On January 30, 2017, Michelle Otero Valdés of Chalos & Co, P.C., spoke as part of the American Conference Institute’s 6th Annual Forum on Admiralty and Maritime Claims and Litigation in Miami, Florida. Mrs. Otero Valdés focused her presentation on a number of decisions from the Second, Third, and Eleventh Appellate Circuits regarding personal jurisdiction over foreign entities. Most notably, Mrs. Otero Valdés discussed the Third Circuit’s finding in Athos I that a terminal could be held liable for damage to a vessel which occurred on the way to the terminal or at anchorage under a safe berthing warranty. See Frescati Shipping Co. v. Citgo Asphalt Ref. Co., 718 F.3d 184 (3d. Cir. 2013). This finding implies new obligations for charterers and wharfingers to scan for and detect possible obstructions to avoid breach of warranty and negligence liabilities.
In the Second Circuit, she explained a recent finding that a diving accident in navigable waters can bring admiralty tort jurisdiction because of the possibility of such an accident affecting other vessels and disrupting maritime commerce. See Germain v. Ficarra, 824 F.3d 258 (2d. Cir. 2016). Additionally, the Second Circuit also denied personal jurisdiction where a foreign entity that merely had a representative office, which was not enough to show the company was “at home” in the state. See CLdN Cobelfret Pte. Ltd. v. ING Bank N.V., 2016 U.S. Dist LEXIS 159788 (S.D.N.Y. 2016). Finally, Mrs. Otero Valdés discussed a recent decision within the Eleventh Circuit finding that the Court did not have jurisdiction when a passenger sued for an injury occurring on an excursion during a cruise because the excursion company’s agreement to indemnify a cruise line, along with various other contacts in the state, did not establish general jurisdiction over that company. See Thompson v. Carnival Corp., 174 F.Supp.3d 1327 (S.D.F.L. 2016).
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