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University of Mississippi School of Law
Mclaughlin, Stephanie

I)                   Admiralty Jurisdiction
A)           History
1)             There is an ancient body of general maritime law that has been traced from the Roman empire
2)             General maritime law is internationally accepted by all seafaring nations
3)             In the Articles of Confederation, power over maritime courts was given to the states
4)             Developments in common law courts made them distinct from admiralty courts
5)             In the Constitution, admiralty power was taken away from state cts and fed’l cts were give jdn over maritime matters. The purpose of this was to unify and regularize admiralty law.
B)            Formulations of Admiralty Jdn
1)             From Tidewaters to Navigable Waters
(a)                Admiralty jdn extends to all maritime Ks, torts, injuries and offenses on the thigh seas, ports and havens of navigable waters
(b)               The Genesee Chief (1851): extended admiralty jdn from “tidewaters” to lakes and the navigable waters connecting them, or public water used for commercial or foreign trade
(c)                Once the waters were determined to be navigable in commerce, the question was whether the occurrence took place on those waters or on land
(d)               Test is different for torts than for Ks
2)             Maritime Torts: The Locality Test
(a)                The Plymouth (1866)
(i)                 a ship caught fire while it was anchored in a wharf in navigable waters; the fire damaged some shops at the wharf
(ii)               locality rule: look to where the injury was consummated
(iii)             to be w/in admiralty jdn, injury must have been wholly consummated on navigable waters
(iv)             here, the fire dmg was on land, not water, so no admiralty jdn
(b)               Consummation of a tort occurs when the last act necessary to give rise to a COA takes place
(i)                 an intentional tort is complete when the act is done
(ii)               negligence occurs when the dmg has been sustained
(c)                Injury to an extension of land
(i)                 generally not admiralty jdn
(ii)               exception: injury to an aid to navigation that is only tied to land through a connection at the bottom of the water is w/in admiralty jdn
(d)               Fed’l Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (1927):
(i)                 created a worker’s comp program for those employees who worked around the waterfront
(ii)               these employees were not technically seamen or sailors but did basically the same types of work
(e)                Benson (1932)
(i)                 challenged the constitutionality of the Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers’ Act
(ii)               held that, under the Constitution, Congress unequivocally has the authority to expand admiralty jdn
(f)                Admiralty Extension Act (1948)
(i)                 overturns Plymouth rule
(ii)               extends admiralty jdn to all dmgs caused by vessels on navigable waters, even if the dmg occurs on land
(iii)             the key is “caused by”
*                  this can simply mean that the negligence occurred on board
*                  there is still the traditional proximate cause test: something that happened on the shore is more likely to give rise to admiralty jdn than something that occurs several miles inland
(iv)             don’t forget: is it a vessel? a vessel is a floating structure capable of transporting something over the water
(g)                Matson (1953)
(i)                 challenged the constitutionality of the Admiralty Extension Act
(ii)               Ct said the Act was constitutionally permissible
(h)               The outer edges of the Admiralty Extension Act are fuzzy
(i)                 Gutierrez (1963): longshoreman slipped on some loose beans that spilled from off-loaded bags and onto the dock: admiralty jdn?
*                  yes, b/c the beans were cargo off-loaded from a ship
*                  based entirely on the Admiralty Extension Act
(ii)               Victory Carriers (1971): π hurt by forklift that was being loaded onto the boat: admiralty jdn?
