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Showing posts from February, 2014

Maritime Law--Punitive Damages for Unseaworthiness Being Reviewed Again

On October 9, I blogged on the case of McBride v. Estis Well Service, No. 12-30714 (5th Cir. Oct. 2, 2013), where a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that seamen may recover punitive damages for their employer's willful and wanton breach of the general maritime law duty to provide a seaworthy vessel.  The court found that previous decisions, to the extent that they denied recovery of punitive damages for maritime liability sounding in unseaworthiness, read too much into prior Supreme Court and appellate court rulings on related, but different, issues. You can find my discussion on that case here=>McBride Discussion.



At that time I noted that this was a potentially a major decision, likely to be appealed and certainly to generate discussion. Now, a majority of the circuit judges have voted in favor of granting the defendant's petition for rehearing en banc. You can find the en banc order here=> McBride v. Estis Well Service,No. 12-30714 (5th Ci…

Maritime Law-Lone Claimant in Limitation Action Can Proceed to State Court

In Offshore of Palm Beaches, Inc. v. Lynch, No. 13-11092 (11th Cir. Feb. 3, 2014), Offshore appealed the district court's order permitting a lone claimant to pursue personal injury claims in state court after Offshore had invoked the Limitation of Liability Act (Limitation Act), 46 U.S.C. sec. 30501. The court concluded that the district court did not abuse its considerable discretion in determining that the claimant could proceed first in state court with her tort claim before the district court adjudicated the boat owner's efforts to limit its liability to the value of the vessel. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court.


While the holding of the case is not of itself earth-shattering, the case provides an excellent summary of appellate jurisdiction over admiralty matters involving injunctions. If you or your client are considering whether an admiralty matter is appealable, this decision may be of importance to you.

If you are interested in receivin…