SMBP Maritime Group Wins Summary Judgment on Contractual Indemnity Claim

On January 13, 2018, a multi-barge breakaway occurred from the Jacks Run fleet in Pittsburgh, PA resulting in millions of dollars of loss and damage to the barges and a complex maze of litigation, which remains pending in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. In the course of its representation of one of the barge owners, SMBP pursued a contractual indemnity claim for reimbursement of the barge owner’s first-party losses, damages, and expenses arising from the breakaway. The indemnitor repeatedly denied the claim, prompting the filing of a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. On July 20, 2021, Judge Horan granted the Motion, holding the indemnity provision unambiguously requires the indemnitor to provide indemnity for the barge owner’s first and third-party losses, damages, expenses, and liability arising from the breakaway, regardless of fault or a determination of what or who caused the breakaway.