FEDERAL MARITIME LAW GOVERNS LIABILITY WHILE STATE LAW GOVERNS DAMAGES.
LUCIEN B. CALHOUN; ROBIN L. CALHOUN, individually and as Administrators of the Estate of Natalie K. Calhoun, deceased v. * YAMAHA MOTOR CORPORATION, U.S.A.; YAMAHA MOTOR CO.
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT
216 F.3d 338; 2000 U.S. App. LEXIS 14479
November 4, 1999, Argued
June 23, 2000, Filed
An earlier appeal in this matter, the United States Supreme Court held that Lucien and Robin Calhoun (“the Calhouns”) may assert a cause of action based upon a state wrongful death or survival statute to obtain relief for the death of a non-seaman killed in United States territorial waters. See Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A. v. Calhoun, 516 U.S. 199, 216, 133 L. Ed. 2d 578, 116 S. Ct. 619 (1996). We are now asked to resolve some of the problems [*2] arising from the Supreme Court’s holding — problems that the Court itself recognized — by ruling upon two distinct questions that the Court expressly declined to decide.
In particular, we must determine (1) which state’s law governs the type of damages available, and (2) whether state or federal law governs the standards by which the liability of appellees Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. and Yamaha Motor Company, Ltd. will be defined. As a result, this appeal concerns the extent to which state law may co-exist in the admiralty arena that historically has been the exclusive domain of federal legislative and regulatory entities.
With regard to damages, the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania held that the law of Pennsylvania would govern the issue of compensatory damages and that the law of Puerto Rico would govern that of punitive damages. The District Court further held that the law of Puerto Rico would govern the issue [*3] of Yamaha’s liability. We will affirm in part and reverse in part, affirming the District Court’s holding with respect to damages (both compensatory and punitive), yet reversing the District Court’s disposition concerning liability, holding instead that federal maritime law must govern the standards by which Yamaha’s liability will be evaluated.
PASSENGERS ON VESSEL INVOLVED IN COLLISION NOT ENTITLED TO DAMAGES UNDER STATE LAW.
IN RE: DIAMOND B MARINE SERVICES, INC., AS OWNER/OPERATOR OF THE C/B MISS BERNICE PRAYING FOR EXONERATION FROM OR LIMITATION OF LIABILITY REGARDING THE COLLISION OF MARCH 25, 1999
CIVIL ACTION NO. 99-951 c/w 99-984 & 1346 SECTION “N”
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9047
June 21, 2000, Decided
In granting Trico’s and Diamond [*6] B’s Joint Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, Judge Schwartz again answered the question in the negative. Specifically, Judge Schwartz ruled that the passenger claimants’ family members could not recover on any of their claims, “since they are nonpecuniary in nature and[,] thus, not recoverable under the general maritime law.” In explaining his reasons for this decision, Judge Schwartz expressly incorporated the analysis set forth in his February 23, 2000 ruling. In addition, Judge Schwartz rejected the family members’ argument that, under Yamaha Motor Corp. v. Calhoun, 516 U.S. 199, 116 S. Ct. 619, 133 L. Ed. 2d 578 (1996), general maritime law does not provide exclusive remedies in this case, which involves non-seamen. In Yamaha, the Supreme Court held that state remedies remain applicable in wrongful death and survival actions arising from accidents to nonseamen in territorial waters. However, “quite unlike Yamaha,” which was a “wrongful death/product liability case involving wrongful death on account of a recreational jet ski accident in territorial waters,” Judge Schwartz noted that the case at bar “involves the personal injury claims of passengers [*7] aboard a commercial vessel as the result of a head-on collision with another commercial vessel in navigable waters.” In a case such as this one, “pure unadulterated federal maritime law governs . . .,” and, therefore, Judge Schwartz ruled that the uniformity principle dictates that the family members cannot recover non-pecuniary damages.
In light of Judge Schwartz’s previous rulings, the Court finds that Ms. Bennett’s claims for non-pecuniary damages must be dismissed. The Court finds that Judge Schwartz’s previous rulings were correct, that there has been no change in controlling law since those rulings, and that no facts warrant different treatment for Ms. Bennett’s claims. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that Trico’s and Diamond B’s Joint Motion to Dismiss Claims of Jeannie Marie Bennett Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) is GRANTED.
CRUISE LINE PASSENGERS ENTITLED TO PUNITIVE DAMAGES IN ADMIRALTY.
