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United States v. Carroll Towing Co.

From lawbrain.com

United States v. Carroll Towing Co., 159 F.2d 169 (1947), was a torts case that helps to define the concept of unreasonable risk.

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Summary of Case Facts

Connor’s company’s workers were absent from their barge & Carrol’s worker caused it to come free when they were creating a new hold for their jugboat. One of the loose barges (the "Anna C") ultimately hit a tanker and sunk. The United States sued Carroll's towing for hitting their tanker.


Where does liability fall when no one is watching the barge? Specifically, was it negligent to not have a worker watching the barge at all hours?

Holding and Law

If the expense of the precautions is less than the expectation value of the injury then the party will be found negligent. Known as the BPL, Judge Learned Hand's opinion set out a formulaic evaluation for this type of negligence case. Applied here, the court compared the burden of having a person on duty the entire against the probability that an accident will occur and the gravity of the accident.

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