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Curd v. Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC

Citation: 40 ELR 20172
No. No. 08-1920, (Fla., 06/17/2010)

The Florida Supreme Court held that commercial fishermen can recover for economic losses caused by the negligent release of pollutants even if they do not own any property damaged by that pollution. The case arose after waste from a fertilizer company entered a pond, resulting in a loss of underwater plant life, fish, bait fish, crabs, and other marine life. The fishermen did not claim an ownership in the damaged marine and plant life, but claim that it resulted in damage to the reputation of the fishery products the fishermen are able to catch and sell. The lower court dismissed their case. But contrary to the findings of the lower court, the company did owe a duty of care to the fishermen, a duty that was not shared by the public as a whole. Moreover, the release of pollutants constituted a tortious invasion that interfered with the special interest of the commercial fishermen to use those public waters to earn their livelihood. This breach of duty gives rise to a cause of action sounding in negligence.