I. IN GENERAL C. Applicability to Foreign Ships, Seamen, and Occurrences 4. Nationality of Seaman - Maritime Lawyer Hawaii
   

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An important victory in the fight for individual rights (as opposed to insurer rights) is the case of Yukumoto and HMSA v. Tawahara. In that case on May 26, 2017, the Hawaii Supreme Court rejected the efforts of a health insurer who tried to convert its insurance coverage into a 'loan agreement' and recover its medical expense payments from Mr. Yukumoto when he had a 3rd party claim - in spite of the fact that he was not being fully compensated for his losses. This insidious insurance practice has been damaging the citizens and members of the Hawaii community for many years. For more info, see the decision here: Yukumoto and HMSA v. Tawahara, Hawaii Sup. Ct. No. SCAP-15-0000460 (May 26, 2017).



 

 

JONES ACT - TABLE OF CONTENTS

The Jones Act

I. IN GENERAL C. Applicability to Foreign Ships, Seamen, and Occurrences 4. Nationality of Seaman

68. Generally

Treating nationality and residence of seamen as potentially decisive element in choice of law determination does not violate equal protection clause of Fourteenth Amendment. Vaz Borralho v Keydrill Co. (1983, CA5 Tex) 696 F2d 379, reh den (CA5 Tex) 710 F2d 207 and (disagreed with Tallentire v Offshore Logistics, Inc. (CA5 La) 754 F2d 1274, revd on other grounds (US) 91 L Ed 2d 174, 106 S Ct 2485).

46 USCS Appx § 688 should not be applied in suit by alien against foreign shipowner where contacts with United States are of incidental importance. Poulos v SS Ionic Coast (1967, ED La) 264 F Supp 237.


69. American seaman

United States law did not apply, and thus seaman failed to state cause of action under Jones Act and general maritime law against owners of Mexican fishing vessel for injuries sustained in accident which occurred on high seas, where only factor in favor of application of United States law was plaintiff's citizenship and all other factors pointed to application of Mexican law. Bilyk v Vessel Nair (1985, CA9 Cal) 754 F2d 1541.

United States law does not apply to Jones Act (46 USCS Appx § 688) action by American citizen arising out of accident that occurred on high seas, where vessel was Mexican and was based in Mexico, vessel owners and shareholders were Mexican citizens and residents, it is not unduly onerous for American citizen to make return trip to Mexico, and written contract was made in Mexico. Bilyk v Vessel Nair (1985, CA9 Cal) 754 F2d 1541.

In action by injured seaman against tuna vessel, corporation that owned vessel, and majority shareholder of corporation under Jones Act, Mexican law, rather than American law, was applicable, although seaman was United States citizen, where tuna vessel operated out of Mexico, could only unload its cargo in Mexico, and could not unload its cargo in United States, its contracts were in spanish, it had predominantly Mexican crew, and was owned by Mexican corporation; it was foreseeable that if there were an injury to a seaman, it would be governed by the laws of Mexico, which governed and regulated the actions of the corporate defendant, its vessel, and the individual defendant, its subject. Jones v The Vessel Nair (1984, SD Cal) 586 F Supp 507, corrected (SD Cal) 612 F Supp 414.

Summary judgment is granted to owner of Norwegian vessel in action for damages by American seaman arising out of injury on board ship in Hong Kong, where ship flew Norwegian flag, was based in Norway, and seaman's contract contained choice of law provision selecting Norway, because (1) Norwegian law controlled, (2) seaman failed to show inadequate access to Norwegian courts, and (3) American citizenship alone was not sufficient to balance interests in favor of seaman. Lockwood v M/S Royal Viking Star (1986, CD Cal) 663 F Supp 181.

American seaman on foreign vessel was entitled to sue under 46 USCS Appx § 688 for injuries received while working on lighter alongside steamship. Toulon v Grace S. S. Co. (1933) 262 NY 506, 188 NE 40, 1933 AMC 979.

American citizen signing engagement as seaman on German vessel, was not entitled to sue for injuries under 46 USCS Appx § 688, German law affording exclusive remedy. Hogan v Hamburg American Line (1934) 152 Misc 405, 272 NYS 690, 1934 AMC 797, cert den 295 US 749, 79 L Ed 1693, 55 S Ct 827.


70. --Other American contacts present

American seaman injured on American vessel in course of his employment and due to negligence of his employer may maintain action under 46 USCS Appx § 688 in courts of United States--federal or state--although injury takes place in foreign port and in territorial waters of another nation. Panama R. Co. v Johnson (1924) 264 US 375, 68 L Ed 748, 44 S Ct 391; Alpha S.S. Corp. v Cain (1930) 281 US 642, 74 L Ed 1086, 50 S Ct 443.

