; Pruitt v. Allied Chemical Corp
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Pruitt v. Allied Chemical Corp

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									Pruitt v. Allied Chemical Corp, 523 F.Supp. 975, 1981 Can Пs recover prospective economic damages? Where do we draw the line of liability? Issue Reasoning
Rationale for GR: econ losses not foreseeable and too remote. o But under the test of duty, or remoteness, the damages would be recoverable. The difficulties in this case are how to measure o the cost of the chemical pollution – no property damage: costs were borne most directly by the wildlife. o Utility: Denial of liability serves no social utility. o Destruction of the wildlife should not be a costless activity. Fishermen entitled to compensation it would be on constructive-property-interest-in-the-Bay’sharvestable-species theory. o These professional watermen are entitled to recover despite any direct physical damage to their own property o But none of Пs are in this category. Commercial fishermen fit category established by Union Bay: they lawfully and directly make use of resource of the sea. o Use that marine and charterboat owners make of the water is less direct. o Less direct is the link b/w the Bay and the seafood dealers, restraurants, and tackle shops. Avoiding double counting in calc damages: any fish is sold several times. o Just a Δ should not be able to escape liability for destruction of publicly owned marine life, o Δ should not be caused to pay repeatedly for the same damage Re “investment:” the EEs had no physical investment in ERs’ bus. o If Пs allegations are proven, these EEs would be entitled to recover. o Parties who bought and sold to and from Пs also suffered losses in bus. o The set of potential Пs seems almost infinite!  b/c of this, it makes sense to limit liability. Sportsmen also suffered and can recover; but their losses and small and they are not likely to sue. Directness of harm to boat and marina owners is high enough: they operate on or at edge of waters.


GR: Cannot recover for indirect econ harm. o Minority Exceptions: o Loss of business opportunities due to pollution of steams adjoining П’s property. Purpose of Tort law is to maximize social utility: o where the costs of accidents exceeds the costs of preventing them, the law will impose liability. When the number of Пs is almost infinite, it make sense to limit liability even when damages are foreseeable. Δ should pay once and no more for damages inflicted. Recovery may be obtained for damage proximately caused by the Δ’s negeligence. Econ harm Rule: a negligence П who suffers no physical impact to person/property cannot recover for other losses – so-called economic harm.

Allied dumped chemicals in the James river causing economic injuries to different categories of Пs who harvest the River and its Bay. Пs claimed lost profits resulting from decline in demand for seafood from the affected areas. (These damages are indirect damages) Δ’s Motion to dismiss claims of all Пs except fishermen, shellfishermen, and lessors of oysterbeds. o None of the Пs were direct users of the Bay, commercial or personal. o None of the Пs suffered property damage.

Held Proc П argues Δ argues

Пs who purchased and marketed seafood from commercial fishermem suffered damages that are not legally cognizable because insufficiently direct. Fishermen themselves can recover. No double counting: the lost profits represented a return on the investment of each of the Пs. o Δ would not be expected to pay more than the replacement value of a П’s actual investment. The stream of profits has been interrupted; seeking compensation for the loss of the prospective profits we have been denied. Δ’s negligence entitles us to recover. Union Oil: compensation for fishermen for losses caused by pollution from oil spills. Concede that Union Oil correctly decided.

Helfend v. Southern California Rapid Transit District, 465 P.2d 61, 1970 Issue Reasoning




Held Proc П argues Δ argues

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