In re: HORIZON CRUISES LITIGATION. In re: LITIGATION JOINT DISCOVERY M/V HORIZON LEGIONNAIRES DISEASE. CELEBRITY CRUISES INC., and FANTASIA CRUISING INC., Plaintiffs, – against – ESSEF CORP., PAC-FAB, INC., and STRUCTURAL EUROPE N.V. (f/n/a SFC), Defendants.
Master File 94 Civ. 5270 (BSJ)(JCF), 94 Civ. 6147 (BSJ) (JCF), 95 Civ. 0374 (BSJ) (JCF), 96 Civ. 3135 (BSJ) (JCF)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
101 F. Supp. 2d 204; 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7246
May 25, 2000, Decided
May 25, 2000, Filed
Defendants motion to strike claims for punitive damages asserted against them denied. Plaintiffs’ motions to amend granted, respective complaints amended to include claims for punitive damages.
In July 1994, passengers on a pleasure cruise aboard the M/V Horizon contracted Legionnaires’ Disease, a potentially serious or even fatal form of pneumonia, as the vessel was sailing between New York and Bermuda. Many of the victims (the “Passenger Plaintiffs”) subsequently sued Celebrity Cruises, Inc. and Fantasia Cruising, Inc. (collectively, “Celebrity”), [*7] the owners and operators of the Horizon. They asserted claims of negligence, fraud, and breach of contract.
Although the Essef defendants, and, to some extent, Celebrity, [*19] have thus prevailed in their contention that general maritime law applies to the claims now at issue, their victory is a Pyrrhic one. That is because, contrary to the second prong of their argument, punitive damages are available in admiralty cases. n2.
These conclusions undoubtedly create anomalies. A Jones Act seaman would be denied exemplary damages that a nonseaman might receive on the basis of the same conduct. See Adler v. Royal Cruise Line, Ltd., 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22528, No. C 95-1304, 1996 WL 438799, at *9 (N.D. Cal. March 20, 1996). Likewise, a tortfeasor might be subject to punitive damages where the victim is injured but not where he dies. See Chan v. Society Expeditions, Inc., 39 F.3d 1398, 1408 (9th Cir. 1994). But these anomalies are an artifact of the interaction between general maritime law and the succession of specific congressional enactments. Their existence does not justify using legislation intended to expand remedies for [*35] one set of plaintiffs as a means for contracting remedies otherwise available to a different group of plaintiffs whose circumstances have not been addressed by Congress. Yamaha now makes it clear that principles of uniformity do not reach so broadly. Therefore, the punitive damages claims previously pled will not be stricken.
SEAMAN PLAINTIFF NOT ENTITLED TO PREJUDGMENT INTEREST WHERE RESPONSIBLE FOR DELAY IN PROCEEDINGS.
MICHAEL T. WILBURN, Plaintiff, v. MARITRANS G.P., INC., Defendant.
CIVIL ACTION NO. 95-2806 SECTION “T” (4)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3
January 3, 2000, Decided
On November 12, 1999, a jury awarded Plaintiff Michael T. Wilburn damages of $400,000.00 for pain and suffering as a result of injuries he sustained when he was swept off the deck of the tug, the Enterprise, by a huge wave during a storm. n1 Now pending before this Court is Plaintiff’s Motion to Amend Judgment. Plaintiff requests that prejudgment interest be awarded at the rate established by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 238(a)(3) or, in the alternative, at the rate established by 28 U.S.C. § 1961.
After this Court charged the jury on the applicable law, additional case citations provided to this Court by Plaintiff’s counsel revealed that, in maritime cases, the grant or denial of prejudgment interest is an issue for the jury. See, e.g., Carey v. Bahama Cruise Lines, 864 F.2d 201, 208 n.6 (1st Cir. 1988); Petersen v. Chesapeake & Ohio Ry. Co., 784 F.2d 732, 740 (6th Cir. 1986).
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has recognized the following three situations in which a court may refuse to grant a party prejudgment interest: (1) when a party has unreasonably delayed the prosecution of its claim, (2) when a party has made a bad faith estimate of its damages that precludes settlement, or (3) when a party has not sustained any actual damages. Id. If any of the above circumstances are present, the court has the discretion [*4] to deny prejudgment interest.
