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Ingram Trial Victory Upheld

In Alexander v. Ingram Barge Company, the plaintiffs claimed Ingram’s captain negligently piloted the M/V DALE A. HELLER during record flood conditions and caused its tow to break away and damage the dam adjacent to the town.  After a 10-day trial in late 2016, the district court found the accident to be the sole fault of the United States Army Corps of Engineers.  The plaintiffs appealed this ruling.  The Seventh Circuit affirmed, finding that Ingram’s captain prudently relied on the Corps’ dam operator to lower the dam gates as the tow passed; instead, he raised them and thus created a severe current that sucked the tow towards the dam.  By contrast, the court ruled, the captain did not violate any navigational rules of the road.

Ingram’s fleet is made up of more than 150 towboats and nearly 5,000 hopper and tank barges.  The DALE A. HELLER regularly travels the Illinois River, carrying essential cargo between Chicago and St. Louis.

Liskow’s Don Haycraft was lead trial counsel and argued the appeal to the Seventh Circuit in Chicago.