Lawsuit Filed After Mississippi River Barge Hits Loading Facility

Farmers Grain Terminal, Inc., a Mississippi grain wholesale company with a loading facility in Arkansas located along the Mississippi River, filed a complaint on Tuesday in the Eastern District of Arkansas asking for the defendants, Archer-Daniels-Midland-Company (ADM) and its subsidiary American River Transportation Co., to pay for damages it purportedly did to its facility by running a boat down the river which was “unseaworthy.” 

According to the complaint, American River Transportation owned and operated a river towboat named “the M/V Andrew C. Macmillan,” or “the Andrew.” The pilot of the tugboat was reportedly pushing 35 barges and navigating in the lower Mississippi River “far outside of the channel and in high water.” 

Farmers Grain claimed that the pilot had the responsibility to take a course and speed that would not cause “predictable adverse effects on this flotilla’s navigation course,” but that the pilot was negligent and caused an allusion between the plaintiffs’ loading and unloading facility and its tow.  The claim against the defendants listed in the complaint was an “admiralty and maritime claim” under Rule 9(h) in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. 

The complaint purported that the Andrew was “unseaworthy” because it was not manned by a competent crew, the crew did not avoid the allision with the barge, the crew did not “maintain proper lookout,” the tugboat was underpowered or had deficiently maintained. The plaintiffs claimed that the Andrew and its crew violated regulations which are meant to prevent allisions and keep navigation safe. 

Farmers Grain explained that it has suffered damages because of the incident and has increased expenses to mitigate future damages.  The company claimed that the defendants owe it over $1 million in addition to attorney’s fees, interest, and other costs. 

The plaintiff is represented by Ryburn Law Firm