$14 Million Appellate Win in Maritime Case

  • May 28, 2015

The Firm’s appellate section helped bring about a win in the Fifth Circuit for Contango Operators.  Contango has a 20-inch gas pipeline in the Atchafalaya Ship Channel, but a dredge ran over the pipeline and severed it.  The dredging company did not verify the pipeline’s location beforehand, and the Corps of Engineers did not tell the dredging company about the pipeline.  Contango sued the dredging company and the government and won in federal district court.  The district court awarded about $14 million in damages.  On May 28, 2015, the Fifth Circuit affirmed.

Beck Redden appellate attorneys David M. Gunn and Erin H. Huber worked on the appeal.  They collaborated on the appeal with the trial attorneys, Karen Milhollin and George Lugrin of Hall Maines Lugrin, P.C.  Ms. Milhollin presented the oral argument in New Orleans to a panel consisting of Judges Jerry Smith, Edward Prado, and Priscilla Owen.  Judge Smith wrote the majority opinion, which affirmed as to both defendants.  Judge Owen concurred in affirming the dredging company’s liability, but she wrote a partial dissent, as she would have granted relief to the government.  Please see the attached opinion.