The United States Law Week

‘Unseaworthiness’ Damages Can Be Punitive;
Jones Act Doesn’t Limit General Law Remedy

Oct. 15, 2013, 4:00 AM

Punitive damages can be awarded in cases involving general maritime law claims of unseaworthiness, because the Jones Act does not address unseaworthiness and thus cannot limit a remedy that predates the act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held in three consolidated cases Oct 2 (McBride v. Estis Well Serv. LLC, 2013 BL 269856, 5th Cir., No. 12-30714).

The act was not intended to displace pre-existing maritime remedies or foreclose them going forward, the court said in an opinion by Judge Stephen A. Higginson. The appeals court reversed the magistrate judge and remanded the case....

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