However, as shown above, there are exceptional circumstances here in the form of unreasonable delays in bringing this case to trial which are directly attributable to Plaintiff. Indeed, Plaintiff’s delay in filing suit as well as Plaintiff’s conduct during the discovery process provide this Court with ample justification for denying Plaintiff prejudgment interest in this case. See Jones v. Spentonbush-Red Star Co., 155 F.3d 587, 593-94 (2d Cir. 1998).
STATE CRIMINAL LAWS APPLY TO CRIME ON CRUISE LINE COMMITTED BEYOND STATE TERRITORIAL WATERS.
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellant, v. MATTHEW STEPANSKY, Appellee.
SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA
2000 Fla. LEXIS 769; 25 Fla. Law W. S 297
April 20, 2000, Decided
Matthew Stepansky, a United States citizen, was charged in Brevard County, Florida with burglary and attempted sexual battery of a thirteen-year-old American citizen that allegedly occurred on board a cruise ship, the M/V Atlantic. The cruise ship departed from and returned [*3] to Port Canaveral, which is located in Brevard County. At the time of the alleged crime, the cruise ship was approximately 100 nautical miles n2 from the Atlantic coastline of Florida. Stepansky and the complainant are both United States citizens but neither one is a Florida resident. The M/V Atlantic is registered in Liberia but owned by Premier Cruise Lines, Ltd. of the British West Indies. Neither the federal government, n3 any other state, nor the flag state n4 has attempted to prosecute this crime.
Stepansky moved to dismiss the charge on the grounds that the State lacked jurisdiction because the crime occurred outside the territorial jurisdiction of Florida and because the prosecution was precluded by the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution. In response, the State argued that Florida state courts have jurisdiction over this crime under section 910.006(3)(d) because the majority of the paying passengers on the cruise ship had embarked and intended to disembark in Florida.
We conclude that the structure of section 910.006 ensures that it will not violate the constitution, that it will not conflict with the exercise of jurisdiction by federal courts, and that it will not interfere with the uniform working of the maritime legal system. See Pacific Merchant Shipping Ass’n, 918 F.2d at 1422. Section 910.006 provides that the State is not authorized to prosecute a crime under this statute unless federal law “prohibits substantially the same act or omission.” § 910.006(4). Further, pursuant to section 910.006(4),[OXO] “No person shall be tried under this section if that person has been tried in good faith for substantially the same act or omission.” Similarly, section 910.006(5)(a)1. [OXO]specifies: “This section [*21] is not intended to assert priority over or otherwise interfere with the exercise of criminal jurisdiction by the United States, the flag state, or the state in whose territory an act or omission occurs.”
Accordingly, section 910.006 makes clear that[OXO] the State will not exercise jurisdiction[OXO] if the federal government, the foreign flag state, or the state in whose territory the act occurs prosecutes the defendant. Therefore, under Tenth Amendment federalism principles, the State’s exercise of jurisdiction in this case is not preempted by federal law. See Skiriotes, 313 U.S. at 74-75; Pacific Merchant Shipping Ass’n, 918 F.2d at 1422.
Because neither the United States, any other state, nor the flag state has attempted to prosecute these crimes, Florida may prosecute Stepansky for burglary and attempted sexual battery in accordance with Florida’s narrowly drawn statutory scheme. In this case, if the State were precluded from prosecuting Stepansky, this crime could go unpunished. We find that the prosecution by the State of Florida under these narrow circumstances is a reasonable application of the effects doctrine.
In conclusion, individual states have been accorded wide latitude, by the United States Constitution, the Supreme Court and pertinent federal legislation, to assert concurrent jurisdiction over maritime criminal matters extending beyond the State’s territorial limits. Just as the federal government has the authority to prosecute crimes under these circumstances without offending international law, basic principles [*28] of federalism allow the states to prosecute under the effects doctrine when there is no conflict with federal law and the exercise of jurisdiction is reasonable. Section 910.006(3)(d) is of limited scope and designed to take effect only when neither the flag state nor the United States government acts in a particular case. Accordingly, we find that section 910.006(3)(d) is constitutional as applied.
APPORTIONMENT OF FAULT UNDER ADMIRALTY LAW APPLIES TO CRUISE LINE CLAIM FOR INDEMNITY WITH RESPECT TO BAD MEDICAL CARE AGAINST PHYSICIAN.
