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Case Summaries


[02/06] Mediterranean Shipping Co. v. Best Tire Recycling, Inc.
In a dispute arising out of a contract for the shipment of used tires from Puerto Rico to Vietnam, which accrued demurrage charges, port storage charges, and related administrative fees, apparently because it arrived late to Vietnam, the district court finding that defendant was the shipper, and therefore, pursuant to the bills of lading, was liable for the charges and fees to the carrier, is affirmed where was designated as the shipper on the bills of lading.

[12/23] Block Island Fishing, Inc. v. Rogers
In an admiralty action arising from plaintiff-employer's suit against defendant, an injured fisherman employed on one of its boats, to dispute the duration and amount of 'maintenance and cure' payments to which defendant is entitled under admiralty law, the district court's judgment is: 1) affirmed as to plaintiff's ability of offset overpayment against any damages that defendant may win at trial; and 2) reversed as to the district court's determination of a date on which plaintiff's obligations terminated because insufficient notice and opportunity to contest otherwise was given to defendant.

[11/22] Nevor v. Moneypenny Holdings, LLC
In a maritime personal injury case, the district court's award to plaintiff of compensatory damages for past and future harms, plus prejudgment interest, is: 1) affirmed as to the damages award; but 2) affirmed in part and reversed in part as to the award of interest where, in a question of first impression within this circuit, the district court was bound to follow Borges v. Our Lady of the Sea Corp., and its failure to do so constitutes reversible error.

[10/18] Hargus v. Ferocious and Impetuous, LLC
In a negligence action against the owner and captain of a chartered vessel, for injuries plaintiff sustained while aboard the boat, the District Court's judgment in plaintiff's favor is vacated where the tortious act giving rise to plaintiff's claim was insufficient to invoke maritime jurisdiction because the act was not of the type that could potentially disrupt maritime commerce.

[06/01] In Re Petition of Bruce Germain
In a petition for exoneration from or limitation of liability under the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851, 46 U.S.C. sections 30501-12, the District Court's dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction is reversed where, applying a recent Supreme Court multi-part test for admiralty jurisdiction, a recreational injury occurring on a recreational vessel anchored in a shallow recreational bay of navigable waters could disrupt maritime commerce and did bear a sufficient relationship to traditional maritime activity.

[05/21] Fireman?s Fund Ins. Co. v. Great Am. Ins. Co.
In a case brought by insurance companies against underwriters seeking contribution for losses and cleanup costs stemming from a dry dock that sank, the District Court's grant of summary judgment to defendants is affirmed where: 1) defendant Great American's pollution insurance policy was a marine insurance contract subject to the doctrine of uberrimae fidei, and defendant Signal's failure to disclose that the dry dock had deteriorated and that repairs recommended over several years had not been made violated its duty of utmost good faith under that doctrine; and 2) defendant Signal materially misrepresented the dry dock's condition when it applied for coverage from defendant MSI.

[03/31] McIndoe v. Bath Iron Works
In an injury and tort action arising under federal maritime law, the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendant shipbuilder is affirmed where: 1) the two warships at issue cannot be considered 'products' for the purpose of strict products liability under maritime law; and 2) the plaintiffs have failed to establish a genuine issue of material fact that exposure to asbestos during naval service was a substantial factor in their deceased ancestor's injuries.

[02/24] Hapag-Lloyd Aktiengesellschaft v. U.S. Oil Trading LLC
In a commercial action concerning payment for purchased fuel bunkers for plaintiff?s ships, the district court?s preliminary injunction, barring suit against plaintiffs to enforce maritime liens and attach the three vessel at issue, is affirmed in part and reversed in part where: 1) the district court possessed subject matter jurisdiction over the dispute; but 2) the preliminary injunction is overbroad and is remanded for a determination of the proper scope.

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Injury & Tort Law

[07/13] Mountain Valley Prop. Inc. v. Applied Risk Serv. Inc.
Affirming the denial of a motion to vacate an arbitrator's decision because the arbitrator did not manifestly disregard the law and did not exceed their powers.

[07/12] Mejias-Aguayo v. Doreste-Rodriguez
Affirming the denial of a motion for new rial following a jury verdict in favor of the defendants in a case involving a car accident where the plaintiff complained about the defense attorney's characterization of the incident as an accident and the judge's paraphrasing of portions of the law in their jury instructions, finding that neither incident was misleading or prejudicial.

[07/10] Riggs v. Curran
Affirming the dismissal of plaintiff's claims challenging the development of an offshore wind farm because the personal injury tort claim was filed after the state's three year statute of limitations, determining that the statute of limitations began to run at the time of publication of the Public Utilities Commission's plan, not when permits were issued, energy rates rose, or the plaintiffs exhausted their administrative remedies.

[07/06] Kumari v. The Hospital Com. for the Livermore Pleasanton Areas
Affirming that a letter sent to a hospital demanding damages and alleging negligence that included a threat to 'move to the court' if a settlement amount was not paid constituted a notice of intent to sue did not extend the statute of limitations for a tort action filed more than a year after the incident.

[07/05] Soto v. Gaudett
Reversing the denial of summary judgment and dismissing other grounds for appeals on procedural grounds, the court held that lower court erred in failing to apply the fleeing-suspect principle when determining police officer's qualified immunity in a case involving the death of a fleeing suspect as a result of tasering and a car accident.

[06/30] Trejo v. Johnson & Johnson
Reversing the jury verdict involving an ibuprofen manufacturer whose pills gave a customer a reaction on account of their rare skin disease where the jury's verdicts were contradictory, with some decisions finding no strict-liability failure to warn but finding negligent failure to warn, and also failing to include the necessary question of whether a reasonable manufacturer under the same circumstances would have warned against the risk.

[06/30] Blanyer v. Geneva Products, Inc.
Affirming the dismissal of a putative class action claim that was found to be barred by the statute of limitations in a case brought by former employees of a company that manufactures vinyl pipes and rain gutters because the action was commenced long after their exposure and the discovery rule did not apply since the harmful effects of the substances have been public knowledge for decades.

[06/29] Halley v. Honeywell International Inc.
Affirming the class certification, settlement approval, and award of attorney's fees in a class action suit relating to the chromium contamination of New Jersey properties in the vicinity of waste disposal sites, but ordering the reconsideration of the award of costs.

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