MARITIME (EMPLOYMENT & TORTS) / (3) Jones Act cases alleging injuries suffered by maritime employees caused (at least in part) by employer’s negligence.

Brewer v. Motiva Enterprises, LLC, Slip copy, 2013 WL 499296 (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, February 7, 2013). Free copy available here.

Miranda v. NCL (Bahamas)Ltd, Slip copy, 2013 WL 504103 (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, February 8, 2013). Free copy available here.

Chenevert v. Massman Construction Co., Slip copy, 2013 WL 527411 (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, February 11, 2013). Free copy available here.

MARITIME NON-JONES ACT EMPLOYEE INJURIES / U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5TH Circuit declines to decide if federal maritime law provides a non-Jones Act maritime claim for emotional injuries even if those injuries occur while plaintiff was within a “zone of danger” with the person whose physical injury or death such person observed.

First, this case presents arcane questions relating to application of general maritime law and admiralty jurisdiction. 

Second, akin to common law tort, there is a question whether a by-stander who is not physically injured can recover money damages at law for emotional harm suffered by witnessing another person suffering or being killed. 

On this point the court observes that the 5th Circuit in a 1992 opinion expressly left open the question of whether such a circumstance gave rise to a cause of action in a non-Jones Act general maritime law case – and declined to rule on that question here. 

Opinion observed that some cases – both in Jones Act and non-Jones Act settings – courts had ruled that purely emotional harms were compensable where the person claiming emotional harm had also been in the same “zone of danger” with the person whose death or injury was observed. 

Barker v. Hercules Offshore, Inc., 2013 WL 398763 (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, February 1, 2013. Free copy available hereContinue reading

MARITIME & EMPLOYMENT / Garden-variety case for injuries to seaman where under Suits in Admiralty Act, Public Vessels Act, Jones Act and general maritime law.

Barry v. U.S., 2013 WL 60603 (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, January 3, 2013). No free copy available at time of posting.

After bench trial.

CONTRACT & GENERAL MARITIME LAW / Plaintiff vessel charter and operating company contract of affreightment with NVOCC was maritime in character, therefore was governed by Federal Arbitration Act – held: Sent to arbitration.

“The Contract of Affreightment is a maritime contract and therefore falls under the purview of the [Federal Arbitration Act], even if the contract does not specifically mention the [Federal Arbitration Act].” Coverage by general maritime law of the United States implies this.

Overseas Carriers, Inc. v. Team Ocean Services-Dallas, Inc., 2013 WL 76300 (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, January 4, 2013). Free copy available here. Continue reading