The Court found that pre-storm predictions lacked sufficient reliability to have required additional actions by Zim and the terminal to save the cargo. There were wildly varying reports of where and when Sandy would make landfall, how strong it would be, and what sort of storm surge could be expected. Lord & Taylor argued that there were a number of actions the terminal should have taken to protect the cargo, asserting that the damage was foreseeable because some of the reports were using terms like “historic.” The Court disagreed, saying such descriptions were far too vague and did not provide the sort of specific information actually needed to protect the cargo from the damage sustained. Ultimately, there simply was insufficient time between when the weather services could provide high-confidence predictions and when Sandy hit the terminal to actually move the cargo to safety. Zim successfully demonstrated that Sandy ended up being much worse than even worst-case-scenario predictions. Based on the weather predictions, most of the pre-storm preparations by the terminal had focused on securing the cargo from wind damage The storm surge, which ended up causing most of the damage, was not predicted to pass the bulkhead at the terminal. As such, it was not considered a danger requiring the type of measures and precautions that Lord & Taylor asserted after the fact. Based on the unprecedented severity of Hurricane Sandy and the reasonableness of the precautions the terminal did take based on the best information available, the District Court found Zim and the terminal were entitled to the Act of God defense, not negligent and not liable for the cargo damage.
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