American River Transp., et al. v. United States, Corp of Engineers, No. 12-1720 (8th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
The M/V Julie White, a towboat owned by Artco, was pushing four barges on the river when the barges separated from the towboat and allided with Lock and Dam 25. The barges then sank. After Artco salvaged and removed the sunken barges from the Mississippi River, Artco filed suit under the Limitation of Shipowners' Liability Act (Limitation Act), 46 U.S.C. 30501-12, seeking exoneration from, or limitation of liability for, claims arising from the allision. On appeal, Artco challenged the district court's dismissal of the limitation complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) because the United States' claims under the Rivers and Harbors Act, 33 U.S.C. 401-76, were not subject to limitation under the Limitation Act. The court concluded that the government did not have statutory standing because it failed to file a claim in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Supplemental F(5), and therefore, the district court erred by entertaining the government's motion to dismiss the limitation complaint. Because the court concluded that the government was without standing, the court need not address the merits of the government's motion to dismiss. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings.