HomeCircuit Court Admiralty CasesProcedure

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

Uffner v. La Reunion Francaise
First Circuit Court of Appeals
March 26, 2001

Procedure/Marine Insurance: in a suit based on diversity jurisdiction against an insurance company to recover for losses resulting from a vessel casualty, the place where that loss occurred is "substantial" for venue purposes under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(a), which provides that venue is appropriate in "a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred," thus venue was proper in Puerto Rico where plaintiff's sailing yacht sank. 

Becker v. Poling Transportation
Second Circuit Court of Appeals
February 27, 2004

Maritime Torts:  Plaintiffs were severely burned in a fire that occurred while they were transferring petroleum from the CLARA P, a decrepit barge, to a truck that was parked dockside.  The fire was caused by the use of the portable pump instead of a vacuum truck to transfer petroleum from the barge to a truck.  The petroleum purchaser was properly found directly liable to plaintiffs since it knew that the pump on the CLARA P was out of operation and that a vacuum truck should be used to transfer the petroleum from the barge.  It also knew that the contractor it had hired did not have a vacuum truck but hired it anyway. Procedure: The Court of Appeals had appellate jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(a)(3), the admiralty interlocutory appeals exception.  The appellant's still pending claims for contribution did not preclude an interlocutory appeal pursuant to section 1292(a)(3) because its liability to appellees had been finally determined and was unaffected by the contribution cross-claim. 

Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Co. v. AEP/Borden Industries
Second Circuit Court of Appeals
August 3, 2001

Procedure (Personal Jurisdiction): since the district court made no factual findings concerning whether Hyundai Mipo Dockyard ("HMD") had sufficient minimum jurisdictional contacts apart from the fact that it had a local office and a White Pages listing in the district, the case would be remanded for an evidentiary hearing on whether the court had personal jurisdiction to have issued the injunction restraining HMD from proceeding with its declaratory judgment action in Korea.

Columbus-America Disc. v Atlantic Mutual Ins.
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
February 8, 2000

Settlement Agreements: the settlement agreement concerning the division of salved treasure is enforceable, with the underwriters having no claim to any future salvage from the S.S. Central America; Procedure: court records of the inventory of the treasure remaining in the hands of the salvors may be sealed.

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
December 6, 1999

Procedure: the charterer was allowed to preserve evidence of the condition of  the vessel under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 27 due to "extraordinary circumstances"; Arbitration: the District Court properly exercised jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 27 to preserve vessel evidence in aid of London Arbitration.

Karim v. Finch Shipping
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
September 5, 2001

Procedure (Jurisdiction)/Limitation of Liability: the shipowner waived its jurisdictional defense where it voluntarily provided the district court inrem jurisdiction by commencing the limitation proceeding and placing the res, or the bond, in the hands of the court, and where it invoked the powers of the court to require the plaintiff seaman to halt his proceeding in another forum and to file in the limitation action; Procedure (Forum Non Conveniens): the relevant private and public interest factors under Gulf Oil/Piper Aircraft, such as Plaintiff receiving medical treatment in the United States, evidence and testimony being easily accessible in this forum, counsel for both parties being based in this forum, and the fact that United States limitation law applied, weighed against dismissal; Choice of Law: the district court did not err in making a determination of quantum of personal injury damages under Bangladeshi law by applying English and Indian precedent since experts informed the court that Bangladeshi courts would look to Indian and British cases for guidance where their precedents were lacking; Damages (Prejudgment Interest): the award of prejudgment interest is discretionary (both under Bangladeshi and United States law) and the district court did not abuse its discretion in setting the initial date of the interest accrual to be the date the limitation action was reactivated in federal court, rather than the date of injury. 

Garcia v. Amfels, Inc.
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
June 19, 2001

Longshore & Harbor Workers' Act/Procedure: since the law in the Fifth Circuit was clear that the LHWCA does not create federal subject matter jurisdiction when raised as a defense, the district court did not abuse its discretion when it awarded plaintiffs their attorneys fees and costs resulting from defendant's wrongful removal of plaintiffs' state court case brought under state law to the district court.

Submersible Systems v. Perforadora Central
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
May 4, 2001

Procedure (Personal Jurisdiction): claims falling within the admiralty jurisdiction of the federal courts are claims "arising under federal law" for the purposes of Rule 4(k)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which provides that "serving a summons or filing a waiver of service is also effective, with respect to claims arising under federal law, to establish personal jurisdiction over the person of any defendant who is not subject to the courts of general jurisdiction of any state"; Rule 4(k)(2) requires a court to consider a defendant's contacts with the United States as a whole, which in this case did not confer personal jurisdiction since the defendant's contacts with the United States were not "continuous and systematic"; Maritime Attachment: the district court was correct in denying  plaintiff's application for a Rule B attachment since plaintiff failed to file an affidavit concerning the presence of the defendant within the district as required by Rule B.

