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Showing posts from July, 2014

Maritime Law--Miami Home for Arbitration of Panama Canal Dispute

It is generally presumed that big arbitrations generally go to New York or London. However, the case between the Panama Canal Authority ("ACP") and the contractor consortium constructing the Panama Canal known as Grupos Unidos por el Canal ("GUPC") have recently begun preliminary discussions for arbitrating their $1.6 billion dispute regarding alleged cost overruns on the largest infrastructure project in the Western Hemisphere.  
Photograph taken from July 31, 2014 Miami's legal community has focused over the past 15 years on developing the expertise and venues to handle arbitration cases, particularly for disputes arising in Latin America. This is especially important, as Miami has the legal expertise, the language capabilities and the cultural experience to handle disputes arising out of Latin America. The Dispute at Issue According to previous statements from ACP and GUPC, the disagreement began in 2012, three years after GUPC beat o…

Maritime Law-"The Costa Concordia: What If This Happened in U.S. Waters?" (08/14/2014)

On August 14, 2014, the Admiralty Law Section, the Federal Litigation Section and the Broward County Chapter of the Federal Bar Association is presenting the seminar "The Costa Concordia: What if this Happened in U.S. Waters?" This seminar will take place at the Riverside Hotel, 620 East Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301 and will be from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The anticipated Florida CLE credits will be 7.0 hours and Florida Admiralty and Maritime Law Certification Credit will be available.

The seminar agenda is impressive and includes the following:

Seminar Agenda
8:30 – 8:40 a.m.WelcomingRemarks and Introductions Speaker: Patricia Olney, Seminar Chair 8:40 – 9:00 a.m.Short Update on Status of Litigation over Costa                                              Concordia                                                            Speaker: Atillio Costabel 9:00 – 9:30 a.m.  Forum Selection/Jurisdiction                                                            Speaker…

Maritime Law--8th Circuit Finds for Marine Insurer on Utmost Good Faith (Uberrimae Fidei) Principles

In New York Marine & General Ins. v. Continental Cement Co., Case No.13-2313 (8th Cir. July 17, 2014), the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has found that the District Court did not abuse its discretion in submitting the uberrimae fidei instruction against the insured.

Starr Indemnity filed a declaratory judgment action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, seeking a determination of its rights and obligations under Continental Cement's insurance policies after MARK TWAIN, a cement barge owned by Continental Cement, sank in the Mississippi River. Continental Cement counterclaimed for breach of contract and vexatious refusal to pay under Missouri law.

While conducting its investigation into the loss, Starr Indemnity discovered that a survey had been undertaken of MARK TWAIN in 2008 which indicated that the barge had not been watertight at the time Continental Cement obtained its policies. On the grounds that Continental Cement had breached its…

Maritime Law--Can Fisherman's Case Recast Sarbanes-Oxley?

Can a law written to punish the "Enrons" of the world for shredding or doing away with records also be used to convict a Florida fisherman who tossed his undersized catch into the sea in an effort to avoid penalties?
That is the question before the U.S. Supreme Court in a case it has accepted to hear in its next term. The case involves the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, specifically 18 U.S.C. § 1519, which makes it a crime to destroy “any record, document or tangible object” with the intent to obstruct an investigation. In this case, fish were deemed by the government to be a “tangible object.” The case arose when government agents boarded John Yates’ boat, F/V MISS KATIE, and found 72 undersized red grouper fish, some several inches shorter than the 20-inch keeper limit. Yates, a commercial fisherman, was ordered to turn over the undersized catch when he came to port. However, a crew member testified at trial that Yates told the crew to throw the undersized fish overboard and replace t…

Maritime Law-Presentation at the Newport Charter Show on MLC

On June 24, 2014, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Newport Charter Show on the topic titled "The Climate on Crewing has Changed; The Maritime Labor Convention 2006 Enters Into Force".

Photograph of Newport Boat Show taken from

I have been writing continuously on the entry into force of the Maritime Labor Convention, commonly referred to as the “MLC”. On August 20, 2013, the MLC entered into force and institutes minimum standards of living conditions, fair employment practices and other employment protection for vessel crew on a worldwide basis. While many yacht owners and operators are under the impression that the MLC does not affect them, the MLC in fact directly impacts the operations of every vessel engaged in charter service.

The presentation covered:
Significant changes in the manager-employee climate as it relates to full and part time crewThe issues of ratification by the various flag states; who this will affect and what the affected industr…