Areas of Practice
Admiralty & Maritime Law
The trial lawyers at the maritime law firm of Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., have extensive experience litigating admiralty and maritime issues. In addition to domestic maritime litigation matters, our maritime lawyers have international experience against major cruise lines and other defendants. At most any time, Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. is handling cases against most major cruise lines and is representing injured persons from many different countries around the world.
Maritime and admiralty law, for the most part, encompass the laws which apply to accidents or incidents that occur on navigable waters . Navigable waters generally include the oceans of the world as well as large lakes or rivers that can be used for commercial shipping. These waters are divided into territorial waters and the high seas. Territorial waters are close to land and are legally distinguished from the high seas. High seas are those waters that are further away from land, past territorial waters. There is no hard and fast rule for determining territorial waters. Some states’ territorial waters extend three miles from land while the boundaries of territorial waters in other states may be dynamic and, thus, more difficult to determine. In Florida, for example, the boundary between territorial waters and the high seas are determined by the ever-moving Gulf Stream. Maritime and admiralty law governs matters affecting maritime activities – even when the activities may be entirely land-based or do not contain an immediately apparent connection to marine commerce. The federal and international courts have original jurisdiction over maritime law; however, in many cases, state courts also have jurisdiction over many maritime matters. Often, however, cruise lines require injured cruise passengers to file lawsuits in Federal Court within a particular jurisdiction. Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. are usually very familiar with the cruise lines’ passenger ticket contract provisions which dictate where lawsuits must be filed.
Our maritime law firm handles all types of injury casesthat occur on navigable waters ; such as incidents involving recreational boats, cargo vessels, and cruise ships – as well as accidents that occur on land during the course of maritime travel, such as injuries occurring while on a shore excursion during a cruise.
Legal rights and responsibilities of ships and ship crews are codified in very specialized laws and involve very complicated legal issues such as jurisdiction, international treaties, and maritime standards. As such, it is very important for someone who has been injured in connection with a cruise or on a boat to consult with an experienced maritime law firm which understands these complicated laws. The lawyers at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. include a Florida Bar Board Certified Admiralty & Maritime Specialist as well as lawyers with nearly 100 years combined experience handling maritime cases.
A Maritime Law Firm with High Profile Experience
Because of the unique nature of admiralty and maritime law, our cruise ship lawyers have been involved in litigation against many of the major cruise lines in the United States as well as internationally. We have handled cases in Florida State and Federal Courts as well as in courts in many other states. Additionally, we have served as lead counsel in foreign litigation where we have selected and worked alongside a maritime law firm from the foreign country. Further, we have handled arbitrations both within the United States and internationally.
The admiralty lawyers of our maritime law firm have been involved in major litigation arising in foreign and domestic ports. For example:
- Our cruise ship lawyers have handled cases against: Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Costa Cruise Lines, MSC Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Line, Disney Cruise Line, Seabourn, Viking River Cruises, and Silversea Cruises
- Our maritime lawyers were involved in the litigation that followed the sinking of the largest drilling ship in the world, Ocean Ranger, near Canada in 1981.
- Our lawyers represented victims of the July 1998 fire aboard the Carnival cruise ship Ecstasy near Miami, Florida, caused by unauthorized welding by crew members in the main laundry.
Our cruise ship lawyers have also brought claims against the United States of America as the owner of vessels under the Suits in Admiralty Act, the Public Vessels Act and related laws. We have initiated and handled litigation against various foreign governments, including the Bahamas and Iran. For example:
- The Bahamian government was sued when of one of its gunboats attacked a United States registered fishing boat, severely injuring a crew member when he was shot in the exchange.
- Iran was sued for launching a Silkworm anti-ship missile against a U.S. flagged vessel in the Persian Gulf waters near Kuwait, causing severe injuries to a crew member from the explosion.