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Showing posts from March, 2012

New Marine Insurance and Seaman's Arbitrability Decisions

A couple of interesting decisions have come down from the First and Fourth Circuit Courts of Appeal that are of interest to maritime practitioners. The first, relates to a marine insurance policy and its applicability resulting from a vessel seizure; the second, relates to the arbitrability of maintenance and cure, seaman's wages and other such claims.

In Markel Am. Ins. Co. v. Diaz-Santiago, the First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court below. In 2008, MDS purchased a vessel and executed a note in favor of FirstBank, secured by a preferred ship mortgage under an agreement that required that they maintain insurance. In 2009, Customs and Border Protection seized the vessel as part of a drug enforcement action. The search and seizure damaged the vessel, significantly decreasing its value. Customs notified FirstBank, which initiated an administrative forfeiture proceeding, intervened in the criminal case, obtained voluntary dismissal of the indictment against the vessel,…

Volvo Ocean Race Volunteering Opportunities Have Kicked Into High Gear

As I have previously reported, the Volvo Ocean Race is headed to Miami May 6-20, 2012. It is the only North American stop in this world tour. My first chance to help this cause was during the Miami Boat Show last month, as you can see below:

Many volunteers are still needed. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact me via this Blog or my email addresses or It is your opportunity to make a difference for our communities, both for Miami and for those that love sailing. Please let me hear from you!

Shake-a-Leg Fundraiser Appears to Have Been a Success

On February 15, 2012, the Florida Yacht Brokers Association in conjunction with the Fort Lauderdale Mariners' Club and Show Management had their Second Annual Boat Show Kick-Off Party to benefit the Shake-a-Leg Foundation. Lots of Mojitos, beers and other libations were had, while the guests mambo-ed and networked their way to through the great party.

Below is a picture at the event: pictured below from left to right is Christopher Karentz of SEA, his wife Lesley from the Star Center, my husband, Manuel F. Valdes from the Law Offices of Manuel F. Valdes and your humble blogger, Michelle, now of Chalos & Co.

If you are interested in learning more about the Fort Lauderdale Mariners' Club, you may click here: A disclaimer here--I have been a member of the Fort Lauderdale Mariners' Club for several years. It is a great group of people and I have forged many friendships throughout the years in this organization.

If you want to learn more about Shake-a…

Breach of Bailment Case Fails to Succeed in Middle District

In the case of ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY v. FIRST CHOICE MARINE, INC., 23 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. D160a (Fla. M.D. Jul. 29, 2010), reported recently in the Florida Law Weekly of February 21, 2012, the U.S. District Court for Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division held that an insurer's claim against a defendant for breach of oral bailment contract cannot succeed, even if the plaintiff were granted leave to amend, because the plaintiff did not, and cannot, allege that the plaintiff's insured put his boat and engines within exclusive possession of defendant.

The court found that the allegation that vessel owner took his boat and engines to boat repair dealer for warranty repairs to be performed excludes any possibility that vessel owner put his boat and engines within exclusive possession of defendant. The court further found that while the complaint states a claim for breach of warranty of workmanlike performance as to oral contract for warranty repairs to engines on ves…