This case was heard in the Federal Court of Canada.
An oil spill occurred at an oil refinery owned by Newfoundland Processing Limited (“NPL”) while a ship, the South Angela, was discharging its cargo of oil. After the spill had been cleaned up, NPL sued the South Angela for damages arising from the spill.
After considering the evidence put before it, the Court held that NPL and the South Angela were both responsible for the spill. Although traditionally it would have been impossible for NPR to recover damages from the South Angela once NPR’s own contributory negligence had been proven, the Court held that the traditional approach was no longer in step with current legal principles. The Court therefore apportioned liability between the two parties and awarded damages accordingly.