Personal representative of American stevedore killed in course of employment on board British vessel moored in New Jersey may bring action for wrongful death under Jones Act (46 USCS Appx§ 688) since there is no contractual relation between deceased and ship's foreign owners or personnel. Mahoney v International Elevating Co. (1927, DC NY) 23 F2d 130, affd (CA2 NY) 26 F2d 1019.

American seaman injured on ship owned by American corporation is entitled to benefit of 46 USCS Appx § 688 even though ship is registered under foreign flag. Gerradin v United Fruit Co. (1931, DC NY) 51 F2d 417, 1931 AMC 1425, affd (CA2 NY) 60 F2d 927, 1933 AMC 81, cert den 287 US 642, 77 L Ed 556, 53 S Ct 92.

American seaman working on ship flying foreign flag and owned by alien corporation, injured while ship tied up in New York harbor, was entitled to invoke 46 USCS Appx § 688. Shorter v Bermuda & West Indies S.S. Co. (1932, DC NY) 57 F2d 313.

Jones Act (46 USCS Appx § 688) applies to suit by American seaman for injuries sustained in Venezuela aboard American ship on grounds that, when seaman departed boundaries of Venezuela, interest of Venezuela ended and interest of United States and powers of Congress and courts to control activities of American citizens continued. Farmer v Standard Dredging Corp. (1958, DC Del) 167 F Supp 381.


71. Foreign seaman; all contacts foreign

District Court correctly concluded that American law does not apply to dispute arising out of personal injury to Greek seaman aboard Liberian flag vessel owned by Panamanian corporation which is in turn wholly owned subsidiary of Liberian corporation. Tamboris v Kainis Compania Maritima, S.A. (1971, CA5 Ala) 439 F2d 1131.

Foreign law, and not Jones Act, was applicable to claim of wife and children of Philippine seaman who drowned off Saudi Arabia where (a) injury did not occur in navigable waters off either Philippines or United States; (b) vessel flew flag of Panama; (c) decedent was both citizen and domiciliary of the Philippines; (d) application of United States law was not required where only contact with United States was American ownership or control of business venture; (e) decedent's employment contract provided for application of Philippine law; (f) American shipowners waived jurisdictional, venue, and statute of limitation defenses in event wife and children asserted claim in Philippines; (g) vessel's base of operations was limited to coastal waters off Saudi Arabia, and (h) vessel was not earning income from cargo originating or terminating in United States. Villar v Crowley Maritime Corp. (1986, CA9 Cal) 782 F2d 1478.

46 USCS Appx § 688 does not apply to suits between foreign seaman and foreign vessel. The Astra (1940, DC Md) 34 F Supp 152, 1940 AMC 1188.

Libel by Greek citizen, who at time of occurrence sued upon was seaman employed on vessel flying Greek flag and claimed to be owned and operated by aliens, for injuries received when he was assaulted, stabbed, and seriously wounded by another seaman on same ship, would not be dismissed for want of jurisdiction in view of special circumstances existing, war conditions, and probability that in no other place could libellant obtain relief. Kyriakos v Polemis (1943, DC NY) 53 F Supp 715, 1943 AMC 1391.

Cuban citizen, employed as fireman on vessel, who was injured while vessel was on high seas on voyage between England and Belgium, could not recover under 46 USCS Appx § 688. Puig v Royal Norwegian Government (1947, DC NY) 72 F Supp 69.

Federal District Court did not have jurisdiction of action brought under 46 USCS Appx § 688, where seaman was Greek, signed for service aboard Greek ship and was injured in Japanese port. Tsitsinakis v Simpson, Spence & Young (1950, DC NY) 90 F Supp 578.

Estonian seaman could not recover under 46 USCS Appx § 688 for injuries sustained aboard Swedish ship outside territorial waters of United States. Berendson v Rederiaktiebolaget Volo (1956, DC NY) 149 F Supp 140, 1957 AMC 95, affd (CA2 NY) 257 F2d 136, 1958 AMC 1836, cert den 358 US 895, 3 L Ed 2d 121, 79 S Ct 156.

Jones Act (46 USCS Appx § 688) case is dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, where cruise ship seaman is Turkish national who resides in United Kingdom and was injured in Argentina aboard Liberian-flagged vessel whose operational range was South America, and only contacts between vessel owner and U.S. are facts that office is located in and some officers live in Florida, because U.S. contacts are not substantial enough to create federal jurisdiction. Baydar v Renaissance Cruises, Inc. (1999, SD Fla) 35 F Supp 2d 916, 1999 AMC 1813.


