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....