Personal Injury Maritime

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Deepwater Horizon ruling puts focus on prevention

Last week’s decision by District Judge Carl Barbier exposes the UK-headquartered energy giant to up to $18bn in fines for the 2010 drillship incident because, under the same US laws that cover tanker spills, civil penalties...more

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

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

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

That’s Not My Kid! Board Clarifies Definition Of “Child” Under The Longshore Act

On February 25, 2014, the Benefits Review Board rendered its decision in Smith v. Mt. Mitchell, LLC, ____BRBS____ (D.O.L. Ben. Rev. Bd. Feb. 25, 2014), which affirmed an Administrative Law Judge’s decision and order,...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

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

Land-Based Jones Act Seaman Status, Emotional Damages, And The “Zone Of Danger”

Fifth Circuit Affirms Jury Finding for Land-Based Worker to be Covered by Jones Act but Reverses Award of Emotional Damages in Naquin v. Elevating Boats LLC, No. 12-31258 (5th Cir., 3/10/14)....more

Fifth Circuit Expands Coverage of Jones Act, Rules That Shipyard Employee Injured in Shore-Based Crane Incident is a Seaman

In a ruling that will likely send shockwaves through the maritime industry and be considered a landmark decision in years to come, a divided panel of the Fifth Circuit in Naquin v. Elevating Boats, L.L.C., --- F.3d ---,No....more

The Removal of the Ancient Mariner - Reprising a Sea-Change in Admiralty Law

As originally discussed in a recent post on Striding the Quarterdeck (December 9, 2013), amendments to 28 U.S.C. §1441 have effected a sea-change in admiralty procedure by ostensibly allowing removal of general maritime law...more

Perils of the seas needn’t be too perilous

When the cargo vessel “Irene EM” grounded on 30 October 2009 in the Gulf of Khambhat, underwriters declined cover as the loss was not caused by a peril of the sea. The term “perils of the seas” refers only to...more

Second Circuit Firmly Aligns (for now) with the Robins Dry Dock Rule on Non-Recoverability of Pure Economic Damages Absent...

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in American Petroleum & Transport, Inc. v. New York, 2013 WL 6332548 (2d Cir. Dec. 6, 2013) recently - albeit reluctantly - joined the fleet of other federal circuit...more

But I’m Not Dead Yet! Punitive Damages For Unseaworthiness Claims Live On

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently concluded that Jones Act seamen can recover punitive damages for their employer’s willful and wanton breach of the general maritime duty to provide a seaworthy vessel, in...more

TRANSACTIONAL: Transactions: Amendments to 1976 LLMC Convention Increase Maritime Accident Exposure for LNG Vessel Owners –...

The Convention of Liability for Maritime Claims 19 November 1976 ("1976 LLMC" or the "Convention"), as amended by the Protocol of 1996, is a convention designed primarily to limit liability for shipowners for maritime...more

File The Complaint For Limitation Of Liability Part 2: Electric Boogaloo

The scenario may be all too familiar. A vessel owner is involved in a commercial relationship with a valuable customer, when a marine casualty involving the vessel occurs....more

Ship’s Navigator Sentenced To Four Years For Criminal Negligence

A B.C. ship’s navigator has been sentenced to four years after he was convicted of criminal negligence causing death for dereliction of duty leading to his ship colliding with an island....more

Geoffrey Scimone v. Carnival Corporation

Order Affirming Denial of Defendant's Motion for Removal

On July 1, 2013 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit held that plaintiffs in separate lawsuits could not be joined together for purposes of complying with the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA).The Court rejected...more

Gross Negligence The Focus Of BP Oil Spill Post-Trial Briefing Order

Gross negligence is a focus of post-trial briefing orders in the BP oil spill litigation. After weeks of testimony, and dramatic “reveals” of newly discovered evidence that had been hiding in labs for years, the Phase...more

Working Hard Or Hardly Working? The Definition Of “Rest” And Towing Vessel Work-Hour Limitations

An often contentious issue in maritime litigation involving both personal injury and property damage is whether the wheelman in charge of a towing vessel that exceeds 26' violated the so-called “twelve-hour rule.” According...more

I’ll Take “Not A Vessel” for $600, Alex: What Is A Tension Leg Platform?

In the wake of the revisited tests of vessel status by the Supreme Court in Stewart vs. Dutra Construction Company, 543 U.S. 481 (2005) and Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, Fla., 133 S.Ct. 735 (2013), it remains to be seen...more

Jurgens And Bercaw Establish A Tension Leg Platform Is Not A Vessel

Jack Jurgens and Jim Bercaw succeeded in obtaining a partial summary judgment from District Judge Lance M. Africk that the MATTERHORN SEASTAR, a floating tension leg platform (“TLP”) secured to the Outer Continental Shelf off...more

FANE LOZMAN v. THE CITY OF RIVIERA BEACH, FLORIDA

U.S. Supreme Court Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court has now ruled that Lozman’s houseboat was a "floating home" and has ruled that his floating home is not a vessel. ...more

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