72. --American business contacts

Alien owner, engaged in extensive business operation in United States, should not have advantage over citizens engaged in same business by allowing him to escape obligations and responsibility as "employer" under 46 USCS Appx § 688; flag, nationality of seaman, fact that seaman's employment contract was Greek and that he might be compensated there for injury are minor weights in scale compared with substantial and continuing contacts that alien owner has with United States. Hellenic Lines, Ltd. v Rhoditis (1970) 398 US 306, 26 L Ed 2d 252, 90 S Ct 1731, reh den 400 US 856, 27 L Ed 2d 94, 91 S Ct 23.

Alien sailor who signs for crew of alien ship in American port can sue under 46 USCS Appx § 688 for aggravation of illness of tuberculosis because of insufficient care aboard ship. Taylor v Atlantic Maritime Co. (1950, CA2 NY) 179 F2d 597, 1950 AMC 352, vacated on other grounds (CA2 NY) 181 F2d 84 1950 AMC 737, and cert den 341 US 915, 95 L Ed 1350, 71 S Ct 736.

46 USCS Appx § 688 did not apply to action by Greek seaman, injured aboard Panamanian ship owned by Liberian corporation in international waters notwithstanding that corporation maintained checking account in New York bank, where none of stock was owned by any citizen of United States and corporation did not maintain place of business in United States. Dassigienis v Cosmos Carriers & Trading Corp. (1971, CA2 NY) 442 F2d 1016.

Jones Act did not govern dispute between spanish seaman and Liberian corporations that owned Liberian flagship, arising out of injuries seaman received from Japanese-manufactured device while ship was off coast of Thailand, where employment contract, which was executed in Spain, provided that all disputes would be subject to law of flag and vessel only rarely called on American port, notwithstanding fact that Liberian owners' main office and base of operations was located in United States. Pereira v Utah Transport, Inc. (1985, CA9 Cal) 764 F2d 686, cert dismd (US) 89 L Ed 2d 362, 106 S Ct 1253.

Jones Act and general American maritime law did not apply to action by Honduran seaman against shipowner, operating agent, and husbanding agent, to recover for injuries sustained when he slipped and fell while unloading cargo in Egypt, where only contacts with United States were that seaman joined vessel in Philadelphia and that husbanding agent was New York corporation, and where, although seaman alleged that all defendants were owned or controlled by Americans and had primary base of operations in New York, he offered no proof to support this claim. Flores v Central American S.S. Agency, Inc. (1984, SD NY) 594 F Supp 735.

Greek seaman who injured hand while working aboard Greek flagship while docked in American port could bring action against shipowners under Jones Act, notwithstanding facts that shipowners were also Greek, that articles of employment were Greek and called for resolution of all disputes arising out of employment in Greek courts, and that seamen had access to Greek forum, where evidence showed that New York was base of operations of shipowner for particular vessel involved, including evidence that vessel was engaged in regular transatlantic trade between Mediterranean ports and Atlantic seaboard, that vessel earned substantial income from cargo originating in or bound for United States, and that Greek owners were shareholders in American corporation owned in part by their New York agent. Karvelis v Constellation Lines SA (1985, SD NY) 608 F Supp 966.

In wrongful death action by survivors of Scottish seaman who died of injuries sustained while working on diving support vessel in North Sea, trial court did not err in holding that American law did not apply, despite plaintiffs' claim that there were substantial contacts between decedent's employer and United States; even assuming ultimate United States ownership or control, based on fact that foreign subsidiary of United States corporation had leased vessel and was operating it under contract at time of accident, this contact was insufficient to require application of American law, and there was no evidence to support plaintiff's contentions that decedent either was borrowed servant of foreign subsidiary or that foreign subsidiary and United States corporation operated as alter egos. Couch v Chevron International Oil Co. (1984, Tex App Houston (14th Dist)) 672 SW2d 16, writ ref n r e, later proceeding (Tex) 682 SW2d 534.


73. --Injury in American port or waters

Maritime law of United States, including 46 USCS Appx § 688, may not be applied in action involving injury sustained in American port by foreign seaman on board foreign vessel in course of voyage beginning and ending in foreign country. Romero v International Terminal Operating Co. (1959) 358 US 354, 3 L Ed 2d 368, 79 S Ct 468, reh den 359 US 962, 3 L Ed 2d 769, 79 S Ct 795.

Law of United States is applicable in case of injury to foreign subject aboard foreign vessel in American port. Heredia v Davies (1926, CA4 Va) 12 F2d 500, 1926 AMC 703.

Maryland federal District Court had constitutional jurisdiction over action under 46 USCS Appx § 688 brought by Greek national injured in Maryland port against tramp steamer with no scheduled route owned by Panamanian corporation and registered under Greek flag, which vessel had been in Maryland ports on six occasions during nine-year period. Gkiafis v S.S. Yiosonas, (1965, CA4 Md) 342 F2d 546, 1965 AMC 1411, on remand (DC Md) 254 F Supp 825, affd in part and revd in part on other grounds (CA4 Md) 387 F2d 460.

