Admiralty and Maritime Law

The Admiralty Law Committee has advanced the study of maritime law and kept abreast with recent developments in the field of admiralty law.

On June 21, 2017, the ALC meeting and seminar was held in conjunction with The Florida Bar Annual Convention at the Boca Raton Resort and Club. The seminar included a presentation on the implications of GPS data in marine incident investigations, presented by Robson Forensic, on the extraction and interpretation of maritime navigation data and its implications on marine incident investigations, followed by a hands-on workshop providing members with the opportunity to become familiar with the GPS instruments available to marine investigators, the NTSB, USCG, and FWC. Capt. Alan S. Richard presented "Florida Boating Law" and David Maass presented "Florida Vessel Sales." A subcommittee was formed to address the conflict between the Middle District Local Rule 7.03(g), Southern District Rule C(7), and Northern District Rule C(7), led by Capt. Alan S. Richard.

On January 31, 2017, the ALC conducted its first annual Admiralty Law Update and Board Certification Review, hosted by Shutts & Bowen LLP, sponsored by National

Maritime Services, SEA, and hosted by the University of Miami Maritime Law Society. The review tracked the Admiralty Law Committee's 2017 publication, Florida Maritime Law and Practice (5th ed. 2017), a Florida Bar publication, written by ALC members and distributed by LexisNexis, including presentations on admiralty and maritime jurisdiction by Matthew Valcourt; practice and procedure by Andrew Craven; personal injury and wrongful death of seamen and other maritime workers by Stephen M. Moon; pleasure boats by Capt. Richard; workers' compensation by Tony Cuva; carriage of goods by Lindsey Brock; charters by Professor Attilio Costabel; salvage by Professor John H. Thomas; general average by Chris Hamilton; collision by David Pope; marine insurance by Michelle Otero Valdes; maritime liens by Adam Cooke; limitation of liability by Richard Rusak; personal injury and wrongful death of passengers by Tonya Meister and William Milliken; Florida boating law by Capt. Richard; marina liability by retired Judge Thomas Snook; maritime security law by Robert L. Gardana; and vessel sales by David Maass.

The course was designed to provide a comprehensive review of admiralty and maritime law to assist candidates preparing for the admiralty law board certification examination and provided 10 CLE/certification hours, including one hour in technology. A working lunch was sponsored by Lexis-Nexis and included presentations on benedict on admiralty, American maritime cases and new developments on This review update was the first of its kind in admiralty law in Florida.

As many ALC members practice in cruise industry litigation and Miami is the cruise capital of the world, on October 13, 2017, the ALC presented the Cruise Industry Passenger and Seafarer Claims Seminar hosted by the University of Miami Maritime Law Society and sponsored by Robson Forensic. This was the first ALC panel presentation, which facilitated open discussions, and practice pointers on passenger and seafarer injury litigation and arbitrations. The committee was honored to panel notable maritime attorneys Andrew L. (Andy) Waks, Michael Duke Eriksen, John H. (Jack) Hickey, Curtis Jay Mase, and Kassandra Doyle Taylor. The panel topics highlighted proof required in passenger medical negligence claims, apparent agency, and control to overcome independent contractor status of a physician, personal jurisdiction over foreign tour operators, cruise ship design cases, and discussions on the collateral source rule under general maritime law.

The Seafarer Claims Panel was comprised of skilled maritime attorneys Robert D. (Bob) Peltz, Tonya J. Meister-Griffith, Carlos F. Llinas Negret, retired Judge Norman S. Gerstein, and William F. Clair. This panel covered causes of action under Bahamian and Panamanian law in seafarer arbitrations, the maritime labour convention, ship owner's liability for maintenance and cure under the maritime labour convention, and the application of U.S. law in seaman arbitrations and the effect of contrary provisions in seaman's contracts. The last panel addressed the cruise industry standards and expert witness issues under Daubert, presented by Robson Forensic. Students from the University of Miami master's program in international maritime law, UM law students, and St. Thomas University School of Law students attended.

