HomeCircuit Court Admiralty CasesJury Trials
Jury Trials

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

South Port Marine v. Gulf Oil Ltd.
First Circuit Court of Appeals
December 7, 2000

Admiralty Jurisdiction: plaintiff's floating docks that were damaged by an oil spill were extensions of the land and hence a tort that causes damage to them does not occur wholly on navigable waters and therefore constitutes an action at law, rather than in admiralty; OPA 90/Jury Trials: although the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) does not create a statutory right to a jury trial, plaintiff has a Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial of its claims under the Act since they are analogous to causes of action at common law, rather than causes of action in admiralty; Punitive Damages: punitive damages are not available under OPA for marine pollution claims, nor are they available under the general maritime law in view of the enactment of OPA, which has supplanted the existing maritime law of punitive damages in cases of marine pollution.

Diefenbach v. Sheridan Transportation
First Circuit Court of Appeals
October 6, 2000

Experts: the district court did not abuse its discretion when it allowed plaintiff's expert witness to present expert testimony concerning docking and undocking procedures since the witness had the knowledge, skill, experience, training and education to qualify him as an expert and his testimony assisted the trier of fact to better understand the case; Damages: defendant's motion for remittitur on the grounds that the jury awarded excessive damages was properly denied since there was sufficient supporting evidence introduced regarding the plaintiff's injury, his inability to earn a living and the pain and suffering he experienced, is experiencing and will experience in the future; Jury Trials: defendant failed to request that the jury be instructed to reduce lost wages to present value and that any award is not subject to taxes, thus the district court's failure to so instruct is not reversible error.

Pacific Fisheries v. HIH Casualty & General Insurance
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
February  9, 2001

Marine Insurance: under California law, a breach of even an immaterial warranty will void a policy where the policy expressly declares that it shall avoid it, thus the  P & I and Hull policies in effect at the time of the losses were void since the vessel was in breach at the time of the losses of the policies' trading warranties, although the losses were not caused by such breach; Jury Trials: the district court correctly denied plaintiff's untimely demand for a jury trial pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 39(b).

In re the EXXON VALDEZ, Sea Hawk v. Alyeska
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
March 16, 2000

Jury Trials: the District Court's factual finding that a juror was not truthful in alleging that the court's bailiff and other jurors had threatened her during jury deliberations was not clearly erroneous; the threat that the bailiff had indeed made ("you know, you guys, you're really having problems with her, or something like that, pulled his gun out, took a bullet out and said maybe if you put her out of her misery or something") was meant as a joke and in any event was not communicated to the threatened juror, thus a new punitive damages trail was not warranted.

Frederick v. Kirby Tankships
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
March 8, 2000

Jury Trials/Maintenance & Cure: the jury award for maintenance, cure and unearned wages exceeded the maximum possible award based on the evidence, thus the excess must be remitted. 

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