Civil Procedure Maritime

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Mainbrace: January 2016 No. 1

2015 was an interesting year for the shipping industry. The dry bulk market had a very challenging 2015, with the Baltic Dry Index hitting new all-time lows. Based on various reports, the outlook for 2016 is not very...more

“In Navigation” Status for Vessels under Renovation Remains Unclear

A Texas court of appeals recently held that a drill ship undergoing a renovation for nearly two years in dry dock might still be a “vessel in navigation.” Gold v. Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc., No. 14-15-00123-CV, (Tex....more

The Argument for Utmost Good Faith in Property Insurance

The term “bad faith” is commonly understood as a breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing recognized in insurance contracts due to the “special relationship” between an insured and an insurer. Breach of this...more

Stormwater Permits Are Not One Size Fits All

It’s rare for a stormwater lawsuit to result in a court decision since most settle in the early stages, but a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge John C. Coughenour in the Western District of Washington provides useful...more

2nd Circuit case highlights complexities of ballast water regs

Effective control of ship-borne, nonindigenous organisms has proved to be a major challenge to the maritime industry, international maritime organizations, national and local governments, environmental organizations, and,...more

Southern District of Illinois Court Denies “Bare Metal Defense,” Applying Maritime Law

On September 23, 2015, in Kochera v. Foster Wheeler, LLC, No. 3:14-cv-00029 (S.D.Ill. 2015), the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, applying maritime law, denied Ingersoll-Rand Company’s...more

When Conducting Investigations, Consider "Privileges"

Whether voluntarily or as required by the International Safety Management Code, the American Waterways Operators’ (“AWO”) Responsible Carrier Program, or some other rule or regulation, investigations of accidents and...more

Court of Appeal finds that ship owner “got what it agreed to pay for”

(1) PST Energy 7 Shipping LLC and (2) Product Shipping & Trading S.A. v. (1) O.W. Bunker Malta Ltd and (2) ING Bank N.V. [2015] EWCA Civ 1058. In a decision which has wide reaching implications for ship owners, the Court...more

Stuck in the Bunker – OW and Retention of Title

The fallout from the OW Bunker bankruptcy in November last year continues with a number of claims being heard in the English courts. Last month the owners of the vessel “Res Cogitans” appealed to the Court of Appeal against...more

Marine Insurance Coverage—The Uberrimae Fidei Defense and Reliance as a Necessary Factor

On August 20, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled that demonstrating reliance is required to void a marine insurance policy under the uberrimae fidei defense. In doing so, the court reversed the...more

Future Lost Wages Decision of Note by U.S. Fifth Circuit

The U.S. Fifth Circuit recently reversed and rendered a District Court’s finding of future lost wages so that it was based on statistical work life expectancy rather than Social Security retirement age. In the recent...more

Courts in New York and Singapore Reach Opposite Conclusions on the Validity of Interpleader Applications Arising out of the OW...

On 7 November 2014, OW Bunker A/S (“OW”), a global supplier and trader of marine fuel, filed for bankruptcy in Denmark. Further bankruptcies of OW subsidiaries and affiliates swiftly followed, including the bankruptcy of...more

Seventh Circuit Finds Admiralty Jurisdiction in Asiana Airlines Lawsuits

In litigation arising from the July 2013 accident of Asiana Flight 214 at the San Francisco International Airport, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed the District Court's remand decision, holding that...more

Seventh Circuit: "Frivolous" Argument Saves Jurisdiction

The Seventh Circuit issued an important opinion by Judge Easterbrook today, Lu Junhong v. Boeing Co., No. 14-1825, a clump of cases that arose after an Asiana Airlines jet manufactured by Boeing struck a seawall while landing...more

Ninth Circuit Revives Tort Claims Initially Dismissed Under Economic Loss Doctrine Where Product Caused Damage to “Other Property”

On June 29, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in CHMM LLC v. Freeman Marine Equipment, Case No. 13-35163 (D.C. No. 3:12-cv-01484-ST), reversed the District Court’s judgment in an admiralty case, holding that a vessel...more

Transocean/BP Settlement Ends Texas Law Insurance Dispute: What Are the Possible Future Implications?

A lesser known but interesting legal issue regarding the 2010 BP oil spill was whether an operator (BP) could recover insurance proceeds as an additional insured under its driller's (Transocean) insurance policies for...more

Crowley Executive Acquittal in Price Fixing Trial Highlights Importance of Evaluating Legitimate Defenses and Avoiding Costly Plea...

A federal jury’s recent acquittal of a shipping company executive charged with price fixing highlights the challenges and uncertainties the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) faces when defendants force...more

Freeze, Ship – You’re Under Arrest: Former Warship Now Underwater Following Court Order

The Federal Court ordered that a former Royal Canadian Navy destroyer be released from arrest before trial, without bail, so the ship could be sunk by its owner to create an artificial reef near Vancouver. ...more

Is payment of time charter hire a condition? The Astra reconsidered.

In Kuwait Rocks Co v AMB Bulkcarriers Inc (The Astra), Flaux J determined that the obligation to make punctual payment of hire under an amended NYPE time charter, whether on its own or in conjunction with an anti-technicality...more

First Circuit Recognizes Uberrimae Fidei In Admiralty Context

The First Circuit recently examined, in the admiralty context, the doctrine of uberrimae fidei, a legal doctrine requiring that all parties to an insurance contract deal in good faith and fully disclose all material facts....more

A New Wave – Eleventh Circuit Rejects “Barbetta Rule,” Opts for Cruise Line Liability

What happens if a passenger gets sick on a cruise ship and the treating physician, employed by the cruise line, is negligent in caring for the passenger? Is the cruise line liable?...more

“OCEAN VICTORY” – Court of Appeal Decision

In Gard Marine & Energy Ltd v China National Chartering Co Ltd (Rev 1) [2015] EWCA Civ 16, the Appellant sub-charterers appealed the 2013 judgment of Teare J....more

Mainbrace - January 2015 No. 1

In this issue: - A Sea Change Sweeps over Congress: A Look Back and a Look Ahead - Shipping & International Trade Law (Second Edition 2015) - Congress Passes Coast Guard Bill in Waning Hours of 113th...more

5th Circuit Blocks Punitive Damages in Maritime Case

In McBride v. Estis Well Service, LLC, the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals determined that punitive damages are not available to seamen under the Jones Act or under general maritime law. In those cases, recovery is...more

Fifth Circuit upholds “seamen” exemption and dismisses “day-rate” FLSA collective action suit.

A wave of FLSA collective (class) actions have been filed against scores of marine shipping and towing companies in the Gulf States for violation of the FLSA. Specifically, these suits claim that the commonly used “day-rate”...more

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