Admiralty Outline

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Admiralty Outline Overview Admiralty is federal law, originating in Article III, § 2 of Constitution. i. First Congress included Cases of Admiralty/Maritime in Judiciary Act. ii. Supremacy Clause. b. If say that case is admiralty/maritime case, governed by admiralty law, is to say that substantive admiralty law applies. i. Differences: statute of limitations, comparative laws for recovery, etc. a. Main: trial by judge. From very beginning, admiralty cases are w/o juries. May be why someone brings suit in admiralty – to avoid the jury. ii. Admiralty cases can’t be removed from state to federal courts. a. but most admiralty cases can be brought in state courts unless qualify under diversity. b. But federal admiralty law will be applied. iii. Jurisdiction arises under: a. 28 USC 1331: federal question b. 28 USC 1332: diversity c. 28 USC 1333: admiralty & maritime. iv. BUT, Congress didn’t choose to enact substantive law in the statutes – left to courts. v. Courts mainly address three issues: a. what is an admiralty case? b. if it is, what is the admiralty rule? c. construing the savings to suitors clause – eg, what types of cases does Congress mean to say that we only want federal courts sitting in admiralty to have jurisdiction over? Basics of Admiralty Requires: Locality + maritime nexus - Executive Jet decision. - DeLovio v. Boit (1815): Maritime insurance policies are within admiralty & maritime jurisdiction of US b/c maritime contracts include charter parties, affreightments, marine bonds, Ks for repairing, supplying & navigating ships, Ks between part owners – etc – AND insurance. Historical limitations: - Could only sue in rem - Forbade actions in personam vs. shipowner, master. - Rules precluding admiralty court from hearing matters arising w/in body of the country. - Forbidding admiralty jurisdiction where no influence of tide. - Forbidding admiralty jurisdiction involving building or sale of ship. - The Thomas Jefferson (SCOTUS, 1825): Action arising on Ohio to Missouri river is not in admiralty, because no influence of tide. Great Lakes Act (1845): extends jurisdiction to G. Lakes. o Becomes almost superfluous after Genesee Chief, but – still allows saving to suitors the right of jury trial if wanted. o Possible to have an equal protection argument – why in GL, but not other inland navigable waters. But no caselaw. The Genesee Chief v. Fitzhugh (SCOTUS, 1851): overrules the TJ. Holds that GL Act is Constitutional. o Lakes are inland seas o Hostile fleets have been encountered on them, prizes made, reason to have admiralty jurisdiction. o Nothing particular in the tide that makes waters suitable for admiralty. o Limiting admiralty in country with so many inland navigable waters is impracticable.

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