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Maritime Law
University of California, Hastings School of Law
Birnberg, Cory A.

 
Maritime Law – Spring 2014 – Birnberg
 
I. Admiralty Jxd and Procedure
A. History: (NS 1-7)
1.      M one of the world's oldest bodies of law. Early coastal ct developed codes ex. The Rules of Oleron and from these codes developed body of gen M law. This can differ from Am law.
 
B. Development of American Admiralty Law:
1.      Constitution: Art. III §2 cl. 3 extends judicial power to the fed sovereign to “all cases of admiralty and maritime jxd.” (A&M)
2.      Judiciary Act of 1789: cgs act that confers on fed cts the power to hear M cases. The SC has interpreted the “admiralty and maritime jxd” clause as conferring on fed two sep powers:
a.       Procedural: the power to determine what cts will hear M cases, and
b.      Substantive: the power to prescribe the substantive law governing disposal of those cases.
3.      Implementation of Article III: Art. 3 just confers judicial power, it was implemented through the Judiciary Act above and the SC in Romero summarized the scope of the power delegated to the fed sovereign:
a.       Article 3 contains 3 sep grants of power:
                                                  i.      Empowered cgs to confer A&M jxd on “tribunals inferior to the SC”
                                                ii.      Empowered fed cts in their exercise of A&M jxd to draw on the substantive law “inherent in the A&M jxd” (Crowell) and to continue development of this law w/in const limits.
                                              iii.      Empowered cgs to revise and supplement M law w/in the limits of the const.
 
B. Navigable Waters (NS 19-26)
1.      Fed Admiralty CL: cgs has made few substantive rules governing A&M cases so fed cts have made fed admiralty CL. Some by SC but most by lower fed cts. Cts have had to formulate what comes w/in their A&M jxd.
a.       Scope of Admiralty Jxd: extends to all “navigable waters” including many inland rivers and lakes.
2.      Definition of Navigable Waters: jxd extends not only to events on high seas or territorial seas but also to inland waterways that are navigable.
a.       Bodies of water that are navigable in fact which means waters that are used or are capable of being used as waterborne highways for commerce, i.e. those sustaining or capable of sustaining the transpo of goods or passengers by watercraft. The bodies of water must form in their ordinary condition by themselves, or by uniting w/ other waters, a continued hwy over which commerce is or may be carried on w/ other states or foreign countries in the customary modes in which such commerce is conducted by water. (The Daniel Ball)
                                                  i.      Core notion: “use” as a “highway of commerce.”
1.      Use: in use or susceptible of use for MC. Former navigability may be enough.
2.      Hwy: must be capable of serving as hwy b/t 2 or more states or b/t state and foreign co. Excludes landlocked lakes located in only one state but not those that empty into ocean, great lake or gulf.  
3.      Commerce: capable of use for transpo of goods or passengers.
                                                ii.      Seasonal navigability: the fact that a body of water is not navigable in fact during part of the year does not defeat admiralty jxd. (Wilder).
                                              iii.      Navigability in fact: if you have a waterway that was once navigable and spans two states it is still susceptible of being navigable. (Class).
b.      Generally inland waterway of US is navigable if:
                                                  i.      Capable of supporting M commerce;
                                                ii.      It runs through two states or empties into the sea; and
                                              iii.      It is presently sustaining commerce (use).
                                              iv.      Note: sufficient if link in hwy of IC.
                                                v.      Result: if body of water (sustaining MC) runs into another body (sustaining MC) which runs b/t two states = admir. Jxd.
 
