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OHIO BARGE LINE, INC. v. DRAVO CORP.

May 11, 1971

OHIO BARGE LINE, INC., a corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
DRAVO CORPORATION, a corporation, Defendant and Third-Party Plaintiff, v. WESTINGHOUSE AIR BRAKE COMPANY, a corporation, Third-Party Defendant


Weis, Jr., District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: WEIS, JR.

Few admiralty doctrines have received more criticism and with so little effect as that which holds that agreements for the construction of vessels are not maritime contracts and, hence, not within the purview of admiralty jurisdiction. *fn1" This holding has been repeated many times by decisions of the Supreme Court *fn2" and is now accepted as firmly established, albeit arguably inconsistent and illogical.

 The defendant Dravo has invoked the principle once again as the basis for its Motion to Dismiss the plaintiff's suit in this court.

 The Complaint asserts that the defendant designed and built a towboat known as the M/V Steel Express at the instance of the plaintiff and delivered it on April 12, 1966. Two years later, specifically on April 2, 1968, a filter in the clutch control system caused an explosion on the vessel while it was in navigation on the Ohio River near Bellaire, Ohio. The towboat went out of control and struck several barges and the landing to which they were moored, all owned by the Delta Concrete Company.

 Ohio Barge Line alleges that it was an R-2 filter in the clutch control system of the towboat which was defective and urges the existence of liability on the part of the defendant on eight separate theories:

 
1. Strict liability under the provivisions of Section 402A of the Restatement of Torts.
 
2. Assignment of the claim of the landing owner.
 
3. Express warranty.
 
4. Implied warranty.
 
5. Indemnity provisions of the construction contract between the plaintiff and Dravo.
 
6. Indemnification under general theories of primary and secondary negligence.
 
7. Unjust enrichment.
 
8. Unseaworthiness on delivery of the towboat to ...

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