Happenstance that accident occurred while ship was in American waters--only contact controversy has with United States--is insufficient to invoke 46 USCS Appx § 688 where owner of ship is Greek citizen and resident with principal place of business in Athens and none of crew members including plaintiff is American citizen. Koupetoris v Konkar Intrepid Corp. (1976 CA2 NY) 535 F2d 1392.

Widow of Greek sailor who died while ship was berthed in American port could not sue under Jones Act for husband's death where shipowner and employer was Greek corporation, its vessels flew Greek flag and were registered under Greek law, widow and sailor were Greek citizens and domiciliaries, and contract of employment between sailor and employer was drafted and executed in Greece and made Greek law in Greek courts controlling over rights and liabilities arising from relationship; fortuitous location of wrong was relatively unimportant factor in maritime context. Dracos v Hellenic Lines, Ltd. (1985, CA4 Va) 762 F2d 348, cert den (US) 88 L Ed 2d 288, 106 S Ct 311.

Syrian seaman, who was injured when working aboard Greek vessel operated by Liberian corporation while in port in United States, was entitled to maintain action against owners under Jones Act where vessel had substantial and continuing contacts with United States and virtually none with Liberia, thus establishing United States as base of operations, where vessel's owners were apparently United States nationals, and where injury had occurred within United States. Dalla v Atlas Maritime Co. (1985, CA9 Cal) 771 F2d 1277.

Norwegian citizen injured while performing duty as seaman on Norwegian vessel proceeding up Delaware river was not entitled to recover under 46 USCS Appx § 688. The Seirstad (1928, DC NY) 27 F2d 982, 1928 AMC 1241.

Citizen of Norway, who shipped on Norwegian ship in Antwerp, Belgium, for voyage ending in foreign port, could not maintain 46 USCS Appx § 688 action to recover damages as result of fall from ship to pier in American port. Lunde v Skibs A. S. Herstein (1952, DC NY) 103 F Supp 446.

46 USCS Appx § 688 is not applicable in action by Greek citizen for injuries which occurred on board ship flying Liberian flag while such ship was in United States port even though flying of Liberian flag may have been to accomplish such result. Markakis v Liberian S/S The Mparmpa Christos (1958, DC NY) 161 F Supp 487.

In 46 USCS Appx § 688 action involving an injury sustained in American port by foreign seaman aboard foreign vessel in course of voyage beginning and ending in foreign country, appropriate course is for federal district court to deny 46 USCS Appx § 688 claim on merits, but this denial of § 688 claim on merits leaves court free to consider whether, with due regard to doctrine of forum non conveniens, it should take jurisdiction and apply relevant foreign law. Volkenburg v Nederland-Amerik. Stoomv. Maats (1963, DC Mass) 221 F Supp 925, 1964 AMC 53, affd (CA1 Mass) 336 F2d 480, 1964 AMC 1958, 8 FR Serv 2d 34.13, Case 12.

Argentine sailor on Argentine ship could not sue under 46 USCS Appx § 688 for injury occurring in United States port. Serrano v Empresa Lineas Maritimas Argentinas (1966, DC Md) 257 F Supp 870, 10 FR Serv 2d 383.

46 USCS Appx § 688 action was dismissed on ground of forum nonconveniens where citizen of Greece jumped to his death from ship into Hudson River; deceased's widow was citizen and resident of Greece, owner of vessel was corporation organized and existing under laws of Liberia and said corporation was neither owned nor controlled by United States citizens, none of stock of owner of vessel was owned by United States citizen, vessel was engaged in carrying passengers and was registered under laws of Greece, decedent joined crew of vessel and agreed that any claim arising out of his employment would be settled according to Greek law, and vessel was departing from New York Harbor to Greece when decedent committed suicide. Xerakis v Greek Line, Inc. (1974, ED Pa) 382 F Supp 774.

46 USCS Appx § 688 is inapplicable to suit by crewmembers of tank vessel which suffered explosions and fire while tied up at Pennsylvania refinery where vessel was Greek vessel, none of crew members or officers were American citizens, all crew members signed employment contracts in Greece which provided for exclusive jurisdiction of Greek courts, and there was no ownership or interest in vessel by U.S. citizen or resident; place of wrongful act is of minor importance in determining law governing suit by foreign seaman against foreign shipowner. Re Lidoriki Maritime Corp. (1975, DC Pa) 404 F Supp 1402.

