US Supreme Court Maroons Filmmaker in Blackbeard Video Piracy Fight
Schlumberger Wins in US Supreme Court on Patent Damages
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday that companies can recover profits lost because of the unauthorized use of their patented technology abroad in a victory for Schlumberger NV, the world's largest oilfield services provider.The 7-2 decision overturned a lower court's ruling that had enforced limits on applying U.S. patent law overseas and reduced by $93.4 million the damages sum that rival ION Geophysical Corp had to pay for infringing Schlumberger technology that helps find oil and gas beneath the ocean floor.
Indian Fishermen Hail US Supreme Court Decision to Hear World Bank Suit
Farmers and fishermen in western India have welcomed a U.S. Supreme Court decision to hear their lawsuit against a World Bank agency, which financed a power plant they blame for damaging the environment and their livelihoods.The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear an appeal by the villagers of a lower court ruling that the International Finance Corp (IFC) was immune from such lawsuits under federal law.The court must now consider for the first time whether international organisations are immune from such suits under federal law…
Tugboats & Vessel Response Plans
Traditionally, tugs and towboats (hereinafter tugs) have largely been uninspected vessels of the United States. They were subject to basic examinations by the U.S. Coast Guard, but the standards were little higher than those applicable to recreational craft. These tugs were also subject to examination by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The OSHA examinations were rare, but when they took place any violations found could be costly. After one of the OSHA penalty cases was litigated all the way to the U.S.
American Pride: Working Hard in the US Dredging Industry
We have had a great first couple of months at the Dredging Contractors of America. As the new CEO and Executive Director, I have begun to visit the companies, their facilities and associated dredging projects. So far, I have surveyed the beach re-nourishment project in Ocean City, Md. undertaken by Great Lakes Dredge and Dock. I’ve canvassed Weeks Marine’s repair and yard facility in Jersey City, N.J. In the last week of February, I visited Mike Hooks Inc.’s corporate headquarters and boatbuilding and repair yard in West Lake, La.
When Conducting Investigations Consider 'Privileges'
Whether voluntarily or as required by the International Safety Management Code, the American Waterways Operators’ (AWO) Responsible Carrier Program, or some other rule or regulation, investigations of accidents and near-miss situations are routinely conducted by companies in the maritime industry. This is due to the widespread recognition that careful examination of the root causes of such incidents can help to prevent future occurrences. Faulty procedures, defective equipment, and inadequate training can all be identified in the investigation exercise.
Courts Upholds BP 'gross negligence' Gulf Spill Ruling
A U.S. The decision by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans means BP could still face close to $18 billion of penalties for violating the federal Clean Water Act. It marks the latest setback in BP's effort to curb costs from the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, which led to 11 deaths and the largest U.S. offshore oil spill. The trial is expected to resume in January. Barbier had on Sept. 4 ruled that BP committed gross negligence and was 67 percent at fault for the spill. The gross negligence finding roughly quadrupled the maximum civil penalty that BP could face under the Clean Water Act. BP later argued that this ruling relied on inadmissible testimony from an expert for Halliburton Co, which provided cementing work at the spill site.
Amistad Replica Brings Drama to Tall Ships Fest
A top draw for some of the hundreds of thousands of visitors to New England's weekend Sailfest was surely the Freedom Schooner Amistad, replica of the United States' most famous slavery vessel, even as many were unaware of the suspense behind its eventual appearance at the annual tall ships gathering. The original Amistad was the setting for an 1839 mutiny aboard the Spanish slave ship bound for Cuba with 53 kidnapped Africans who were held in a small New Haven, Connecticut jail for a year before President John Quincy Adams convinced the U.S. Supreme Court to release them.
BP Tries Again to Sidestep GoM Spill Payments
BP Plc has asked U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to allow the company to avoid making payments to businesses demanding compensation for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill while litigation continues. The company acted after the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted an injunction earlier in the day that had prevented payments being made. Last week, the court had decided not to revisit a decision rejecting BP's bid to block payments to businesses that could not trace their economic losses to the disaster.
BP to Appeal Gulf Oil Spill Damages Ruling
BP Plc on Wednesday said it will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review a court ruling concerning the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, which forces the company to pay some businesses for economic damages without the businesses having to prove the spill caused their losses. On Monday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans refused to disturb a March ruling from a three-judge panel over how to compensate businesses. BP has said paying such claims could push the estimated $9.2 billion cost of its settlement with those businesses, which the company helped negotiate, significantly higher.
US Top Court Upholds Cross-State Air Pollution Rule
The U.S. Supreme Court handed President Barack Obama a victory on Tuesday by upholding a federal environmental regulation requiring some states to limit pollution that contributes to unhealthy air in neighboring states. By a 6-2 vote, the court said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency acted reasonably in requiring 28 states to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which can lead to soot and smog. Writing for the majority, Justice…
U.S. Supreme Court Declines Exxon Mobil Appeal
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to review a ruling against Exxon Mobil Corp that ordered the company to pay $105 million in damages for polluting New York City's groundwater with a toxic gasoline additive. The decision not to hear the case leaves intact a July 2 U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that upheld the judgment. In 2009, a jury concluded that Exxon contaminated water supply wells when the additive, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), leaked from its underground storage tanks in the borough of Queens.
