Journal

He Does Not Deserve It, but You Can’t Have It Back: The Right to Restitution in the Face of a Successful McCorpen Defense

After five years and $276,263.36 in payments, Transocean Deepwater, Inc., discovered that Wallace Boudreaux had no right to maintenance and cure. Boudreaux failed to disclose a previous back injury, which he allegedly injured while working for Transocean. Acknowledging a valid McCorpen defense, the district court granted Transocean’s unopposed motion for partial summary judgment on Boudreaux’s maintenance and cure claims. Transocean then filed a counterclaim against ... Read More »

Veiled Threats: Will the Second Circuit Hamstring Alter-Ego Claims by Applying Foreign Law?

Blue Whale Corporation (Blue Whale) entered into a charterparty with Grand China Shipping Development Company (Grand China), a Chinese company, in May 2011. The charterparty provided that Blue Whale would transport 250,000 metric tons of iron ore from Brazil to China on Blue Whale’s Liberian-registered vessel. Blue Whale alleged that Grand China failed to pay the agreed freight and held the vessel and its cargo, ... Read More »

Admiralty’s Vestigial Tail: The Fifth Circuit Revitalizes the Outdated Pennsylvania Rule

The dredge MIKE HOOKS began dredging operations near the Wax Lake intersection of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) in the early morning of May 31, 2008. The towboat CAP’N TOMMIE VIZIER JR. served as picket boat, assisting the dredge and passing vessel traffic. The current was particularly strong due to strong winds and high water levels. Under these adverse conditions, the towboat SARAH D collided ... Read More »

One Expensive Promise: The Fourth Circuit Broadens Shipowner Liability Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act in Bunn v. Oldendorff Carriers GmbH & Co. KG

On a wintry February night in Baltimore, Maryland, Richard Bunn went to work for stevedore CNX Marine Terminals, Inc., which was assigned the job of loading a vessel owned by Oldendorff Carriers GmbH & Co. KG. Before Bunn began his work that night, CNX’s shift supervisor boarded the ice-covered ship to tell its chief officer that CNX employees were going to begin loading, so they ... Read More »

Muddying Murky Waters: The Fifth Circuit’s Indecision in Barker v. Hercules Offshore, Inc., Leaves Choice of Law Under OCSLA and Zone-of-Danger Theory Under Maritime Law Unanswered

Francis Barker stood a mere two feet from the pollution pan of a jacked-up drilling unit when the pan and his coworker Frank Broussard plunged 100 feet into the water below. Barker and Broussard were employed by a company that contracted with Hall-Houston Exploration II, L.P., to install a well casing on a jack-up rig that Hall-Houston obtained from Hercules Offshore, Inc. At the time ... Read More »

Pleading Insanity in Piercing the Corporate Veil: Supplemental Rule E’s Heightened Pleading Standard Protects Polluting Shipowners in the Fourth Circuit

In 2005, Vitol, S.A., obtained a $6.1 million judgment from the English High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, Commercial Court, against Capri Marine, Ltd., stemming from breached warranties of seaworthiness that caused an oil spill from the ALAMBRA, an oil tanker, in an Estonian port in September 2000.Vitol filed suit to attach the vessel M/V THOR in the United States District Court for the ... Read More »

Punitive Damages Stow Away in the Fifth Circuit: McBride v. Estis Well Service, L.L.C

ESTIS RIG 23, a barge carrying a truck-mounted drilling rig, was conducting drilling operations on a navigable waterway in Louisiana. One night, the monkey boardtwisted, and the pipe in the derrick shifted. As the barge crew members were attempting to straighten it the next day, the rig and truck toppled over. One crew member, Skye Sonnier, was fatally pinned between the fallen derrick and a ... Read More »

International Recent Developments: United Kingdom

Cash flow is vital for the orderly administration of the carriage of goods. Therefore, a charterer’s failure to pay hire in accordance with the terms of the charterparty is clearly a breach of contract entitling an owner to claim damages and/or suspend the services or even withdraw the vessel. In 2013, there have been a number of cases dealing with the consequences of nonpayment of hire, ... Read More »

International Recent Developments: New Zealand

Recent developments in New Zealand’s maritime law have centered on the RENA disaster of October 5, 2011, and on the current government’s strategy of driving economic growth through exploitation of the country’s marine natural resources. This has resulted in a considerable amount of legislative activity from the New Zealand Parliament, complemented by a small number of lower court decisions. Read More »

International Recent Developments: Denmark

In 2010, the general rules of the Act on Safety at Sea (Safety at Sea Act), which divide the responsibilities regarding safety at sea between the shipowner, master, etc., were amended. Previously, section 9 of the Safety at Sea Act only placed responsibility on the shipowner for ensuring that faults and defects that the shipowner had knowledge of were repaired and that the ship conformed ... Read More »