The Site Report - Construction Law Insights, Issue 6, 2022

Bridges, Natural Disasters and Liability - The Skanska Decision (Part 2) -

In the last edition of The Site Report, we discussed the legal issues surrounding the damage caused by Skanska's construction barges to the new Pensacola Bay Bridge ("Bridge") between Pensacola, Florida and Gulf Breeze, Florida during Hurricane Sally. In response to hundreds of lawsuits filed in state court by local residents and businesses who were negatively impacted by the closing of the Bridge, Skanska filed an action in federal court pursuant to the Limitation of Vessel Owner's Liability Act, 46 U.S.C. § 30501, et seq. (the “Limitation Act”) to either exonerate Skanska, or limit its liability in the state court actions. In December 2021, following a four day bench trial in October 2021, the Northern District of Florida held that Skanska's negligence caused the damage to the Bridge, and that Skanska was not entitled to have its liability in the state court actions limited by the Limitation Act. See In Re Skansa USA Civil Southeast Inc. and Skanska USA, Inc., as Owners of Barge KS 5531 Praying for Exoneration From or Limitation of Liability, 2021 WL 6622423 (N.D.Fla., Dec. 29, 2021). As Paul Harvey used to say, now for the rest of the story.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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