Our Landmark Cases
Members of the maritime law firm of Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. have successfully presented and argued a number of landmark cases. Most of them are in the area of admiralty and maritime law and deal with claims by passengers or seafarers.
What is a Landmark Case?
A landmark case or court decision is one in which new precedents are established, a new or substantially new legal principle is introduced or the law itself is substantively changed. Such a decision may signal the start of a shift in the law that can have broad and significant impact on future cases.
Handling a landmark case is challenging for cruise ship lawyers because it represents an attempt to “make new law” or to change existing laws. Courts are not legislative bodies and do not favor changing established trends or interpretations of the law. Courts are bound by a legal principle called, “stare decisis,” which is Latin for “to let the decision stand.” Judges are obliged to respect the precedent, or the legal message, of prior decisions.
Landmark case decisions are extremely rare and most law firms are lucky to have been involved in even one landmark case. They primarily occur at high level courts of appeals when appeals of legal matters from lower courts have reached conflicting or inconsistent conclusions. Landmark cases are rare in maritime law, because this area of the law is well-established and derives its roots in the English common law of the sea. Many principles or maritime law have been established for hundreds of years.
Representative landmark cases handled by our cruise lawyers include:
- First Asbestos Trial Against Cruise Line Yields $3.6 Million Awarded to Estate of Shipboard Electrician
- Cruise Lines Held Liable to Passenger for the Negligence of Ship’s Doctor, Even Though Doctor is an Independent Contractor
- Casenote on Carlise v. Canival – cruise passenger Carlise was the first or one of the first cruise passengers to have a sucessful medical malpractice claim against a cruise line.
- Supreme Court rules that seaman can recover punitive damages in admiralty for maintenance and cure situations.
- Seafarer Injured in Separate Accident on Land While Getting Maintenance and Cure From the Shipowner or Employer Was Entitled to Received Continued Maintenance and Cure for the Separate Accident
- State Medical Malpractice Presuit Procedures Did Not Apply to Claim of Medical Negligence by Passenger Against Doctor and Nurse on Cruise Line Vessel
- Federal Court Rules Seafarers who Become Sick or Injured While Working on a Ship are Entitled to Lost Tips as Part of Their Sick Wages Under Maintenance and Cure
- Seaman had Retalitory Discharge Claim Against Vessel Owner by Reason of Being Fired for Refusing to Lie Under Oath for the Shipping Company
- Physician with Staff Priveleges had Claim Against Hospital for Tortious Interference, Breach of Contract and Good Faith Claims Where Hospital Interfered with Patient Referrals
- Seaman Did Not Need an Expert Witness at Trial
- Even Though Seaman Settled Injury Claim Prior to His Death, His Family Could Make a Second Recovery for the Same Accident
- Error to Allow Proof of Receipt of Workers Compensation Benefits into Evidence at Trial
- Error in Medical Negligence Case to not Allow Interrogatories Regarding Textbooks Regarded as Authoritative by Defendant Physician
- First Class Action in Admiralty Allowed