed a duty of care which was breached when he left it unattended. In Carroll Towing case when the bargee did not report next morning and it was during the war then he owed higher duty towards the barge.
In the case of The Trenton, the attendant left the ship left after his shift was over for the day but at night a storm arose. But he wasn’t held liable for the damages because the forseeability of harm was very low. It can be seen from the forgoing cases that no general rule was set to determine in which case a bargee will be held liable for the damages. But in the case of United States Vs Carroll Towing, Judge Learned Hand’s rule of cost benefit rule was the guiding light for the case with similar facts. The Hand’s Rule states that “If the burden of taking adequate precaution is lesser than the probability of the events times the gravity of the resulting injury then the person will be held liable”. This rule can provide remedies to the victim in an efficiently just way.

The Court even justified its reasoning which it stated in the case by dividing the damages into two parts. It served the idea of unbiased decision. Each and every issue was considered accurately. Each party, who were negligent during the course of that incident, was held liable at the end. Grace Line Inc., who was not held liable in the district court, was held liable in the Court of Appeal because the harbormaster, Company’s employee, was present on board the barge. So there was Contributory negligence from this company as well as Carroll Towing Company whose employee, Deckhand, was present on board with the harbormaster. Hence, it proves that the court considered each and every point of the case and then apportioned the damages. They were successful in determining the parties who were negligent during the course of that incident.
Conclusion- The decision taken by the Court of Appeal was correct. It considered all issues with proper reasoning which lead to an unbiased distribution of the damages.

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