HomeCircuit Court Admiralty CasesSettlement Agreements/Releases
Settlement Agreements/Releases

The following are digests and links to Circuit Court Admiralty Cases that have as an issue settlement agreements/releases:

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.

In re the EXXON VALDEZ, Baker v. Exxon
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
February  8, 2001

Settlement Agreements: the settlement of claims by seafood processors against Exxon which included an assignment to Exxon by those seafood processors of a portion of their punitive damages claims against Exxon arising from the EXXON VALDEZ oil spill were valid, thus Exxon could in effect recover against itself in the punitive damages portion of the trial and accordingly reduce the total punitive damages it was required to pay.

In re the EXXON VALDEZ, Seafood Processors v. Baker
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
October 12, 2000

Settlement Agreements: cede back provisions of settlement agreements, where a settling plaintiff agrees to pay back to the settling defendant amounts recovered against that defendant in future lawsuits based on the settled claim, are enforceable and generally should not be disclosed to the jury; thus the district court was in error in refusing to enforce the cede back agreement between Exxon and the Seattle Seven seafood processors and in refusing to allow the Seattle Seven to participate in the allocation of the jury's punitive damages award against Exxon. 

Orsini v. O/S Seabrooke
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
April 24, 2001

Settlement Agreements/Releases/Jones Act: courts scrutinize the validity of a seaman's release under principles of admiralty law analogous to the duty owed by a fiduciary to a beneficiary, not solely under principles of contract law; the Supreme Court in Garrett v. Moore-McCormack Co.  established a two-part test in determining the enforceability of a seaman's release: (1) whether the release was executed freely, without deception or coercion; and (2) whether it was made by the seaman with full understanding of his rights; in applying the second part of this test, a court considers the adequacy of the consideration, the nature of the medical advice available to the seaman at the time of signing the release and the nature of the legal advice available to the seaman at the time of signing the release; in applying this test, the Circuit Court declined to enforce the seaman's release since Plaintiff had no independent legal advice and the medical advice he received before signing the release was inaccurate.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
December 13, 1999

Maintenance & Cure/Releases: interpreting a seaman's release of a maintenance and cure claim is a legal issue for the court to decide, which construes any ambiguities against the drafter and in favor of the seaman.

Sea-Land Service v. Sellan
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
October 26, 2000

Settlement Agreements/Jones Act: the previous settlement agreement between plaintiff seaman and defendant vessel owner which prohibited plaintiff from future employment with defendant is enforceable, thus plaintiff's Jones Act claim for personal injury damage arising during plaintiff's surreptitious re-employment was properly dismissed.

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