Neither Jones Act nor general maritime law of United States applied to claims asserted by Pakistani seaman against Greek shipowner for injuries sustained while on board defendant's ship, where contacts with United States were minimal, injured plaintiff was citizen of Pakistan, shipowner was Liberian corporation, more than 80 percent of shares of which were owned by Greek nationals who did not reside in United States, contract of employment was signed in Spain and designated Greek law to be applied for resolution of disputes, alternate forum was accessible in Greece, and ship owner did not have base of operations in United States, and where only factors which favored application of United States law were relatively insignificant ones that injury occurred in United States and United States district court would be applying federal choice of law rules. Ullah v Canion Shipping Co. (1984, DC Md) 589 F Supp 552, affd (CA4 Md) 755 F2d 1116.

Greek seaman who injured hand while working aboard Greek flagship while docked in American port could bring action against shipowners under Jones Act, notwithstanding facts that shipowners were also Greek, that articles of employment were Greek and called for resolution of all disputes arising out of employment in Greek courts, and that seamen had access to Greek forum, where evidence showed that New York was base of operations of shipowner for particular vessel involved, including evidence that vessel was engaged in regular transatlantic trade between Mediterranean ports and Atlantic seaboard, that vessel earned substantial income from cargo originating in or bound for United States, and that Greek owners were shareholders in American corporation owned in part by their New York agent. Karvelis v Constellation Lines SA (1985, SD NY) 608 F Supp 966.

Captain's claims arising from his serious fall in hold of vessel should be dismissed for forum non conveniens, as Greece or Cyprus provides better forum for this lawsuit, where (1) he is Greek citizen, (2) vessel flies flag of Cyprus, (3) owners are Cypriot and managers are Greek, (4) employment contract was entered into in Greece, (5) Greece and Cyprus are not inconvenient forums, and (6) U.S. is not base of operations for either vessel or owner, even though (7) U.S. forum has jurisdiction, and (8) accident took place here, because 6 of 8 factors weigh against application of Jones Act (46 USCS Appx § 688). Ioannidis v M/V Sea Concert (2000, DC Or) 132 F Supp 2d 847, adopted, dismd (2001, DC Or) 132 F Supp 2d 847.


74. --Voyage to or from American port

Syrian seaman, who was injured when working aboard Greek vessel operated by Liberian corporation while in port in United States, was entitled to maintain action against owners under Jones Act where vessel had substantial and continuing contacts with United States and virtually none with Liberia, thus establishing United States as base of operations, where vessel's owners were apparently United States nationals, and where injury had occurred within United States. Dalla v Atlas Maritime Co. (1985, CA9 Cal) 771 F2d 1277.

Foreign national hired for trip on British ship, which started in British port and ended in British port, could not sue under 46 USCS Appx § 688 for damages, even though ship spent large part of its time in United States port. Catherall v Cunard S. S. Co. (1951, DC NY) 101 F Supp 230.

Citizen of Sweden who signed on Swedish ship for voyage to United States could not sue for damages incurred on vessel while on coastwise run between New York and Jacksonville. Johansson v O. F. Ahlmark & Co. (1952, DC NY) 107 F Supp 70.

Plaintiff could not file complaint for damages under 46 USCS Appx § 688 where record reflected that: Plaintiff was citizen and domiciliary of Spain; contract of employment was signed in Spain and was written in spanish and Norwegian; contract provided that plaintiff's rights and obligations were those under Norwegian law; plaintiff was receiving benefits in accord therewith; defendant was Norwegian corporation and ship, upon which plaintiff was employed, was of Norwegian flag and registry; accident occurred on High Seas off coast of Bahamas; and plaintiff's only contact with United States was upon ship's arrival in port to pick up passengers and supplies. Valverde v Klosters Rederi A/S (1974, Fla App D3) 294 So 2d 101.


75. --Resident of United States

In 46 USCS Appx § 688 action, alien seaman who had been domiciled in United States for over 20 years, during greater part of which time he had served on American ships, and who was injured on voyage begun and ended in United States, nearly all of which was in territorial waters of United States, filed libel in rem against vessel of foreign registry to recover for such injuries which was properly dismissed; however, since libel in personam against owner of vessel stated good claim it should have been tried on its merits. Gambera v Bergoty (1942, CA2 NY) 132 F2d 414, 1943 AMC 45, cert den 319 US 742, 87 L Ed 1699, 63 S Ct 1030.

Where alien seaman on coming to this country in 1924, declared his intention of becoming citizen in 1925, and although residing here for 20 years had never been naturalized, his widow, as his administratrix could not sue alien corporation under 46 USCS Appx § 688 to recover damages resulting from his death from injuries occurring on high seas between foreign ports in one of which he signed articles. O'Neill v Cunard White Star, Ltd. (1947, CA2 NY) 160 F2d 446, 1947 AMC 505, cert den 332 US 773, 92 L Ed 358, 68 S Ct 56.

Fact that seaman lived in New York between voyages, is insufficient national interest to warrant application of Jones Act (46 USCS Appx § 688), and therefore seaman has no cause of action under Act when he fell through hatch of Swedish vessel during voyage which began and terminated in United States. Berendson v Rederiaktiebolaget Volo (1958, CA2 NY) 257 F2d 136, cert den 358 US 895, 3 L Ed 2d 121, 79 S Ct 156.

