Recent Developments in Admiralty and Maritime Law at the National Level and in the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits

This is the fifteenth Article in a series of annual reports on U.S. admiralty and maritime law and practice. In these articles we try to call attention to the principal national-level developments that bear on the work of admiralty judges, lawyers, and scholars, and we look more closely at the relevant work of the United States Courts of Appeals for the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits. ... Read More »

The Fifth Circuit Holds Steady on Reasonable Notice Requirements Under the Limitation of Liability Act in In re RLB Contracting, Inc.

RLB Contracting, Inc. (RLB), owned the JONATHAN KING BOYD, a dredging vessel that was engaged in operations near Anahuac, Texas. In 2011, while on a family fishing trip, the Butler family’s boat collided with the vessel’s floating dredge pipe, violently throwing all occupants from the craft and killing twelve-year-old Sammie Butler. The Butlers filed suit against RLB in Texas state court, claiming that the vessel’s ... Read More »

Taxation Without Representation: Nonresident Taxpayers Face Additional Cost of Doing Business in China as a Result of New Provisional Measures

“No taxation without representation!” This battle cry rings in the minds of many who have studied the history of the United States. In order to recoup some of the losses incurred while defending the American colonies during the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) and the French and Indian War (1754-1763), the British Parliament implemented direct taxation upon the colonists. One of these taxes was imposed by ... Read More »

Arrested Development: An Examination of Carriers’ Arrest Defense Under the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act and the Tort of Financial Unseaworthiness

For Thyssenkrupp Materials N.A., Inc. (Thyssenkrupp), Monday, May 7, 2012 started out as just another beautiful spring day. Thyssenkrupp had no idea that its large shipment of steel plate, scheduled to be delivered to the United States from Turkey later that month, was about to be delayed by three months due to no fault of its own, had no idea that it would have to ... Read More »

Multimillion-Dollar Commas and “Magic Words”: The In re Deepwater Horizon Additional Insured Dispute

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010 caused unprecedented and catastrophic loss to communities, economies, and the environment in the Gulf of Mexico. Amidst the sea of ensuing litigation that has focused on apportioning liability, one legal battle centered on British Petroleum’s (BP) claim to additional insured coverage under the rig-owner Transocean’s primary- and excess-insurance policies. The dispute was neither insignificant in dollars-at-stake ($750 ... Read More »

Ghost Ships: Why the Law Should Embrace Unmanned Vessel Technology

Recent years have seen rapid advancement in the development and use of unmanned autonomous and semiautonomous vehicle technology, colloquially known as drones. Initial development of the technology was driven largely by military applications, but it is now being used more and more in the civilian world. Not surprisingly, one of the first civilian applications of this technology occurred in the maritime industry with the advent ... Read More »

Captaining the Ship into Culpability: Barbetta, Franza, and the Efficacy of Imputing Liability to Corporate Shipowners in the Medical Malpractice Context

“Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.” The timeless words of Will Munny in Unforgiven resonate when considering the efficacy of imputing liability to the corporate shipowner in the medical malpractice context. Should cruise ship corporations be held liable for the negligence of their onboard medical personnel? And, is there anything inherent about the maritime setting that should automatically immunize cruise ship corporations from vicarious ... Read More »

Limitation of Shipowner’s Liability: The State (Court) We’re In

Under the law of the United States, a shipowner has the right to limit its liability for damages following a marine casualty in accordance with the provisions of the Limitation of Vessel Owner’s Liability Act of *158 1851 (Limitation Act or Act). Generally, the Act permits a vessel owner to limit its liability for any claim, debt, or liability enumerated in the Act up to ... Read More »

Historically Iced Out: Calling on the United States To Resolve Its International Law Disputes in the Arctic Ocean

Projections show that Arctic sea ice could experience a complete melt-out by 2020. Accordingly, on May 10, 2013, President Barack Obama released the National Strategy for the Arctic Region, which outlines strategic priorities for the United States to ensure safety and stability in the changing Arctic landscape. Due to consistently receding sea ice in the Arctic, commercial and recreational avenues in the polar north have ... Read More »

Personal Jurisdiction over Maritime Defendants: Daimler, Walden, and Rule 4(k)(2)

The United States Supreme Court’s recent decisions in two nonmaritime cases, Daimler AG v. Bauman and the unanimous Walden v. Fiore, have seriously limited a court’s ability to exercise personal jurisdiction over foreign and domestic maritime defendants. The reasons rest in the inherent nature of maritime business as interstate and interstate and international and the dominance or foreign entities in maritime industries. This Article will ... Read More »