Advertising Disclosure Email Disclosure

Maritime subject matter jurisdiction is found in a case arising out of an incident that occurred on a vessel moored at a marina.

October 1, 2018
In the Matter of the Complaint of Abraham Peute for Exoneration from or Limitation of Liability, 18-73, United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, July 23, 2018

This action involved two deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning occurring on a pleasure craft moored at a marina at the time of the incident. The issue before the court was whether subject matter jurisdiction existed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1333, which gives district courts jurisdiction over any civil admiralty or maritime case. The court reiterated the test for maritime jurisdiction—whether the incident occurred on a navigable waterway and, if so, whether the incident created a potential hazard to maritime commerce arising out of activity that bears a substantial relationship to traditional maritime activity. See, Sisson v. Ruby, 497 U.S. 358, 362 (1990). Here, the incident indisputably occurred on a vessel in navigable waters, even though the vessel was moored at the time. Furthermore, the Supreme Court has already expressly held that the storage and maintenance of a vessel at a marina on navigable waters is substantially related to traditional maritime activity. Id. at 367. As to the issue of a potential hazard to maritime commerce, this court explained that “[t]he existence of maritime jurisdiction does not turn on the actual effects of the particular incident on maritime commerce,” but, rather, on the potential to disrupt commercial activity (Id. at 362-364). This court determined that the subject incident posed a potential hazard to maritime commerce as it “could have required the response of emergency personnel whose activities could have hindered the passage of other vessels and the access of vessels and passengers to the dock.” Accordingly, the action was found to fall within maritime jurisdiction. 



Case Law Alerts, 4th Quarter, October 2018

Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Copyright © 2018 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, all rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm.

Affiliated Attorney

(856) 675-3606

Practice Areas

Before you send this email please note:

You are attempting to send email, through a link on our website, to an attorney of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin or an employee in our firm. Please note that your email may not be treated as confidential and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely upon the transmission of an email through this website if you are seeking to enter into such a relationship. Until such time as we have agreed to represent you, no information in your email will be treated as confidential. Please contact us directly by telephone at 1.800.220.3308 if it is your intent to seek legal counsel with our firm or convey confidential information.

If it is still your intent to send this email, knowing that it may not be treated as confidential, you may accept our terms of agreement by pressing "OK". If you choose not to accept these terms of agreement you may navigate away from this page by pressing "Cancel."