Maritime Civil Procedure

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Which Ground for Federal Jurisdiction is the Safest in Dredging Cases?: Board of Commissioners of the Southeast Louisiana Flood...

The Eastern District of Louisiana recently denied the Board of Commissioners of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East’s (Plaintiff) Motion to Remand its suit against 92 oil and gas companies back to state...more

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In an unpublished per curiam decision, Global Management Enterprises, LLC v. Commerce & Industry Insurance Company, No. 13-31249, filed June 23, 2014, Judges Davis, Benavides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

“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

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

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

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

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

Recent Supreme Court Cases Change (Or At Least Reset) The Game For Personal Jurisdiction

In two recent decisions with critical implications for maritime practitioners and litigants in particular, the United States Supreme Court has re-written the script for determining the existence of personal jurisdiction over...more

Virginia Supreme Court Opinions Affecting Local Government Law: April 17, 2014

The Virginia Supreme Court issued opinions yesterday morning. After last term issuing no opinions significantly affecting Virginia Local Government Law (at least not in this author’s judgment), this term’s opinions are a...more

A SPAR Is Not A Vessel, But Is A SPAR A Building?

Are SPAR platforms immoveable buildings? On April 9, 2014, Judge Rebecca Doherty issued a memorandum ruling in Hefren v. Murphy Exploration & Production Co., USA, et al., that they are, meaning in Louisiana a five-year window...more

District Court Extends Fifth Circuit’s Naquin Decision to Barge Cleaning/Repair Employee

As previously reported (regarding the Naquin decision), the Fifth Circuit recently expanded the scope of Jones Act seaman status to include a shipyard worker who spent 70% of his time working aboard vessels (usually moored to...more

Hercules and the Lernaean Hydra: The Hercules Removal Jurisprudence Sprouts Yet Another Head

In yet another twist in the tortured labors of the Hercules jurisprudence regarding removal of general maritime law claims under 28 U.S.C. §1441(a), the Eastern District of Louisiana has generated a new, divergent “head” on...more

Eastern District of Louisiana Rules that Factual Portions of Incident Report by Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement...

In the new world of shared regulatory oversight between the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and BSEE on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), a mundane devil-in-the-details – but nonetheless vitally important question – had...more

All That Floats is Not A Boat: Eastern District of Louisiana Jettisons Fifth Circuit’s Holmes Decision, Rules That Quarter Barge...

The three men in the tub will no longer have recourse to the federal courts’ admiralty jurisdiction, at least not in the Eastern District of Louisiana. In Martin v. Fab-Con, Inc., 2014 WL 1246073 (E.D. La. Mar. 24, 2014) – a...more

Sound, Speed, and Distance - The Second Circuit Allows Use of SVDR Data as Evidence in Maritime Casualty

In a Summary Order dated March 13, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for Second Circuit affirmed a summary judgment of the Southern District of New York, which ruled in favor of a vessel owner based on data of the...more

28 U.S.C. §1333 - The Shirt of Nessus that May Bring Down Hercules?

As detailed in numerous prior posts (most recently regarding the Coronel decision), a series of decisions allowing removal of general maritime law (GML) claims by seamen, even when combined with otherwise statutorily...more

The Labors of Hercules: Federal District Court in Washington Rejects Free Removability of General Maritime Law Claims Under 28...

As reported in two prior posts (The Removal of the Ancient Mariner - The Developing Jurisprudence Allowing Removal of General Maritime Law Claims under the Recent Amendments to 28 U.S.C. §1441(b) and The Removal of the...more

Fifth Circuit Limits Pollution Liability

In a significant decision issued February 24, 2014, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal laws preempt state laws in the case of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, because the event occurred in federal...more

Foundering On "Sea-Tossed" Waters? The Fifth Circuit Grants En Banc Rehearing in Estis

After making a splash in October of 2013 with a landmark ruling in McBride v. Estis Well Service, L.L.C., 731 F.3d 505, 517 (5th Cir. 2013) "that punitive damages remain available to seamen as a remedy for the general...more

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