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Rutgers University, Newark School of Law
Geraghty, J. Patrick

Fall 2009
-Uniformity of the maritime law promotes freedom of navigation between states and foreign countries and therefore promotes commercial enterprise. Southern Pacific v. Jensen
-Judicial economy.
-Maritime law is placed under national control because of its intimate relation to navigation and to interstate and foreign commerce. Panama R.R. Co. v. Johnson
-The body of maritime law had the force of law, not from the extraterritorial reach of national laws, nor from abdication of its sovereign powers by any nation, but from acceptance by common consent of civilized communities of rules designed to foster amicable and workable commercial relations. Lauritzen v. Larsen.
-In close cases, courts will lean towards the seafarer based on the now-less prevalent status of seafarers as wards of the court.
I.        Professional responsibility
A.     Lousiana State Bar Association v. Edwins
Held: Attorney should be reprimanded for (1) soliciting, (2) failure to account for settlement proceeds, and (3) improper advances.
Reasoning: (1) The court found solicitation where an agent of the attorney contacted a third party; had defendant presented testimony of the third party the client authorized the third party to contact the agent or the attorney, no solicitation; (2) The court found failure to account where defendant received a settlement amount and distributed a different amount to client than was agreed upon; there was no foul play, however defendant should have provided an itemized statement; (3) The court found improper advancement where the advances made to a client for which no justification was shown; it is irrelevant that advances are customary in the maritime field. However, (4) the court found no improper advancement where from a retained lawyer to a client for minimal living expenses, minor sums to prevent foreclosure, or necessary medical treatment.
B.     Hatteras of Lauderdale, Inc. v. Gemini Lady
Held: Attorney is subject to Rule 11 sanctions for failing to make a good-faith, meritorious argument.
Facts: Yacht retailer sued owner for balance due for certain customization as to the purchase of a ship. Counsel for plaintiff filed a complaint in admiralty and the ship was arrested.
Reasoning: It is well established that a contract for the construction of a vessel does not invoke the admiralty jurisdiction of the federal courts. Bright-line: Until the ship is launched, admiralty jurisdiction does not exist. The law was very clear on this matter, even if the term customization is not used in the case law. Since no meritorious argument is available, attorney must either refrain or make a good-faith argument for the extension or modification of existing legal principles. 
C.     Wright v. Williams
Held: Attorney is not subject to malpractice liability.
Facts: Plaintiffs desired a ship to operate a skin diving business. Retained an attorney to assist with the purchase, however did not mention that the ship was for a business venture. Purchase was consummated and plaintiffs were soon cited for violation of statute; this ship was not appropriate for a business venture.

fferent states and foreign nation that is subject to all of the incidents and hazards that attend commerce at sea. (3) It would violate the premise of the Union to provide the benefit of admiralty jurisdiction solely to Atlantic states. (4) There is nothing peculiar about the ebb and flow of the tide that makes the ocean more or less suitable to admiralty jurisdiction.
2.      Rule: Navigable water must be used for, or capable or susceptible of, interstate commerce; speculation that interstate commerce may be possible is not sufficient to confer admiralty jurisdiction.
The Daniel Ball: A river is navigable where the river is a public waterway that is navigable in fact. Navigable in fact means that the river is used, or susceptible to being used, as a highway for interstate or foreign commerce.
Adams v. Montana Power: A river between two dams in a single state is not navigable in fact if only used by noncommercial fishermen, boaters, water skiers, and pleasure boaters.
Finneseth v. Carter: An artificial body of water, such as a man-made lake, is navigable if it is used, or is capable or susceptible of being used, as in interstate highway of commerce over which trade or travel is or may be conducted in customary modes of travel on water.