Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Eleventh Circuit On Admiralty Jurisdiction

In Jameson Cooper v. Meridian Yachts, Ltd. (08-13830), the Eleventh Circuit issued a 57 page opinion relating to admiralty law and the claims of an employee injured at sea. The opinion goes into great detail on a number of issues, however, the discussion relating to choice of law:
It is clear that this court's jurisdiction lies in admiralty. Tri-State Oil Tools Indus., Inc. v. Delta Marine Drilling Co., 410 F.2d 178, 186 (5th Cir. 1969); see also Casino Cruises Inv. Co., L.C. v. Ravens Mfg. Co., 60 F. Supp. 2d 1285, 1288 (M.D. Fla. 1999) ("It is well-established that a noncontractual indemnity or contribution action, such as the one in this case, is within the scope of the federal courts' admiralty jurisdiction where the action is derived from an underlying maritime tort."). As this case lies in admiralty, federal maritime conflict of laws control. F.W.F., Inc. v. Detroit Diesel Corp., 494 F. Supp. 2d 1342, 1352 (S.D. Fla. 2007) ("[A] federal court sitting in admiralty must apply federal maritime choice-of-law rules." (quoting Aqua-Marine Constructors, Inc. v. Banks, 110 F.3d 663, 670 (9th Cir. 1997))). Furthermore, we review choice of law questions de novo. AIG Baker Sterling Heights, LLC v. Am. Multi-Cinema, Inc., 508 F.3d 995, 999 (11th Cir. 2007).


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