Fact that vessel was registered in Greece and flew Greek flag and was owned by Greeks did not relieve owner from liability in action under 46 USCS Appx § 688 for personal injuries suffered by seaman, Italian citizen, who had been domiciled in United States for over 20 years, during greater part of which time he had served on American ships, and where voyage on which he was injured began and ended in United States. The Emmy (1944, DC NY) 55 F Supp 60, 1944 AMC 276.

Citizen of Poland, but resident of United States, was injured in Panama while working as seaman on vessel of Honduran registry owned by Honduran company, all of whose stock was owned by United States company; effect was given to nationality of actual control of ship so that seaman could maintain action for injuries under 46 USCS Appx § 688 despite fact he had signed articles reciting that all rights and obligations were governed exclusively by laws of Republic of Honduras. Zielinski v Empresa Hondurena De Vapores (1953, DC NY) 113 F Supp 93.

46 USCS Appx § 688 did not apply to British citizen, resident of United States, who signed shipping articles to serve aboard vessel flying British flag and owned by British corporation, for tort committed on high seas or in British territorial waters. Smith v Furness, Withy & Co. (1953, DC NY) 119 F Supp 369.

There was 46 USCS Appx § 688 jurisdiction over seaman's cause of action where seaman was born in Germany but claimed domicil in United States, at time of his injury seaman was assigned to boat which was operating in North Sea off shore of Scotland, and where vessel was owned by Canadian corporation, 95 percent of whose stock was owned by American corporation and contract was made in United States. Rode v Sedco, Inc. (1975, ED Tex) 394 F Supp 206.


76. --Temporary presence in United States

Statutes of United States should not be applied to claim of maritime tort, where Danish seaman while temporarily in New York, joined ship of Danish flag, owned by Danish citizen, and contract of employment provided that rights of crew members should be governed by Danish law, and seaman was negligently injured in foreign waters. Lauritzen v Larsen (1953) 345 US 571, 97 L Ed 1254, 73 S Ct 921, 1953 AMC 1210.

Jurisdiction under 46 USCS Appx § 688 was denied for want of even minimal connection with United States where facts indicated that of four defendants, only one was incorporated in United States, and that it was owned by foreign shareholders; plaintiff was treated in United States hospital and ship was destined for, but outside, United States waters at time of commission of tort. Brillis v Chandris (U.S.A.) Inc. (1963, SD NY) 215 F Supp 520, 1963 AMC 1742.


77. --Presence or residence in United States after injury

District Court had no discretionary power to refuse to adjudicate case brought under 46 USCS Appx § 688 by alien seaman, assaulted within territorial waters of United States, aboard ship flying Liberian flag, owned by Liberian corporation which was wholly owned by Panamanian corporation, all stock in which was owned by United States citizens, on voyage from Baltimore to Philadelphia, articles for which were signed in Baltimore, which seaman had signed declaration of intention to become United States citizen few months after assault. Bartholomew v Universe Tankships, Inc. (1959, CA2 NY) 263 F2d 437, 1959 AMC 273, 1 FR Serv 2d 621, cert den 359 US 1000, 3 L Ed 2d 1030, 79 S Ct 1138 and (disagreed with De Mateos v Texaco, Inc. (CA3 Pa) 562 F2d 895, cert den 435 US 904, 55 L Ed 2d 494, 98 S Ct 1449) and (disagreed with Chiazor v Transworld Drilling Co. (CA5 La) 648 F2d 1015, reh den (CA5 La) 659 F2d 1075 and cert den 455 US 1019, 72 L Ed 2d 136, 102 S Ct 1714) as stated in Vaz Borralho v Keydril Co. (CA5 Tex) 696 F2d 379, reh den (CA5 Tex) 710 F2d 207 and (disagreed with Tallentire v Offshore Logistics, Inc. (CA5 La) 754 F2d 1274, revd on other grounds (US) 91 L Ed 2d 174, 106 S Ct 2485).

Domicile at time of action controls for purposes of determining applicability of Jones Act (46 USCS Appx § 688), and thus fact that Honduran seaman established residence in United States subsequent to being injured in Liberia aboard Norwegian ship is insufficient to invoke application of Jones Act. Nunez-Lozano v Rederi (1980, CA5 La) 634 F2d 135.

46 USCS Appx § 688 was inapplicable and federal district court declined jurisdiction of action brought by Greek citizen injured on foreign ship outside territorial waters of the United States, when only connection between United States and action was that when plaintiff arrived in United States he had been treated for three days in hospital and then left ship to bring action. Moutzouris v National Shipping & Trading Co. (1961, SD NY) 196 F Supp 482, 1961 AMC 983. affd 1961 AMC 1610, adhered to (DC NY) 194 F Supp 468.

