Making BP's Blood Curd-le: Duty, Economic Loss, and the Potential Cardozian Nightmare after Curd v. Mosaic Fertilizer
01 September 2011Florida Law Review
The traditional economic loss rule precludes plaintiffs-such as those affected by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill-from recovering losses not resulting from damage to person or property. Most states have applied the rule to various circumstances and have carved out several exceptions over time, including one for commercial fishermen. In the Florida Supreme Court’s decision in Curd v. Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC, the court expanded the duty element in negligence to new reaches for claims of pure economic loss. As a result, Florida now unquestionably promises the greatest opportunity compared to the other Gulf states for recovery of pure economic losses due to the negligence of a polluter such as Mosaic Fertilizer or BP. The issue that remains unclear after Curd is whether and how far this newly stated duty will extend beyond commercial fishermen to parties such as distributors, restaurants, fisheries, and fish brokers. This Article provides a brief background of the pure economic loss rule and its application in Florida, pre- and post-Curd. The Article also provides the first in- depth analysis of the treatment of the pure economic loss rule in each of the Gulf states-Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas-as well as their applicable federal circuits. The analysis illustrates that Florida’s rule, following Curd, is the most amenable to plaintiffs. In the end, it is unclear just how far the holding in Curd may stretch or limit the economic loss rule in Florida and how much litigation will see the inside of a courthouse based on Curd’s precedent.