Curd v. Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC, 35 Fla. L. Weekly S341a

The Supreme Court of Florida finds common law duty of polluters to protect economic interests of commercial fishermen.

The Supreme Court of Florida found that the economic loss rule does not preclude an action by fishermen against polluters who damaged the fishing industry in Tampa Bay. Further, the Court found that the polluters owed a special duty of care to the fishermen as persons who foreseeably could be injured from pollution of state waters. However, the dissent by Judge Polston raises the more interesting point concerning extending duty to parties. Judge Polston, citing Indemnity Insurance Co. of North America v. American Aviation, Inc., 891 So.2d 532 (Fla. 2004), McCain v. Florida Power Corp., 593 So.2d 500 (Fla. 1992), and other cases, warns that the extension of the zone of risk and duty in cases of pollution cases must have a "just stopping point." He continued to reason that economic consequences of a single accident are virtually endless and a future liability could be created to an "indeterminate amount for an indeterminate time to an indeterminate class." Citing Ultramares Corp. v. Touche, 255 N.Y. 170, 179 (N.Y. 1931).

Case Law Alert - 3rd Qtr 2010