Attorney’s Fees not Recoverable in action in rem

Wednesday, June 22, 2005
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that attorney’s fees may not be recovered in an action in rem. In the instant case, plaintiff salvor successfully removed defendant yacht from a grounding after the owner signed a Standard Form Marine Salvage Contract. When the owner did not pay the salvage claim, the salvor brought suit in rem against the yacht. The action was then referred to arbitration, as provided for in the contract. In addition to awarding salvage, the arbitrator also assessed attorney’s fees against the yacht. On review, the court held that attorney’s fees are not part of a salvage lien. Offshore Marine Towing v. MR23, No. 04-15126 (11th Cir.) (HK Law)
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