Vitol S.A. v. Primerose Shipping Co. Ltd. A district court had admiralty jurisdiction to consider the appeal of a ship charterer’s attempt to collect on a judgment against the ship’s owner by attaching a vessel docked at Baltimore, but the 4th Circuit upholds the district court’s decision to vacate its ex parte order of attachment and dismiss the ship charterer’s complaint based on an alter ego theory.
Thorpe v. TJM Ocean Isle Partners LLC Since plaintiffs’ decedent was working on a pier when he was killed, he was not on navigable waters.
Turner v. United States The Coast Guard’s decision as to whether to start a search for a missing boater is discretionary; therefore, the Coast Guard’s delay in starting the search for plaintiff and her husband is shielded by sovereign immunity. Plaintiff made it to shore 20 minutes after the Coast Guard started its search; she has not shown that she was damaged by any negligence of the Coast Guard in that timeframe.
Aggarao v. MOL Ship Mgmt. Co. Ltd. A Filipino seaman who suffered devastating injuries while working aboard the Asian Spirit vessel in the Chesapeake Bay near Baltimore must arbitrate his claims against the vessel owner and additional defendants; the 4th Circuit affirms the arbitration decision but vacates the dismissal of the case and remands for reinstatement and consideration of the injunction request and entry of a stay pending arbitration.
F.C. Wheat Maritime Corp. v. U.S. When the captain of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers vessel fell asleep at the wheel and struck plaintiff’s 70-foot yacht, the Marquessa, docked at the pier at Ocean Marine marina in Portsmouth, the yacht was a constructive total loss based on two of three opinions in this battle of the experts, and the 4th Circuit affirms a $440,000 damage award for the fair market value of the ship at the time of loss.
In the Matter of the Complaint of Vulcan Materials Co. v. Massiah v. U.S. In this appeal of a $1.25 million wrongful death award against Vulcan Materials Company in a suit in admiralty after the death of a 19-year-old seaman when his rigid-hull inflatable boat collided with a tug during a Navy training exercise on the James River, the 4th Circuit affirms the district court award to the seaman's family members and its decision that the U.S. can't be held liable for contribution.
Styron v. Norfolk Dredging Co. (Lawyers Weekly No. 09-02-0977, 3 pp.) (Terrence W. Boyle, J.) E.D.N.C. Holding: Even though the complaint does not cite Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(h) directly, plaintiff has satisfied the Rule 9(h) requirement of designating his claim as one within the court’s admiralty jurisdiction: The header of the complaint contains the [...]
Triton Marine Fuels v. M/V Pacific Chukotka. (Lawyers Weekly No. 09-01-0723, 17 pp.) (Reidinger, J.) No. 07-1908, July 29, 2009; USDC at Baltimore (Motz, J.) 4th Cir. Holding: In this maritime action in which Panamanian corporation Triton Marine Fuels Ltd., S.A, alleges that it supplied the M/V Pacific Chukotka with fuel bunkers in a foreign [...]
In re: Compania Naviera Joanna SA v. Koninklujke Boskalis Westminster NV. (Lawyers Weekly No. 09-01-0615, 35 pp.) (Niemeyer, J.) No. 08-1031, June 26, 2009; USDC at Charleston, S.C. (Norton, J.) 4th Cir. Holding: In this complex litigation arising from the collision in Chinese territorial waters of a Panamanian vessel chartered by a Swiss corporation, with [...]
Slavchev v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (Lawyers Weekly No. 09-01-0250, 8 pp.) (Niemeyer, J.) No. 07-2036, March 11, 2009; USDC at Baltimore. (Quarles, J.) 4th Cir. Holding: The 4th Circuit says a Maryland federal district court had no subject-matter jurisdiction over this suit by a Bulgarian citizen who alleges injury and disability during his former [...]