Where Greek seaman injured on Panamanian vessel flying Liberian flag had signed employment contract providing that terms and conditions of work were to be governed by Greek law, and only contacts with United States were seaman's brief stay in Alaskan hospital, New York domicile of vessel's former agent and New York residence of president of vessel's current New York area agent, federal court did not have jurisdiction to hear seaman's claims under 46 USCS Appx § 688 and general maritime law. Mihalinos v Liberian S.S. Trikala (1972, SD Cal) 342 F Supp 1237.


78. --American spouse

Where only connection between United States of America and Greek plaintiff who was seeking damages under 46 USCS Appx § 688 for injury suffered in Dutch port on board British ship owned by Liberian corporation was that plaintiff was married to American citizen, court would decline jurisdiction. Camarias v M/V Lady Era (1969, DC Va) 318 F Supp 379, affd (CA4 Va) 432 F2d 1234.


79. --On American vessel

In action by widows of citizens of Trinidad who were killed while working aboard mobile oil drilling vessel in national waters of Trinidad, district court, having determined that United States law did not apply, was not required on remand to reconsider its choice of law analysis as to Jones Act and maritime death statute claims against owners and operators of vessel, notwithstanding beneficial ownership of vessel was in United States. That shipowner was American did not tilt balance in favor of application of United States law where plaintiffs were foreign citizens, place of wrong was territorial waters of another country, and context was that of offshore oil drilling. Ali v Offshore Co. (1985, CA5 La) 753 F2d 1327.

Greek law, not 46 USCS Appx § 688, was applicable to injuries sutained by Greek nationals due to accident occurring aboard ship moored to Greek dock where, although nationality of ship and its owner was American, every other contact was with Greece; plaintiffs were not employed by owner of American ship, but by Greek port authority; there had been no allegation that Greece was inaccessible forum. Lemonis v Prudential-Grace Lines, Inc. (1975) 81 Misc 2d 614, 366 NYS2d 541.


80. --Multiple American contacts

It is possible for alien seaman who signs aboard foreign vessel in American port for voyage beginning and ending in American waters to sue under Jones Act (46 USCS Appx § 688) in action by Greek seaman for stab wounds sustained while Greek ship, during voyage from United States to England and back again, was in Florida port, since Jones Act is not restricted to American seaman but gives right of action to "any seaman." Kyriakos v Goulandris (1945, CA2 NY) 151 F2d 132.

46 USCS Appx § 688 applies so as to allow recovery to Greek seaman who was injured in United States port on a Greek-flag vessel owned and controlled by Greek citizens who are United States domiciliaries. Hellenic Lines Ltd. v Rhoditis (1969, CA5 Ala) 412 F2d 919, affd 398 US 306, 26 L Ed 2d 252, 90 S Ct 1731, reh den 400 US 856, 27 L Ed 2d 94, 91 S Ct 23.

Jurisdiction under Jones Act (46 USCS Appx § 688) was properly denied to widow seeking to recover from employer of husband who died on employer's ship, where, although employer had American contracts and husband died while ship was berthed at American port, parties were Greek, ship was of Greek registry, and Greek law governed contracts. Dracos v Hellenic Lines, Ltd. (1983, CA4 Va) 705 F2d 1392 on reh, en banc (CA4 Va) 762 F2d 348, cert den (US) 88 L Ed 2d 288, 106 S Ct 311.


81. Collective nationalities of crew

Action under 46 USCS Appx § 688 for injuries sustained on ship flying Honduras flag could be maintained where it appeared that only contacts ship had with Honduras were flag and articles, ship was owned by Liberian corporation, all stock of which was owned by Greek and American citizens, orders directing movements of vessel came partly from American and partly from Greek owners, members of crew were residents of Greece, except for two residents of United States, injury occurred in American port, and vessel had never, in any of its voyages, visited Hondurian port. Southern Cross S.S. Co. v Firipis (1960, CA4 Va) 285 F2d 651, 84 ALR2d 895, 1961 AMC 621, cert den 365 US 869, 5 L Ed 2d 859, 81 S Ct 903 and (disagreed with Swain v Isthmian Lines, Inc. (CA3 Pa) 360 F2d 81 (disagreed with Chung, Yong Il v Overseas Navigation Co. (CA11 Ala) 774 F2d 1043, reh den, en banc (CA11 Ala) 779 F2d 60 and reh den, en banc (CA11 Ala) 779 F2d 60 and cert den (US) 90 L Ed 2d 346, 106 S Ct 1802)) and (disapproved on other grounds Griffin v Oceanic Contractors, Inc., 458 US 564, 73 L Ed 2d 973, 102 S Ct 3245, on remand (CA5 Tex) 685 F2d 139).