MARVIN L. MEITUS, M.D.; NEIL S. SCHNEIDER, M.D.; and DRS. MEITUS & SCHNEIDER, P.A., Appellants, vs. CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES, INC., Appellee.
CASE NO. 3D99-1957
COURT OF APPEAL OF FLORIDA, THIRD DISTRICT
2000 Fla. App. LEXIS 10157
August 9, 2000, Opinion Filed
In 1983, Carnival entered into a contract with Dr. Meitus, Dr. Schneider, [*2] and the PA whereby the doctors became the medical directors of Carnival and agreed to provide the necessary care to Carnival crew members. This agreement provided that the doctors would “review and coordinate the physical examination as to employment of each crew member,” and would “tend to crew members on the ships with medical conditions.” The doctors’ responsibilities included: a) reviewing the recommendations of the ship doctor with respect to the crew member medical condition; b) ascertaining if the crew member is fit for continued employment or whether the crew member should be placed in the hospital in Miami or treated as an outpatient; c) being the attending physician, or obtaining a specialist, if necessary; d) notifying the appropriate Carnival representative that the crew member must sign off the ship due to medical conditions; e)in the event of a “sign off’, preparing a letter for the U.S. Immigration Department; f) estimating the time for treatment and recovery. This contract provided the fee for this service to be a minimum of $75,000 per year.
Carnival requested a defense from Mt. Sinai, the doctors involved in the case, and their PAs, and when none was tendered, Carnival settled with Campbell. Carnival then filed this suit against appellants and the other health care providers involved in Campbell’s care seeking to recover the money it had paid to Campbell. The cruise line claimed breach of warranty, and sought indemnification, subrogation, and contribution. After settling with all of the other defendants, Carnival filed its motion for summary judgment as to [*5] its indemnity claim against Drs. Meitus and Schneider and the doctors’ PA.
After a careful review of the law in this area we conclude that summary judgment on the issue of indemnity should not have been granted and that the case should be remanded for an apportionment of fault by the trier of fact.
FEDERAL MARITIME LAW APPLIES TO PASSENGER CLAIM FOR BAD MEDICAL CARE AND NOT STATE LAW.
DR. LEON RAND, et al., Petitioners, vs. JANICE HATCH, et al., Respondents.
CASE NO. 3D00-622
COURT OF APPEAL OF FLORIDA, THIRD DISTRICT
2000 Fla. App. LEXIS 8239; 25 Fla. Law W. D 1606
July 5, 2000, Opinion Filed
Petitioners Dr. Leon Rand and Nurse Connie Jackson seek certiorari review of the denial of their motion to dismiss the complaint for medical negligence filed by respondents Janice and Craig Hatch. In denying the motion to dismiss, the trial court found that general maritime law, rather than Florida state law, applies to the medical malpractice allegedly committed by petitioners while serving as cruise ship medical personnel on the high seas. We agree with the trial court that because the case is governed by general maritime law, the Hatches did not have to comply with the mandatory pre-suit screening requirements of Florida’s Medical Malpractice Act, see § 766.106, [*2] Fla. Stat. (1997), prior to filing their complaint. The motion to dismiss was thus properly denied and we deny the petition for writ of certiorari.
CREWMEMBER RECEIVING MAINTENANCE AND CURE INJURED IN NON WORK INCIDENT ENTITLED TO ADDITIONAL MAINTENANCE AND CURE SINCE STILL IN THE SERVICE OF THE VESSEL.
CLAUDIA DUARTE, Appellant, vs. ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES, LTD., Appellee.
CASE NO. 3D99-160
COURT OF APPEAL OF FLORIDA, THIRD DISTRICT
2000 Fla. App. LEXIS 3961; 2000 AMC 1516; 25 Fla. Law W. D 857
April 5, 2000, Opinion Filed
Appellant is a seaman who had been receiving maintenance and cure in Miami for several months when she was seriously injured in an automobile accident. After Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. (RCCL) refused to pay her maintenance and cure for expenses arising from this accident, the Appellant filed this suit. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of RCCL. We reverse.
In the instant case, the Appellant was receiving maintenance and cure at the time of the accident because she had yet to obtain maximum medical recovery. Under such a situation, a seaman is still in the service of the ship and thus entitled to maintenance and cure for the additional injuries incurred. To hold otherwise would fly in the face of the long standing principles enunciated above. Accordingly, the trial court’s order granting summary judgment to RCCL is reversed.