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Court Ruling

FMC Upheld on Claim of Unreasonably Refusing to Deal or Negotiate

In an unpublished decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied a petition for review sought by a stevedoring company of a decision of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). In a matter before the agency, the FMC had ruled that a marine terminal operator had not unreasonably refused to deal or negotiate with the stevedoring company. In its decision, the court ruled that the FMC decision was supported by substantial evidence and was consistent with past precedent. Source: HK Law


Maritrans' Claim for Damages from OPA 90 Denied

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled on December 21, 2001 that the double hull requirement of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 ("OPA") does not constitute a "taking" of Maritrans' petroleum barges. Maritrans is currently evaluating whether to take an appeal. OPA prohibits existing single-hull tank vessels from continuing operation through their useful life, mandating a phase-out schedule over a period of years. In 1996


Lawsuit Aimed at Stopping Casino Boat

Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth filed a complaint in Volusia Circuit Court, seeking to force SunCruz Casinos to get rid of the slot machines and other casino games on one of its cruise-to-nowhere boats, which docks in Ponce Inlet. The refusal by the U.S. Supreme Court to tamper with a lower court ruling that federal law does not prevent states from deciding their existing laws prohibiting land-based casino gaming also apply to cruise-to-nowhere operations may have been the motivation


Negligent Homicide with Yacht Leads to Loss of Coverage

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that, where the owner of a yacht was convicted of negligent homicide in connection with a fatal collision, the insurance company is not obligated to defend under a policy excluding losses “criminally caused or incurred” by the insured. In the instant case, plaintiff was operating his yacht when it collided with another boat, killing one of the passengers of the boat


U.S. Supreme Court Reject Exxon Appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected on an appeal by Exxon Mobil Corp. over the $5 billion punitive damages verdict against it for the 1989 Exxon Valdez accident, the nation's worst oil spill. The justices let stand a U.S. appeals court ruling that the award against the oil giant in a civil lawsuit brought by Alaskan fishermen and other plaintiffs should not be set aside because of irregularities during jury deliberations.


Federal Court Delivers Ruling On Bayport

The Port of Houston Authority (PHA) welcomed U.S. District Court Judge Vanessa Gilmore's ruling on the motions for summary judgment that had been filed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, PHA, and the opponents of PHA's Bayport Container and Cruise Terminal project. The court ruling grants the Corps' and PHA's motions and denies the opponents' motion, thereby dismissing the challenge to the Bayport permit. According to the court's ruling


Bankruptcy Trumps Admiralty

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that a bankruptcy court may extinguish maritime liens on vessels where the lienors are before the court, even though the ships are not within the jurisdiction of the court. A shipowner filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. Defendant financial institutions, which held preferred ship mortgages, succeeded in getting the court to convert the action into an involuntary bankruptcy under Chapter 7


Dredge is a Vessel for Purposes of LHWCA

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a dredge not currently in navigation is still a vessel for purposes of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). In the instant case, a marine engineer was injured while performing repairs on a scow tied up to a dredge. The dredge was capable of only limited movement on its own, dragging itself along using anchors and cables. Otherwise, it had to be towed. The lower court held that


Ruling on Border Inspections

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Executive Branch has plenary authority to conduct suspicionless inspections at the border. In the instant case, Customs officials removed and disassembled the gas tank from a car entering the United States from Mexico at a land border crossing. Marijuana was found in the gas tank and criminal charges were brought against the driver. Defendant argued that the evidence should be suppressed because the search was highly intrusive and was not based on


The Townsend Decision: Should Vessel Owners Deny Maintenance and Cure?

Lawrence R. DeMarcay, III is a partner at Fowler Rodriguez Valdes-Fauli in the firm’s New Orleans, La. office. He can be reached at ldemarcay@frvf-law.com or 504-595-5122.