Seaman's claim under 46 USCS Appx § 688 was properly dismissed by District Court where (1) seaman was citizen and resident of Greece who executed his contract of employment there, (2) ship flew Liberian flag and was owned by Liberian corporation with principal place of business and "base of operations" in Greece, all of whose shares were owned by Greek citizens and residents, (3) shipowner was amenable to suit in Greece, (4) all crew members on duty at time of alleged accident were alien seamen, and (5) vessel involved was only vessel owned by shipowner; fact that seaman's injuries occurred off coast of United States was purely fortuitous and factor of minimal importance which, standing alone, was not substantial contact with United States. Koupetoris v Konkar Intrepid Corp. (1976, CA2 NY) 535 F2d 1392.

Jones Act (46 USCS Appx § 688) is applicable where nationalities of crew members indicate that foreign ownership and registration of vessel are facades for American control. Groves v Universe Tankships, Inc. (1970, SD NY) 308 F Supp 826; Mattes v National Hellenic American Line, S. A. (1977, SD NY) 427 F Supp 619.

46 USCS Appx § 688 is inapplicable to suit by crewmembers of tank vessel which suffered explosions and fire while tied up at Pennsylvania refinery where vessel was Greek vessel, none of crew members or officers were American citizens, all crew members signed employment contracts in Greece which provided for exclusive jurisdiction of Greek courts, and there was no ownership or interest in vessel by U.S. citizen or resident; place of wrongful act is of minor importance in determining law governing suit by foreign seaman against foreign shipowner. Re Lidoriki Maritime Corp. (1975, ED Pa) 404 F Supp 1402.

Neither 46 USCS Appx § 688 nor general maritime law of United States should be applied in controversy in which vessel is foreign flag vessel, owners of vessel are foreign, no defendants are substantially involved with United States, plaintiff is in foreign country, crewmembers are almost totally foreign nationals, trial in United States would require interpreter for those witnesses from foreign country or elsewhere and expense of bringing witnesses and plaintiff from foreign countries is greater than if few witnesses and records here, if indeed necessary, when transported from United States. Dorizos v Lemos & Pateras, Ltd. (1977, SD Ala) 437 F Supp 120.

JONES ACT - TABLE OF CONTENTS


 

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Jones Act maritime law and seaman cases

STATUTE'S LANGUAGE

CASE LAW


I. IN GENERAL

A. General Principles

B. Other Remedies

1. Traditional Maritime
Remedies

2. Federal Law Remedies

3 Remedies by State Law

C. Foreign Involvement

1. In General

2. Place of Injury

3. Flag or Ownership
of Vessel

a. In General

b. Foreign Ownership

c. Foreign Vessels
with American Interests

4. Nationality of Seaman

5. Other Factors



II. PERSONS ABLE
TO RECOVER

A. Seamen

1. General Principles

a. In General

b. Status as Seaman

2. "Vessel in Navigation"

a. In General

b. Status of Vessel

c. Particular Vessels

3. Particular Seamen

B. Representatives of
Seamen



III. EMPLOYMENT

A. In General

B. Particular Entities
as Employers

C. In Course of
Employment



IV. NEGLIGENCE

A. In General

B. Vicarious Liability

1. In General

2 Particular Acts of Crew

C. Circumstances of
Injury

1. Assault

a. In General

b. Assaults Among Crew
& Officers

2. Improper Supervision

a. In General

b. Particular Acts

3. Medical Care

4. Particular Properties
of Vessel & Dock

5. Other Circumstances



V. DEFENSES

A. Seaman's Conduct

1. Comparative
Negligence

2. Assumption of Risk

3. Particular
Circumstances

B. Release

C. Limitations of Actions

1. Statutory Limitations

2. Laches

D. Collateral Estoppel
& Res Judicata

E. Limitation of Liability

F. Other Defenses



VI. DAMAGES

A. In General

B. Damages for Injury

1. Elements of Damages

2 Award Deductions

C. Wrongful Death

1. Elements of Damages

2. Computation of Award



VII. PRACTICE &
PROCEDURE

A. State Court Actions

B. Jurisdiction

1. In General

2. Bases of Jurisdiction

C. Venue

1. In General

2. Bases of Venue

3 Forum Non Conveniens

D. Election of Remedies

1. In General

2. Particular Remedies

E. Institution of Action

F. Pleadings and Motions

1. Complaint

2. Answer

3. Motions

G. Removal and Remand

H. Discovery

I. Jury

1. Right To Jury Trial

2. Submission of Issues

J. Evidence

1. In General

2. Plaintiff's Burden
of Proof

3. Defendant's Burden

4. Admissibility

K. Appeal and Review

L. Settlement

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