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Showing posts from September, 2015

Maritime Law--Further Easing of U.S. Cuba Sanctions Regulations

On September 18, 2015, the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Commerce announced additional revisions to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR).  The changes take effect on Monday, September 21, 2015, as published in the Federal Register. 

These measures are intended generally to do the following:  to further facilitate travel to Cuba for authorized purposes; expand the telecommunications and internet-based services general licenses, including by authorizing certain persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction (which includes individuals and entities) to establish a business presence in Cuba, such as through subsidiaries or joint ventures; allow certain persons to establish a physical presence, such as an office or other facility in Cuba to facilitate authorized transactions; allow certain persons to open and maintain bank accounts in Cuba to use for authorized purposes; authorize additional financial transactions, including those …

Maritime Law--3d DCA Allows Class Action by Doctors Against Celebrity Cruises

In Celebrity Cruises, Inc. v. Rankin, et al, No. 3D14-3137 (Fla. 3d DCA Sept. 16, 2015), Celebrity failed to stave off a class certification case filed by a group of cruise ship doctors suing the company for breach of contract. The Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court decision certifying a class of about 41 doctors who claim they are owed commissions from medication sales.
The Miami-based cruise line owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. argued each doctor's understanding of the contract would overwhelm issues common to the class. The court disagreed, finding that common issues dominated individual issues because the class members were all "beneficiaries of [an] identical written contractual provision."
The order included an excerpt from Celebrity management's internal emails that stated, "According to the signed contracts, physicians' commission should be on total medical revenue (procedure and medication sales) as opposed to commission on …

Maritime Law--Uberrimae Fidei Defense Now Requires Showing of Reliance in 8th Circuit

In St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. v. Abhe & Svoboda, Inc., No. 14-2234 (8th Cir. Aug. 20, 2015), the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held that reliance is an element of the defense of uberrimae fidei. Prior to Abhe, only the Second Circuit had so held. This case is extremely important to insurers and should be required reading for marine insurers and their coverage counsel. Abhe, an industrial painting contractor, used stationary leased barges as platforms while painting Pell Bridge over Narragansett Bay. Abhe changed insurance carriers three months into the project. St. Paul Fire did not request that Abhe complete an application, but accepted the application provided to its previous insurer in 2010. The attached schedule of vessels was outdated and did not include vessels leased for the Pell Bridge project. Abhe sent St. Paul an updated schedule in 2011, listing those vessels, but did not provide a 2010 survey that showed that one barge had non-watertight bulkheads. St. Paul di…

Maritime Law--Pretrial Stipulation is Trial Blueprint in Florida State Court

In Palm Beach Polo Holdings v. Broward Marine, 40 Fla. Law Weekly D1932 (Fla. 4th DCA Aug. 19, 2015), the issue of whether the underlying claim was barred by the statute of limitations was memorialized in the pretrial stipulation entered between the parties. By definition and policy, this should have been considered a matter officially at issue in dispute during the trial. However, the trial court concluded that because the relevant statute was not framed in the preliminary instructions to the jury and because the appellants did not argue it in their opening statement, the defense was not properly raised and was waived.
The Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeals disagreed. It took the opportunity to remind judges and litigators that the document upon which all parties can always rely on is the Pretrial Stipulation. The appellate court observed that any previous disputes or contentious pretrial issues become mostly irrelevant once the parties prepare and stipulate to the final a…