Texaco Exploration v. Amclyde Engineered Products
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
February 28, 2001

Arbitration/Procedure: Rule 14(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which allows for liberal joinder of third parties in maritime cases, does not suprecede the statutory right to enforce an arbitration clause pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act, thus the District Court erred in failing to enforce an arbitration clause because its enforcement would deny a party the ability to implead a third party pursuant to Rule 14(c).

System Pipe & Supply v. M/V Viktor Kurnatovskiy
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
February 26, 2001

Procedure (Personal Jurisdiction): in determining whether the court had personal jurisdiction over defendant vessel owner for purposes of plaintiff's cargo damage claim invoking admiralty law, the District Court erred in only considering the vessel owner's contacts with Texas; because plaintiff's action arises under federal admiralty law, it need not prove minimum contacts with the state of Texas, but only with the United States as a whole.

Miller v. American Heavy Lifting
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
November 3, 2000

Procedure/Wrongful Death/ Statute of Limitations: plaintiff's amended complaint for wrongful death damages arising from exposure to hazardous substances on board defendant's vessel related back to the original complaint since it arose out of the same conduct, transaction or occurrence as set forth in the original complaint; thus the District Court was in error in dismissing the amended complaint on statute of limitations grounds where the original complaint was filed in a timely manner.

Greenwell v. Aztar Indiana Gaming Co.
Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
October 4, 2001

Jones Act/Maintenance & Cure: since plaintiff casino boat employee dropped her allegation that she had had been injured at work onboard the vessel, her medical malpractice claim against her employer, which was based the employer's Jones Act and maintenance & cure obligations and the doctrine of respondeat superior, should have been dismissed on the merits; Procedure: plaintiff did not allege an admiralty claim under Rule 9(h) and thus could not use the third party vouching in mechanism of Rule 14(c), but this did not prevent her from using the non-admiralty third party claim procedure under Rule 14(a). 

Simeonoff v. M/V Saga
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
May 8, 2001

Jones Act/Comparative Negligence: a seaman may not be held contributorily negligent for carrying out orders that result in injury, even if the seaman recognizes possible danger and does not delay to consider a safer alternative; further, a seaman who responds to a superior's urgent call for help cannot be found contributorily negligent, thus the plaintiff, who knew of the dangers when he responded to the call of assistance from the engineer in fixing a pot launcher, was not contributorily negligent when the pot launcher gave way, fell and crushed his foot; Damages: the court's economic damage award was sufficiently detailed and supported by the evidence and the court's non-economic damage award of $18,900 for pain and suffering was not inadequate, was supported by the evidence and did not shock the conscience; Procedure (Prejudgment Interest): in personal injury cases under admiralty jurisdiction, prejudgment interest must be granted unless peculiar circumstances justify its denial; thus the matter of prejudgment interest would be remanded to the district court to articulate its reasons for denying that interest. 

Natural Resources Defense Council v. Southwest Marine
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
March 20, 2001

Procedure: to preserve the status quo pending appeal, the district court had the jurisdiction and discretion to make post-appeal modifications to the pending injunction, which required the defendant pursuant to the Clean Water Act to substitute testing of the surface "microlayer" for testing "at the surface," and (2) substitute an 18-month deadline for the requirement of "reasonably expeditious" construction of a facility to capture pier storm water runoff.

Morris v. Princess Cruises
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
January 10, 2001

Procedure/Admiralty Jurisdiction: removal of the case from state to federal court based on diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1332(a)(1) was proper since the only non-diverse defendant had been fraudulently joined; plaintiff's subsequent joinder of the non-diverse Insurers thereupon defeated the court's diversity jurisdiction, but because the district court would have had original admiralty jurisdiction over this action had plaintiff filed suit in federal court in the first instance, her failure to move for remand upon joining the non-diverse defendants waived any possible objection to removal jurisdiction; Maritime Tort: plaintiff's tort claims arising from the admittedly harrowing experience suffered in Bombay after her husband had been medically evacuated from the cruise vessel were properly dismissed since plaintiff failed to adduce any evidence suggesting that any possible breach of duty on the part of Princess Cruises caused harm to plaintiff or her husband.

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