Unfortunately, as a vessel owner or operator, you have probably been faced with a situation where one of your crew members have allegedly become sick or injured while in the service of the vessel.  As you are aware, once this injury or illness is reported to the company, the duties of providing maintenance and cure under the Jones Act begin. Unfortunately, instances of fraud where the employee may not have suffered the injury or illness that he or she is complaining of seem to be common


Court Denies WQIS Motion for Injunction

A New York State Supreme Court Judge has ruled against WQIS in a dispute involving the marine pollution insurance arena. According to Safe Harbor, this is the second ruling against WQIS in its attempt to prevent start-up Safe Harbor Pollution Insurance from entering the insurance space where


Shell Suspends Alaskan Offshore Drilling

AP photo

Faced with an earnings slump and added pressure from a recent federal court ruling, Shell has abandoned plans for offshore drilling near Alaska in 2014. Shell’s new CEO Ben van Beurden announced to investors today that the company will undergo a major refocus aimed at reversing down


India Drops Anti-piracy Charges against Italian Marines

India has dropped a plan to prosecute two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen under a tough anti-piracy law, a government lawyer said on Monday, offering a chance to end a diplomatic row between the two countries.  


Justices Question Obama Climate Change Regulations

By Lawrence Hurley, Reuters The U.S. Supreme Court appeared closely divided on Monday as it weighed whether the administration of President Barack Obama exceeded its authority when crafting the nation's first greenhouse gas emissions regulations.


Argentine Tall Ship Released, Welcomed Home

Libertad: Photo credit Wki CCL DagosNavy

Argentine naval training ship, 'ARA Libertad' which was detained in Ghana for more than two months has arrived back home. The Libertad had been seized following legal action by an investment company trying to recover money still owed after Argentina's 2002 debt default


SKH Product Counterfeiter Sentenced

Swedish court rules for criminal conviction in SKF counterfeit court case. A Swedish court has sentenced one person to a one-year jail term and a five-year ban from trade, and awarded damages to SKF, after finding him guilty of violation of Swedish trademark law in relation to the SKF trademark


American Investors and Colombian Government Battle over $17 Billion Treasure Salvage

A group of investors sued the Colombian government for preventing American salvage group Sea Search Armada from recovering San Jose, a ship that sank in 1708, often referred to as the “Holy Grail of Shipwrecks.” With numerous court rulings throughout the years


Treasure Hunters File Another Suit Against Columbia

Sea Search Armada's (SSA) lawsuit against the Government of Colombia in U.S. District Court, Washington D.C. claims it interfered with SSA's legitimate treasure salvage operations. The galleon San Jose carried coins and precious metals mined and smelted in Peru


Rebuilding the Presumption of Preemption

Dennis L. Bryant, Maritime Regulatroy Consulting, Gainsville, FL

I propose that the Legislative, Executive, Judicial Branches of the federal government should cooperatively work toward the rebuilding of the presumption in favor of federal preemption with respect to all matters related to maritime commerce


Legal Spat Settled Mainly in Favour of Sembcorp Marine

The Singapore Court of Appeal was considering an appeal by Sembcorp against parts of an earlier High Court decision regarding PPL Holdings as follows: (i) whether the Joint Venture Agreement between the Company and PPL Holdings is premised on equal shareholding and continues to apply in its


"Safe Drilling in the Far North is a Fantasy": Greenpeace

Protest banner: Image courtesy of Greenpeace

Commenting on Monday’s ruling by a federal judge in Anchorage that Shell’s oil spill plans for drilling in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas don’t violate environmental laws, Greenpeace International Arctic campaigner Ben Ayliffe said:


Greenpeace Arctic Protesters Under Lock & Key

Photo courtesy of Greenpeace

Greenpeace International states it is to appeal Russian court rulings as activists face long detentions while piracy charges against them are considered, commenting as follows: Twenty-eight Greenpeace International activists, as well as a freelance photographer and a freelance videographer


Russian Court Rejects Plea to Release Greenpeace Ship

MV Arctic Sunrise: Image credit Greenpeace

The Murmansk Regional Court has rejected an appeal against the arrest of the ship 'Arctic Sunrise' by Russian authorities reports Greenpeace. "This is an extremely disappointing ruling. We believe this verdict is in violation of both the Russian Criminal Procedure Code and international law


Landmark ECJ Ruling on Liability Limitation for Cargo Theft

Jos van der Meché

Rotterdam based law firm AKD said a recent landmark decision of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg definitively puts its weight behind forum shopping to limit liability under the CMR Convention in carrier-friendly countries. This is a boon to the Dutch jurisdiction and specifically comes


Bunker Suppliers Applaud EU Waste Decision

Recent guidance handed down by the European Court of Justice which rules that off-spec fuel oil does not have to be handled as waste is a triumph of common sense which will be welcomed by all suppliers of fuel oils and bunkers.   Shell Nederland and Shell Belgium were disputing a ruling by


 
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