All ALC 2017-2018 seminars were joint regional events with the American Bar Association-TIPS Admiralty and Maritime Law Committee. As a result, the committee is pleased to report that all the meetings and seminars were very well attended, each receiving national attention through the ABA-TIPS AMLC's affiliation, marketed on its LinkedIn pages, encouraging professional development for all maritime practitioners and garnering great interest of the national admiralty bar, thereby increasing attendance at ALC meetings. Through the dutiful efforts of this year's vice chairs, Tyler Tanner, Captain Richard, Barbara Cooke, and Raul J. Chacon, who moderated the panel discussions throughout the year's seminars, the ALC acted cohesively, and is certain to continue its educational efforts in 2018-2019.

The committee appreciates The Florida Bar's leadership in recognizing the importance of outreach collaborations with other maritime law organizations. Recently, members of the ALC contributed to The Florida Bar International Law Quarterly, focusing on international aspects of maritime, admiralty, and transportation law (Winter 2018). Also, members of the committee recently testified before the Florida House of Representatives and Senate during its recent attempt to pass a salvage bill in Florida. The ALC Bar liaison, JoAnn Shearer, was instrumental and facilitated the committee's effort in approving CLE and certification hours, and her efforts are greatly appreciated. The committee continues its efforts to encourage the participation of members in maritime and has fostered a closer relationship between the maritime bar and the community it serves.

On January 31, the ALC presented a Maritime Law 101; Second Annual Admiralty and Maritime Law Board Certification Update and Review; Ethics and Technology Tsunami: Striving for Technological Competence; and Unmanned Vessels, Smart Ships, and Automated Technology Panels at St. Thomas University School of Law. The seminar was designed for two audiences: those seeking an introductory course and an advanced course on admiralty and maritime law for those seeking board certification.

The Maritime Law 101 panel, consisted of Christine Dimitriou, Efrain Carlos, Matthew John Valcourt, and F. David Famulari, presenting on maritime terminology, federal and state jurisdiction of admiralty claims and saving to suitors clause in 28 U.S.C. [section]1333(1), admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, vessel arrest (ethical considerations) maritime liens, and marine insurance.

The Board Certification Update and Review Panel was split up into three subpanels. The first covered practice and procedure, personal injury and wrongful death of seamen and other maritime workers, personal injury and wrongful death of passengers (Pizzino update), and Florida boating law and was composed of Andrew Craven, Stephen Moon, William Milliken, and Captain Richard. The second panel included Michael Charles Black, Michael Conroy, Professor John H. Thomas, David Frank Pope, and Alan Kelly presenting on the carriage of goods, charters, salvage, general average and collision, and limitation of liability. The third panel covered the topics of pleasure boats, pilotage and towage, marine liability, workers' compensation, and vessel sales, presented by members Anthony Cuva, James Hurley, Eric Thiel, and David Maass.

The Ethics Tsunami: Striving for Technological Competence Panel was based upon the joint article by Danielle Gauer and Kevin Cabrera, addressing the integration of technology into law practice, and technology demands and security, ethical considerations, supervisory obligations over IT consultants, telecommuting and cyber security, public Wifi issues, supervising clients and social media concerns, cloud computing, and conflict of interest.

The Unmanned Vessels, Smart Ships, and Automated Technology panel was honored to provide an in-depth review of international regulations affecting autonomous ships presented by Lieut. Commander Travis Noyes of the U.S.C.G. of Washington, D.C. The panel highlighted the regulatory legal framework for unmanned vessels, levels of autonomy, USV practical applications, labor union considerations, liability and insurance, port infrastructure, and cybersecurity and the international maritime organization's inclusion of autonomous vessels on its agenda for March. Chair Robert L. Gardana presented on autonomous swarm vessels created by the Naval Research Organization and their usefulness in protection of harbors, from a maritime security perspective, and to eliminate such security risks as encountered by the U.S.S. Cole. Professor Costabel highlighted the practical aspects of unmanned vessels under both the COLREGS and burden placed on judicial interpretations of navigation regimes in the near future. In addition to being well attended by admiralty and maritime law practitioners, the meeting was also attended by law students from the South Florida area trying to gain perspective into board certification.

The committee is excited to move into 2018-2019 with renewed momentum. We invite interested members of the Bar to attend ALC meetings and encourage them to apply for committee membership. We have a maritime seminar, "Bracing for the After-Storm," scheduled for Friday, June 15, at the Orlando Bonnet Creek Hilton, addressing the numerous marine insurance and maritime related issues existing following a...

To continue reading