ADMIRALTY & MARITIME
The Admiralty & Maritime Practice Group litigates maritime cases in federal and state courts, and advises clients concerning maritime transactions and regulatory matters. We work with other FisherBroyles practice groups as necessary on matters involving construction, corporate, energy, environmental, and tax issues.
DEFENSE OF VESSEL OWNERS IN SEAMEN’S PERSONAL INJURY AND DEATH CLAIMS
The Maritime Group has extensive experience in defending commercial vessel owners in seamen’s personal injury and death actions.
DEFENSE OF VESSEL OWNERS IN RECREATIONAL BOATING CLAIMS
The Maritime Group also defends the owners of yachts and other pleasure vessels in recreational boating cases.
DEFENSE OF VESSEL MANUFACTURERS AND RETAILERS IN MARTIME PRODUCTS LIABILITY CASES
The Maritime Group handles the defense of products liability claims against vessel manufacturers and retailers.
CARGO DAMAGE CLAIMS
The Maritime Group has represented vessel interests in defending numerous claims for cargo damage, shortage, and loss. The Group has also acted for cargo interests in pursuing cargo claims.
COASTWISE TRADING ISSUES UNDER THE JONES ACT
The U.S. Jones Act prohibits foreign flag ships from transporting merchandise or passengers from a point in the U.S. to another point in the U.S. The Group has advised various interested parties, from offshore wind developers to U.S. charterers of foreign flag tonnage, as to compliance with the coastwise trading provisions of the Jones Act.
COLLISION, ALLISION AND SALVAGE CASES
The Maritime Group has acted for various interests in ship collision cases, in casualties where a vessel allides with a stationary object such as a pier, and in marine salvage cases. In the latter, the Group has represented salvage companies seeking salvage awards and vessel owners contesting them. The Group also has experience in pursuing claims for layby and under charterparty terms, including one safe berth and seaworthiness.
The Group has been involved a variety of oil spill cases, including major spills such as the M/T POSAVINA spill in Boston Harbor, the M/T EXXON VALDEZ spill in Alaska, and the M/T PRESTIGE spill off the northwest coast of Spain, and the MV Braer breakup off the Hebrides Islands in Scotland, and has also advised clients concerning compliance with federal and state marine environmental law.
While the Group routinely acts as insurance defense counsel representing insureds and P&I Club members, it also represents insurance companies in defense of coverage claims.
MARITIME ARRESTS AND ATTACHMENTS
The Group has extensive experience with the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty and Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture Actions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, including Supplemental Rules B and C governing attachments and arrests of vessels and other maritime property to enforce maritime claims, as well as in contesting such arrests and attachments. Maritime attachments and arrests often turn on whether a claim falls within the court’s admiralty jurisdiction, and our attorneys have substantial experience in connection with admiralty jurisdiction matters, including the successful representation of the petitioner before the United States Supreme Court in Exxon Corp. v. Central Gulf Lines, Inc., 500 U.S. 603 (1991), in which the Supreme Court overruled its own 135-year old precedent and expanded federal admiralty jurisdiction over contracts. When a vessel owner is faced with claims that may exceed the value of its vessel, we also have extensive experience in seeking limitation of the owner’s liability to the value of its vessel and freight under Supplemental Rule F and the Shipowner’s Limitation of Liability Act.