Maritime Updates

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What Are “Navigable Waters”?

According to this 11th Circuit case, “a waterway is navigable for admiralty jurisdiction purposes if, in its present state, it is capable of supporting commercial activity.”...more

Asbestos MDL Court Concludes Punitive Damages for Unseaworthiness Allowed for Seaman But Not for a Seaman’s Personal...

In a consolidated asbestos products liability multidistrict litigation (MDL), the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania held in In re Asbestos Products Liability Litigation (No. VI), MDL 875, that...more

A Beach Vacation from the Longshore Act

In an unpublished per curiam decision, Global Management Enterprises, LLC v. Commerce & Industry Insurance Company, No. 13-31249, filed June 23, 2014, Judges Davis, Benavides and Prado determined that a worker who was injured...more

LNG As A Marine Fuel – The Speed Of Change

“When I was asked if I might speak about the use of LNG as fuel for ships, two thoughts came to mind. Firstly, the old Latin maxim: volenti non fit injuria. Or in my vernacular: “well, you asked for...more

Potential West Coast Port Labor Disruptions Loom Large for Importers and Exporters, Including Those of FDA-Regulated Products

On July 1st, the contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) officially expired, increasing the potential of a work stoppage and cargo disruption at West...more

“Law of the Flag” Held Not to Apply to Action on Unenforceable Gambling Debt in Florida Bankruptcy Court

In this bankruptcy contract case, the debtor, a cruise vessel operating as a gambling casino, fronted $200,000 to a blackjack gambler who submitted checks for the cash but then stopped payment on the checks. The debtor sued...more

A Day At The Beach: Fifth Circuit Rejects Expansive Situs Definition For LHWCA Comp In BP Beach Cleaning Case

The Fifth Circuit recently reversed, per curiam, a district court decision finding that a contract worker cleaning oiled beaches near Grand Isle, Louisiana, in the wake of the 2010 Macondo oil spill qualified as a...more

The Carriage of Goods at Sea Act Requires that Suit Be Brought Within One Year of “Delivery”

In this case, the plaintiff entered into a contract of carriage wherein the defendant agreed to ship pears to a consignee in Brazil. A later inspection discovered that the pears froze during the voyage, causing the fruits to...more

Exports of Condensate Reflect Evolution, Not Revolution, In Crude Export Regulation

On June 24, 2014, various news sources reported that the Department of Commerce (“DOC”) had allowed two companies to export processed condensate, suggesting a breakthrough in the 40-year ban on crude oil exports. The reality...more

Recent Developments in Maritime Punitive Damages

In 2009, in Atlantic Sounding Co., Inc. v. Townsend, the Supreme Court “sea tossed” the law of maritime damages when it held that punitive damages are recoverable for an employer’s willful and wanton failure to provide a...more

No Claim for “Financial Unseaworthiness” When Passengers Never Board Vessel

This case arose in a bankruptcy proceeding. A creditor had pre-paid a substantial sum for cruises on a vessel. The vessel owner and operator filed bankruptcy before the cruises took place, and the creditor sought return of...more

Enforcing Foreign Judgments in U.S. Admiralty Courts: Second Circuit Prefers Substance Over Form

After protracted and expensive litigation overseas, you obtain a judgment against the defendant. There remains one series of hurdles left to cross: the defendant refuses to pay that judgment and has no assets in the country...more

FCPA Compliance and Ethics Report-Episode 68-Neil Swidey, author of Trapped Under the Sea [Video]

In this episode of the FCPA Compliance and Ethics Report, I visit with Neil Swidey, author of Trapped Under the Sea. Neil connects Safety, Management and compliance in talking about his compelling new book. ...more

Is a Floating Casino Subject to Maritime Jurisdiction?

In some cases, yes. In this case, a paddlewheel vessel, the Belle of Orleans. served as a dockside casino on Lake Pontchartrain. It became unmoored during Hurricane Katrina, damaged nearby property, and was liable for...more

Texas Supreme Court Opinions and Orders (6/14, pt. 2)

No. 11-0810, LAN/STV, J.V. v. Martin K. Eby Construction Co. - In a unanimous opinion by Chief Justice Hecht, the Court held that the economic loss rule does not allow a general contractor to recover increased costs of...more

Historic Water Resources Reform and Development Act Enacted into Law

On June 10, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (“WRRDA”) (Public Law No: 113-121). The primary purpose of the bill is to provide funding for improvements to rivers...more

A Contract to Repair a Vessel Is a Maritime Contract, but a Contract to Sell a Vessel Is Not.

In this case, an insurance company sued Mercury Marine and First Choice Marine after a boat dropped off for repairs was stolen from First Choice’s premises. The insurance company brought a subrogation claim, standing in the...more

Cooper v. Meridian Yachts – Complex International Maritime Case

In this complex international admiralty case, a sea captain sustained an injury as a result of a defective food lift on a ship. The ship owner, manager, and employer brought third-party claims against the ship designer and...more

FCPA Compliance and Ethics Report-Episode 62-Self Disclosure Issues Under the FCPA, a conversation with Bill Athanas and David... [Video]

In this episode I visit with Bill Athanas and David Simon on what issues a company should consider when evaluating whether it should self-disclose to the DOJ/SEC about potential FCPA violations...more

The Fifth Circuit Recognizes Impact of Subsequent In Rem Action on Forum Non Conveniens Analysis

The ever-changing Fifth Circuit jurisprudence on forum non conveniens (FNC) may have taken another turn with the Fifth Circuit’s opinion in Cotemar S.A. De C.V. v. Hornbeck Offshore Servs., L.L.C., 13-20230, 2014 WL 2111190...more

Workers' Compensation Alert: WC Board Appellate Division Update

In Bolstridge v. AGM Marine Contractors, Inc., Me. WCB App. Div. No. 14-14, the Appellate Division overturned a WCB decision which had found the WCB had personal jurisdiction over AGM Marine, a Massachusetts corporation....more

When Can Twelve Turn into Twenty-Four? Calculation of FMLA Leave for Vessel-Based Employees

The Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) ensures an employee the ability to take leave and return to work within twelve “workweeks” of a qualifying event. Employers that do not honor the protections of the FMLA risk a...more

U.S. Fifth Circuit: The CWA and OPA Preempt State Law Claims for Pollution Incidents on the OCS

Offshore exploration in the Gulf of Mexico implicates maritime law, federal law, and the different laws of five coastal states. The manner in which these different substantive laws interact is often a critical, but unclear,...more

Congressional Questions on LNG Exports Could Impact the Jones Act

Last month, Congress began consideration of comprehensive legislation to reauthorize the Coast Guard and other maritime transportation programs. Consideration of such legislation is an annual occurrence and generally moves...more

FDA Proposes Regulations on Safe Food Transport

In early February, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its seventh and final major rule as part of the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act. The proposed rule seeks to prevent the contamination...more

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