HomeCircuit Court Admiralty CasesIndemnity

The following are digests and case links to Circuit Court Admiralty Cases that have as an issue indemnity:

Dahlen v. Gulf Crews, Inc.
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
February 4, 2002

Longshore & Harbor Workers' Act/Charter Parties: The standard of care owed a longshore worker by a vessel owner as articulated in Scindia and Howlett does not explicitly apply to time charterers. But, as no other case articulating the duty owed by a time charterer in such a situation could be found, the district court did not abuse its discretion by issuing a jury instruction that applied Scindia to the time charterer. Indemnity: The vessel owner did not owe the time charterer an indemnity under the charter's indemnity and insurance clause since the injury to Plaintiff did not arise out of or relate to the performance of the vessel during the charter. Admiralty Jurisdiction/Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act ("OCSLA"): The district court erred in applying the Admiralty Extension Act, 46 U.S.C. § 740, and maritime law since Plaintiff's alleged injury was not caused by the defective appurtenance of a ship on navigable waters and, furthermore, the OCSLA specifically regards the artificial islands on the OCS as areas where state law should apply unless there is a conflict with federal law. 

Verdine v. Ensco Offshore
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
June 22, 2001

Indemnity: since the agreement for repairs to a fixed platform rig off the coast of Louisiana pertained to specific oil wells and related to the exploration, development, production, or transportation of oil, gas, or water, the Louisiana Oilfield Anti-Indemnity Act applied; thus the indemnity and maritime choice of law provisions in the agreement were invalidated under the Act.

Demette v. Falcon Drilling Co.
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
June 12, 2001

Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act ("OCSLA"): the OCSLA applies to an injury suffered on the Fal-Rig #85 since it was jacked-up over the OCS at the time of Demette's injury and it was therefore a device "temporarily attached to the seabed" for the purpose of drilling for oil under section 1333(a)(1) of the Act; further, since the contract for oil drilling services and the injury that invoked it were maritime in nature, maritime law applies of its own force and Louisiana state law does not apply under section 1333(a)(2) of the Act; Longshore & Harbor Workers' Act/Indemnity: since section 1333(b) of the OCSLA extends the LHWCA to non-seamen employed on the OCS, Demette is entitled to LHWCA benefits "by virtue" of the OCSLA; in such a case, the LHWCA provides that reciprocal indemnity provisions between the employer and the vessel owner are enforceable, although section 905(b) of the LHWCA ordinarily bars the enforcement of indemnity agreements between employers and vessel owners; thus, since Demette's employer and the vessel owner each promised to indemnify the other, the indemnification is reciprocal and therefore valid and enforceable.

In re ADM/Growmark River System
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
November 30, 2000

Longshore & Harbor Workers' Act/Indemnity: a dual capacity employer sued pursuant to section 905(b) of the Act for negligence in its capacity as vessel owner may terminate its rights to contribution from another vessel by agreeing to contractually indemnify that vessel, thus the indemnity provisions relevant to this case are valid to the extent that they preclude a contribution claim by the vessel owner employer against the other vessel.

In re Limitation Complaint of John E. Graham & Sons
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
April 18, 2000 (Revised April 25, 2000)

Indemnity: Texas law applies to this action arising from personal injuries suffered on an offshore platform, thus the Texas Oilfield Anti-Indemnity Act applies, which invalidates the contractual obligation of the contractor to indemnify the platform owner for personal injury damages paid to the contractor's employees.

Yang Ming v. Okamoto Freighters
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
August 7, 2001

Carriage of Goods/Indemnity: the ocean carrier was entitled to indemnity under the bill of lading from the NVOCC/shipper pursuant to the NVOCC/shipper's breach of the warranty of the description of the cargo; the containers were said to have contained cigarettes and cigars, but instead contained worthless used tires, which resulted in the ocean carrier suffering demurrage, shifting, terminal handling, transhipment and customs charges after the containers were rejected by the consignee and abandoned by the NVOCC/shipper; the NVOCC/shipper was in turn entitled to indemnity from the initial shipper of the goods under the separate bill of lading that the NVOCC/shipper had issued to the initial shipper which also contained a warranty of cargo description.

NATCO Ltd. v. Moran Towing
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
September 28, 2001

Indemnity/Charter Parties: the towage contract's indemnity provision provided that the tug owner would be held harmless from "any and all loss, damage or liability", which allowed the indemnitee tug owner to recover its attorneys fees from the indemnitor cargo owner, including both defense fees and fees expended in pursuing a counter-claim against a third party.

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