*                  no, b/c the cargo hadn’t been loaded onto the vessel yet, so it hadn’t been on navigable water
*                  the equipment was land-based, e.g. stored on land; if it had been stored on the boat, probably would have been under admiralty jdn
(iii)             Ship-to-shore cases use the Admiralty Extension Act to get jdn
(iv)             Shore-to-ship cases typically have an injury occurring on navigable waters, so they fall under traditional admiralty jdn and don’t need the Act
3)             Maritime Contracts: The “Maritime Subject Matter” test:
(a)                rule: the nature and subject matter of the K, not the place of its making or performance, determines whether it is a maritime K and thus subject to admiralty jdn
(b)               Dunham (1871)
(i)                 maritime insurance Ks fall w/in admiralty jdn, even if the K is executed and performed on land
(ii)               policy: maritime Ks arise from and are governed by maritime law and deal with all kinds of issues unique to admiralty
(c)                North Pacific S.S Co. v. Hall Bros. Marine Ry. & Shipbuilding Co. (1919)
(i)                 K for repair of ship, owners argue no admiralty jdn b/c ship was in dry dock while repairs were being made
(ii)               Ct said admiralty jdn applied b/c the ship was already built and had been in the water; however, admiralty jdn would not apply to K for shipbuilding b/c ship hasn’t become a ship yet
(iii)             rule: when a vessel reaches a stage that it is fit to carry out its intended function, it enters admiralty jdn
(iv)             note: a K for the sale of a ship would not be under admiralty jdn
(v)               policy for distinction btwn building and repair: almost all admiralty rules are intended to allow an ongoing marine operation to continue to operate
(d)               Mixed Contracts
(i)                 General rule: mixed Ks are not w/in admiralty jdn unless they are wholly maritime
*                  cts determine the primary or principal purpose of the K
*                  if this purpose is maritime, that is, to promote maritime industry, then the K is treated as wholly maritime despite its non-maritime elements
(ii)               Ks which are NOT maritime:
*                  contracts for ship sales
*                  partition actions
(iii)             Ks which ARE maritime:
*                  ship mortgages
*                  charter agreements
*                  leases of containers
*                  Ks for acquisition of components
*                  employment Ks
(e)                The Thomas Barlum (1934)
(i)                 challenged constitutionality of Ship Mortgage Act of 1920, which gave admiralty cts jdn over disputes involving ship mortgages
(ii)               Ct said Congress’ actions were constitutional
(f)                The history of maritime K law is marked by the struggle btwn traditional English rules and modern policy goals of establishing uniform rules and helping maritime commerce to be as efficient as possible
4)             Significant Relationship to Traditional Maritime Activity
(a)                Executive Jet (1972)
(i)                 plane’s takeoff thwarted by seagulls on runway; crashed and sank in navigable waters
(ii)               Ct said locality-only test not sufficient for torts to come under admiralty jdn
(iii)             Additional requirement: wrong must bear a “significant relationship to traditional maritime activity” (AKA “maritime nexus” requirement)
(iv)             holding: no admiralty jdn over domestic flights by land-based aircraft
(v)               if the “vessel” in question is at least a substitute for a traditional vessel, it will probably satisfy the maritime nexus requirement
(b)               Foremost

is navigable in fact”
*                  “water is navigable in fact when it is used, or is susceptible of being used, in its ordinary condition, as a highway for commerce, over which trade and travel are or may be conducted in the customary modes of trade and travel on water.”
(iii)             ct says purely intrastate commerce is insufficient to meet the Daniel Ball test
(f)                Central Gulf Lines (1991)
(i)                 is there admiralty jdn over agency Ks?
(ii)               agent v. seller
*                  an agent is intended to get a resource when one is not readily available
*                  a seller is one who provides a resource from his/her own stock
(iii)             Cts look to the subject matter of an agency K and determine whether the services to be performed are maritime in nature
6)             Supplemental Admiralty Jdn
(a)                When the core claim qualifies for admiralty jdn, the supplemental claims may also be raised in admiralty ct
(b)               for cases with juries, the case is decided by special interrogatories, leaving the judge to prevent overlapping dmg amts in composing the jmt
(c)                The std is the same as in any federal case
(i)                 the facts underlying the claims must be identical
(ii)               there must also be some desirable reason for the claims to be heard together
(d)               The applicable procedure is that which is used in that particular ct for other claims
(i)                 however, if there is an admiralty principle that is an integral part of the substantive maritime right, the rule must be applied when the claim is processed in other cts
C)            Relief in Admiralty Cases: judges have the ability to give money jmts and limited equitable relief
1)             Unjust Enrichment: Archawski v. Hanioti (1956)
(a)                A ct that prevents a maritime K from being exploited by unjust enrichment does not reach beyond the domain of maritime affairs
(b)               Thus, as long as the claim arises out of a maritime K, the admiralty ct has jdn
2)             Punitive Dmgs
(a)                have been awarded in admiralty for many years, so it is not a question of whether cts can award them but whether it is appropriate to award them under the circumstances
(b)               may not be awarded in admiralty for personal injury or wrongful death claims
(c)                are awarded for ppty loss under stringent scrutiny
(d)               there must be seriously wrongful conduct for punitive dmgs to be granted
3)             Interest
(a)                National Gypsum (1995)
(i)                 general rule is that prejudgment interest should be awarded in maritime cases, subject to a ltd exception for “peculiar” or “exceptional” circumstances
(ii)               reason: ensure that an injured party is fully compensated for its loss, helps achieve goal of restoring party to condition it enjoyed before the injury
(iii)             neither good-faith dispute over liability nor mutual fault justifies denial of prejudgment interest
(b)               Congress has enacted a statute for post-judgment interest (28 U.S.C. § 1961)