Former Congress Lawyer to Serve as AdvanFort Legal Counsel
AdvanFort Company said attorney Sheila R. Schreiber has come onboard as its in-house legal counsel. Schreiber brings experience in the private and public sectors. She is a former litigation partner with Howrey LLP, served as counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary and has extensive experience in the national and international sales of industrial products. Her specialties include commercial, regulatory, employment, intellectual property, corporate and antitrust matters. Schreiber is a cum laude graduate of the University of Pittsburgh law school where she was a member of the Law Review. Her bar and court memberships include the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Summary Judgment Sought Against Mass. 2009 Oil Spill Law
The American Waterways Operators (AWO), the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO), the Chamber of Shipping of America, the International Chamber of Shipping, and the International Group of Protection & Indemnity Clubs filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on Friday, January 28 in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against a 2009 Massachusetts oil spill law. The plaintiffs also requested that the judge issue a Permanent Injunction to enjoin its enforcement. The Motion charges that the spill law is unconstitutional and undermines marine safety and environmental protection. The state law being challenged compels vessel operators to comply with state – not Federal – requirements for transit through Buzzards Bay.
Rebuilding the Presumption of Preemption
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. I also propose that maritime stakeholders undertake measures to make this a reality. The Constitution already allows for such preemption – and it has been implemented with regard to various issues over time, particularly in the early days of the Republic.
Stretching the Bounds of State Sovereignty
The operation of vessels in international commerce has never been more complicated than it is today, particularly from the standpoint of regulatory compliance. A vessel operator must be cognizant of international, national, state and local regulatory requirements. In an ideal world, the regulations of subjects such as navigation safety, crew licensure or pollution would be uniform so that an operator could understand the law and more easily comply. In cases where the requirements of one jurisdiction differ from those of another, it would certainly be helpful to know where the line of demarcation between one jurisdiction and another could be firmly drawn. The regulation of air pollution emitted from large oceangoing vessels has been the subject of an international treaty for many years.
California SECA Regulations Upheld by Supreme Court
The Court did not provide an explanation of why it decided not to take this particular case. No further legal action is being considered. All ocean-going vessels calling at California’s ports are required to comply with these regulations when the vessel comes within 24 miles of the Californian coast. See the article in WN 27/2012 for the most recent advisory issued by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regarding these regulations. In July 2011 INTERTANKO joined an industry coalition in filing an amicus curiae brief in support of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association’s (PMSA) petition Supreme Court review of the 9th Circuit’s decision upholding the constitutionality of the California vessel fuel sulphur restrictions.
The Coast Guard’s Proposed Maritime Preemption Assessment Framework
What it may foretell about the coming towing vessel rule. In the May 2013 issue of Maritime Reporter & Engineering News, Dennis Bryant published a provocative article titled Rebuilding the Presumption of Preemption. The Coast Guard has asserted in the past and believes today that consistent standards of universal application and enforcement, coupled with Federal initiatives to meet unique regional concerns, best meet local and national safety and environmental goals with the least disruption to maritime commerce. 78 Fed. Reg. 79,243.
U.S. Coast Guard Must Assert its Authority
It is time for the Coast Guard to defend the authority granted to it by Congress, the Executive Branch and the courts. On December 27, 2013, the U.S. Coast Guard issued a notice stating that it intended to promulgate a rule containing its assessment framework for, and restating its position regarding, the federalism implications of regulations issued under the authority of various statutes within Titles 33 and 46 of the United States Code. Public comment on the proposed rule should be submitted by March 27, 2014.
Justices Question Obama Climate Change Regulations
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. Justice Anthony Kennedy could hold the swing vote on the nine-member high court, with conservative justices skeptical of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) approach and liberal justices generally supportive. It is possible the court could opt for a compromise in which the EPA loses the case but retains most of its authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the specific program at issue in the case. Such a move could potentially win the support of some liberal justices.
Coast Guard’s Proposed Maritime Preemption Assessment Framework
In the May 2013 issue of Maritime Reporter & Engineering News, Dennis Bryant published a provocative article titled Rebuilding the Presumption of Preemption. The Coast Guard has asserted in the past and believes today that consistent standards of universal application and enforcement, coupled with Federal initiatives to meet unique regional concerns, best meet local and national safety and environmental goals with the least disruption to maritime commerce. 78 Fed. Reg. 79,243.
Scalia to Address CGA Corps of Cadets
The Honorable Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, is scheduled to speak at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy March 18, as the 2014 Hedrick Fellow. Justice Scalia will address the corps of cadets in Leamy Hall Auditorium at 7:30 p.m., in an event that is open to the public. Justice Scalia was nominated by President Ronald Reagan and is currently the longest-serving justice on the Supreme Court. He took his seat on the Court, Sept. 26, 1986. The purpose of the Hedrick Fellow program is to bring world-renowned political, military, and industry leaders to the Academy to share their knowledge and insight with cadets and faculty, and provide an opportunity for the Coast Guard’s future leaders to learn from the experiences of America's most distinguished leaders.
Transocean Announces Interim SVP, General Counsel
Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) (SIX: RIGN) has announced that, effective immediately, Allen M. Katz, has joined the company and will serve as Interim Senior Vice President and General Counsel through June 30, 2013. Subject to mutual agreement, Mr. Katz's employment with Transocean can be extended through December 31, 2013. Mr. Katz has served as an advisor to the company since June 2010. Prior to Transocean, Mr. Katz served as managing partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson, LLP, initially joining the firm in 1974. He earned his Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School in 1972 and received his undergraduate degree from Brandeis University in 1969, graduating cum laude. Mr. Katz is a member of the California, 9th Circuit and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.