MA Federal Court Assesses Punitive Damages and Attorneys' Fees Against Vessel Owner By Norman A. Peloquin, II, Esq., Brad Gandrup, Jr., Esq. and Samuel P. Blatchley, Esq.


On May 12, 2010, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts assessed punitive damages and attorneys' fees against a vessel owner as a result of the owner’s “callous, willful, or recalcitrant” failure to pay cure to a plaintiff seaman. Mulligan v. Maritrans Operating Co., Civil Action No. 06-10492-LTS (D. Mass., May 12, 2010) was the first such decision from a district court in the First Circuit (based in Boston) since the U.S. Supreme Court decided Atlantic Sounding Co. v. Townsend, 129 S. Ct. 2561 (2009) last year. In Atlantic Sounding, the Supreme Court confirmed that such punitive damage awards are permissible under the general maritime law in appropriate circumstances, as several U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, including the First Circuit, had previously held. Though such cases turn on their own facts, Mulligan offers some guidance as to circumstances that may trigger an award of punitive damages and attorneys' fees, knowledge of which is useful to avoid such an award.

Please see full alert below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.