Baldwin Haspel Burke & Mayer LLC

Maritime Updates

Baldwin Haspel Burke & Mayer’s Maritime Update is an e-newsletter authored by attorney Bill Schwartz, which provides discussions on the latest in maritime-related decisions and legislative developments.

5 Jan 2021

Maritime Update: Sieraki Seamen Still Exist

Legal Background: In the U.S. Supreme Court case of “Seas Shipping Co. v. Sieraki” decided in 1946, they determined the remedy for unseaworthiness was available for people other than a seaman employed by the vessel owner. The Court held the…

4 Jan 2021

Maritime Update: Contributory Negligence/Comparative Fault in Seaman’s Cases

In the case of Knight v Kirby Offshore decided by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on December 17, 2020 (the Fifth Circuit covers Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi), they addressed the comparative fault of a seaman when following his superior’s…

17 Dec 2020

Maritime Update: California Court Rules Their State Laws Apply for Crew Wage Claims in that State

On December 7, 2020, in the case of Gulf Offshore Logistics v Superior Court of Ventura County, a California state court concluded California wage and hour laws applied to seamen and crew aboard a vessel servicing four oil platforms in…

9 Dec 2020

Maritime Update: When a Barge is Being Dismantled, it is No Longer a Vessel for Admiralty Jurisdiction

After an accident during shipbreaking operations killed one worker and injured another, Southern Recycling, L.L.C., brought a petition for exoneration or limitation of liability under the Limitation of Liability Act. Claimants Nestor Aguilar (the injured worker); Lorena Aguilar; Dora Mendieta…

23 Nov 2020

Maritime Update: “Borrowed Employee” Entitled Only to LHWCA Compensation, No Tort Suit

Waukesha Pearce Industries, Inc. employed Milorad Raicevic as an offshore platform mechanic beginning in 2008. While still employed by Waukesha Pearce, Raicevic worked on an offshore platform owned by Fieldwood Energy located on the outer continental shelf in the Gulf…

23 Nov 2020

Maritime Update: 11th Circuit Upholds Application of DOHSA for Jet Crash Into Sea

A recent decision of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals addressed the application of the Death on the High Seas Act (“DOHSA“) to a death when a jet crashed into the sea. In the case of LaCourse v PAE Worldwide,…

12 Nov 2020

Maritime Update: Federal Law Controls State Law on Outer Continental Shelf

The legislation known as the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) for the exploration and development of the resources offshore applies the state law of the adjacent state if no federal statute applies and if it is not inconsistent with…

10 Nov 2020

Maritime Update: Court Enforces One-Year Limitation on Cruise Line Ticket

On November 6, 2020 in an unpublished decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the case of Melancon vs. Carnival Corporation affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff passenger’s personal injury claim against a cruise line. Plaintiff filed…

6 Nov 2020

Maritime Update: Fifth Circuit to Rehear Sanchez Case on Seaman Status En Banc

Gilbert Sanchez was injured when he tripped on a pipe welded to the deck of a jacked-up offshore drilling rig. He filed a negligence action against Smart Fabricators of Texas (“SmartFab”), claiming seaman status under the Jones Act. The District…

20 Oct 2020

Maritime Update: An Instructive Look at the Current State of Maritime Law

Admiralty law has evolved since the days when it was entirely judge-made. Since the early 20th century, when Congress began legislating in this area, the role of the courts has changed from leader to follower, from promulgation to interpretation. As…

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