Category Archives: Volume 37, Issue 1

War, Memory, and Culture: The Uncertain Legal Status of Historic Sunken Warships Under International Law

In February 2012, seventeen tons of artefacts and silver coins recovered from the Spanish galleon NUESTRA SEÑORA DE LAS MERCEDES, which was sunk in 1804 by British warships in the Atlantic Ocean, were returned to Spain. Spain's ambassador to the United States emphatically noted: “This is history. . . . This is not money. This is historical heritage.” Reportedly, the coins will be exhibited in Spanish museums. Read More »

Ignoring its Wards: The Fifth Circuit Restricts Cure Awards for Seamen in Manderson v. Chet Morrison Contractors

Plaintiff Leon Manderson (Manderson) began working for defendant Chet Morrison Contractors (CMC) in November 2006. Until January 2008, Manderson worked for CMC as a licensed engineer aboard the M/V JILLIAN MORRISON, a CMC dive vessel operating in the Gulf of Mexico. In January 2008, Manderson abruptly left work aboard another CMC dive vessel and was subsequently hospitalized. Manderson had procured his own health insurance completely independent of his employment with CMC and paid all insurance premiums from March 2008 to January 2009. Read More »

An Issue of Enforcement: Foreign Arbitration and Choice-of-Law Clauses Within a Jones Act Seaman’s Employment Contract

Generally speaking, when employers include an arbitration agreement in conjunction with a choice-of-law clause within a seaman's employment contract, the intention is to require the seaman to arbitrate any negligence claims against the employer in a named nation subject to foreign law. Courts have grappled with the enforceability of arbitration and choice-of-law clauses in seamen's employment contracts in light of the federally enacted Jones Act and the United Nation's Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, more frequently referred to as the New York Convention, codified in chapter 2 of the U.S. Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). Read More »

Equitable Personification: A Review of Res Judicata’s Historical Application to Successive In Personam and In Rem Admiralty Actions in the United States

From time to time, multiple claims arise out of a single transaction or event. This occurrence is especially common in maritime cases, where a single tort or breach of contract often entitles a plaintiff to both an in personam claim against the responsible party and an in rem claim against the vessel itself. However, for both practical and economic reasons, admiralty claimants do not always pursue both of these distinct remedies when first seeking relief. Read More »

Unraveling the Tangled Web: A Discussion of the Development and Effects of the Supreme Court’s Substantial-Nexus Test as it Applies to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act

In 2012, through Pacific Operators Offshore, LLP v. Valladolid, the United States Supreme Court resolved a longstanding federal circuit split regarding the scope of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) provision contained in 43 U.S.C. § 1333(b). In relevant part, § 1333(b) provides Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) benefits to employees who are injured “as the result of operations conducted on the Outer Continental Shelf” (OCS). Read More »

To Exhibit or Not to Exhibit?: Establishing a Middle Ground for Commercially Exploited Underwater Cultural Heritage Under the 2001 UNESCO Convention

Although cultural heritage located on land receives extensive legal protection in almost every country in the world, cultural heritage located underwater, known as underwater cultural heritage, receives little, if any, protection. For underwater archaeologists, this difference in protection is perplexing because historic shipwrecks, a subcategory of underwater cultural heritage, are unique time capsules. Whereas most land-based archaeological sites are composed of several settlements built one on top of the other, each historic shipwreck is representative of one moment in history and provides a unique glimpse into ancient maritime trade and transportation. Read More »

The Ace up the Sleeve: Federal Courts Allow Employer Counterclaims for Property Damage to Wipe Out the Jones Act Claims of Seamen

The nature of the maritime industry inevitably gives rise to accidents resulting in both property damage and injury to a seaman. Often, this leads the seaman to file a claim under the Jones Act, a statue that allows injured seamen to recover from negligent employers. In response to this type of situation, some employers have elected to file a counterclaim against the injured seaman for the property damage caused in the accident. Read More »

Dangerous Goods Liability in the Age of Containerization—Warning: This Comment May (or May Not) Self-Destruct

Containerization significantly altered the risks and benefits associated with the global shipping industry. The rules governing the industry, however, have not evolved in lockstep with newer technology. Rather, courts and businesses apply dated rules to modern and sometimes very dangerous risks. This Comment examines rules that govern dangerous goods and surveys a sample of leading interpretations of those rules. Read More »

Congress Sends an “S.O.S.” to the World: Chartering the Course for Maritime Laws on Death

At present, an ocean of difference exists between the populist sense of justice and the remedy provisions of maritime law of the United States. Although it has finally awakened to this realization, Congress's most recent attempts to update the admiralty regime to better reflect the will of the modern citizen have only complicated the law, thus creating confusion among the courts. Read More »

Binding Effect of Arbitration Clauses on Holders of Bills of Lading as Nonoriginal Parties and a Potential Uniform Approach Through Comparative Analysis

An arbitration clause usually binds parties who have agreed to it absent any dispute regarding the validity of the clause. An arbitration clause, however, may be incorporated from one contract (the first contract) into another contract (the second contract) pursuant to an incorporating provision in the second contract. Through incorporation, the arbitration clause in the first contract becomes a provision in the second contract. A person who is a party to the second contract, but not a party to the first contract, becomes a nonoriginal party to the arbitration clause. In addition, a successor of either the first contract or the second contract also becomes a nonoriginal party to the arbitration clause. Read More »

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