C. Indicia Of Jxd (under Maritime Torts in Book – Chpt. 2 in NS).
1.      Vessels: (see more under JA)
a.       Class Def: something that moves on water
b.      SC Def: all navigable structures intended for transportation.
c.       Floating structure capable of transporting something over water.
d.      5th Test: look to purpose for which the craft is constructed and the business in which it is engaged. (Blanchard). Other cts suggest whether structure is subjected to “perils of the sea. ”
e.       Power: vessel not required to have its own power.
                                                  i.      Drilling barges and rigs, which can be moved, are vessels but drilling platforms are not à “islands”.
                                                ii.      Jet skis may be vessels.
f.       Dead ship: vessel permanently w/drawn from navigation. Ship in for repairs may still be vessel; look to facts.
g.      Appurtenances: all appurtenances of the vessel are part of the vessel.
2.      Admiralty Jxd (in Tort): Locus and Nexus: (Same test as M Torts)
a.       Party seeking M jxd must satisfy two req's:
                                                  i.      Maritime location: show either that tort occurred on navigable waters or injx/damage on land was caused by vessel in navigable waters.
                                                ii.      Maritime nexus: tort bore some relationship to traditional maritime activity. (Executive Jet – locus not enough need to have maritime connection).
b.      Two things req'd for Maritime Jxd:
                                                  i.      Nexus and Locality: locus and connection w/ maritime activity.
3.      Maritime Flavor:
a.       Idea: In most M tort cases, jxd can rest in whole or in part on finding that case has “maritime flavor” Ct must determine if there is sufficient maritime flavor to justify exercise of jxd.
b.      No real def but things to look for:
                                                  i.      Usually MF in events and transactions which are major concerns of the shipping industry.
                                                ii.      Some perceived need for uniform national rule.
 
D. Jxd Over Maritime Torts: (NS 32-45, Sum 38-45)
1.      Old Rule: locality alone w

maritime flavor here as well.
a.       K to charter vessel is MK.
b.      K to purchase vessel NOT MK.
c.       Can have an oral K in maritime law (but not over sale). (Kossick – oral K for care that would have been invalid under state law SOF OK under maritime law b/c sufficiently related to maritime concerns.)
d.      Oral K to repair is maritime K.
e.       K to provide services to movable oil rig maritime K. On oil platform NO.
f.       K for insurance on vessel is maritime K. (Insurance v. Dunham).
g.      Stevedoring K w/ vessel is maritime K.
h.      K for repair it maritime K. (Pacific Steamship – essential character of services was maritime even if repairs in dry dock)
i.        K for lease of containers is maritime K. Lease of cargo containers for use on a ship is a maritime K (rat: modern substitute for a hold, functionally part of the ship).
j.        K for passengers YES but Cargo No.
k.      Executory K's can be maritime. (Terminal Shipping)
5.      Agency K's: There is no per se rule against agency K's from MJ, look to the “subject matter of the K to see if services performed under it are maritime in nature.” (Exxon)
6.      Mixed K's: To support admiralty jxd in breach of K action, the underlying K must ordinarily be a maritime K. 2 exceptions: (Didn't discuss).
a.       Character of K is primarily maritime and other is incidental à admiralty jxd.
b.      If K is mixed w/ maritime and non-maritime aspects—maritime jxd exists if they can be separated w/out prejudice. (Kuehne).
 
F. Federalism and Admiralty Jxd (NS 10-14)
1.      Judiciary and Judicial Procedure: Pleadings and Motions (NS 354- )
a.       § 1333. Admiralty, Maritime and Prize Cases:
                                              iv.      The dist cts shall have original jxd, exclusive of the States of:
1.      any civil case of admiralty or maritime jxd, saving to suitors all other remedies to which they are otherwise entitled.
2.      Any prize brought into the US and all proceedings for the condemnation of property taken as prize. 
                                                v.      No Jury Trial Right: when jxd of fed ct is premised solely on § 1333 jury trial is not available. Applies when matter brought in as admiralty claim (i.e. fed ct is exercising jxd only by virtue of admiralty power).
                                              vi.      “Law Claim”: if there is some other basis for fed jxd may be entitled to jury trial i.e. a “law claim”.  (Romero – one at law claim is enough to bring all claims to jury.)