Maritime and Admiralty Litigation
As a leader in the field of admiralty and maritime litigation, FITCH represents vessel owners and their insurers in the wide range of disputes that occur in the ocean transport industry.
Our experience includes the defense of personal injury and wrongful death claims brought by or on behalf of seamen, longshoremen, and passengers; collisions, groundings, and sinkings; cargo damage claims; fires in the holds of ships; dock damage allegedly caused by operational errors; vessel charter disputes; and even disputes over the rights to salvage sunken treasure.
We also engage in maritime insurance coverage litigation. In addition, we represent utilities in maritime property damage matters, such as a case involving multi-million dollar damage to our client’s undersea electric cables caused by a cruise ship’s dragged anchor as the vessel departed Newport Harbor.
We also have defended vessel officers in federal prosecutions involving claims of pollution damage and violations of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.
Maritime And Admiralty Litigation Case Results
– Personal Injury Defense
We have defended on many occasions the vessel owner and members of protection and indemnity associations in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits brought against them by seamen, longshoremen/harbor workers, and passengers, as well as in cargo damage, pollution, and stowaway matters.
– Property Damage
We successfully represented a foreign shipowner against a claim that its luxury liner struck and severely damaged a Boston port facility.
We have defended operators of tugs and barges in claims involving collision damage to bridges, docks, and other vessels, as well as personal injury and wrongful death.
We obtained a multi-million dollar settlement for a utility client whose underwater cables were damaged by the dropped anchor of a cruise ship.
– Salvage and Treasure
By means of in rem actions invoking the law of salvage and finds, we have obtained court orders permitting clients to attempt salvage of gold coins from a sunken passenger vessel and historical artifacts from a sunken German submarine.
Our trial and appellate experience in this area includes three cases in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit: City of Boston v. S.S. TEXACO TEXAS, 773 F.2d 1396, 1986 A.M.C. 676 (1st Cir. 1985) (maritime collision and contract-based indemnity); Maddalone v. Okada Shosen, KK, 756 F.2d 886, 1986 A.M.C. 304, 1 Fed.R.Serv.3d 1084 (1st Cir. 1985) (defense of longshoreman’s personal injury action); Marcial Ucin, S.A. v. SS GALICIA, 723 F.2d 994, 38 Fed.R.Serv.2d 407 (1st Cir. 1983) (personal jurisdiction over foreign defendant in cargo damage case).