Maritime Plaintiff Need Only Prove Lost Profits with “Reasonable Certainty”
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a judgment from the US District Court for the Southern District in Great Lakes Business Trust v. M/T ORANGE SUN, wherein the District Court awarded the Plaintiff, Great Lakes Business Trust, USD 11,736,645 in alleged ‘lost profits’ resulting from a 2008 allision between the tanker M/T ORANGE SUN and the dredge NEW YORK. Liability for the allision was conceded by the defendants. The casualty caused the dredge to be out of service for 194 days while undergoing necessary repairs. Although the parties agreed that the Plaintiff could recover damages for the loss of profits and/or loss of use of the vessel pending repairs, the sufficiency of the evidence for the quantum of damages alleged was disputed.
After trial, the District Court held that Plaintiff was not required to demonstrate that the dredge had lost a specific contract in order to recover damages; finding that there was an active market for the dredge at the time of the allision, immediately thereafter, and into the foreseeable future and further finding that the dredge likely would have been used 92% of the time had the incident not occurred. The Second Circuit affirmed the District Courts opinion and stated that Great Lakes successfully proved its lost profits with “reasonable certainty” and further held that specific evidence of particular lost contracts or opportunities was unnecessary to obtain and sustain the award of damages.
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