New admiralty case from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. It is unpublished, and therefore of limited precedential value, but it does discuss the "Act of God" defense in a Katrina-related fact pattern. The case is Simmons v. Berglin, 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 23499 and can be found here. The facts are brief: an absentee sailboat owner asked two neighbors to secure her sailboat. As Hurricane Katrina, the neighbors assisted in securing the sailboat for the storm. The vessel broke free from her moorings and caused damage to a different neighbor. That neighbor sued for the property damage and the sailboat owner asserted the defense of "Act of God." The District Court agreed that the defense was a complete defense and granted the vessel owner's summary judgment motion. The Fifth Circuit agreed. Finding the sailboat owner's actions entirely reasonable and that the hurricane storm surge was an Act of God, the court affirmed the summary judgment in favor of the sailboat owner.
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