A Salty Flavor to Your (Formerly) Land-Based Contracts: Norfolk Southern v. Kirby Two Years Later

by Christopher Minelli October 10 2006, 16:21
In 2004 the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a decision that changed the jurisdictional requirements of adjudicating a contract in admiralty. [1] This was a major development in an area of the law that is remarkably resistant to change because of the nature of shipping evolves little compared to other technology. These changes should have had a larger effect in legal circles, because now certain “mixed contracts” that fell in the grey area between admiralty and non-admiralty law were considered to be within admiralty jurisdiction entirely. [2] Now certain contracts for the carriage of goods that arrange for transportation over both land and water in a single contract can be adjudicated in certain instances that were impossible before. [3] Currently, a shipping container undergoing some catastrophic event in Nevada could be litigated in admiralty as long as the majority of its journey was made on navigable waterways or the high seas. This counter-intuitive principle deserves a closer look by business attorneys working in the transportation field because now more than ever it is possible that they will brush up against an ancient (and somewhat mystifying) area of law that most lawyers working away from the coastline would never before had encountered. It is a useful exercise for any lawyer in the field to examine exactly how the jurisdictional requirements for maritime contracts changed, what decisions have been made since, and exactly what it means to their legal practice. [More]

New Life in an Old Method: A Concise Railroad Law Primer

by Christopher Minelli September 12 2006, 16:22
The reality of the modern world is that fuel prices are enormous compared with averages from as little as ten years ago, and it is improbable that they will decline anytime in the near future. [1] One consequence of current fuel prices is the higher cost of freight and passenger transportation around the country. Carriers must adjust their rates according to a confusing maelstrom of fluctuating fuel costs, federal security requirements pertaining to the war on terrorism, and the instability of steady customers in the lukewarm economy. [2] A solution may be as simple as looking to a transportation method that is over a century old and is conveniently located in nearly all major American markets – the railroad system. Railroad freight and passenger services, and the laws that accompany them, are probably unfamiliar to many practicing attorneys because of the multitude of other transportation options that sellers have preferred over the last half century. [More]

The Maritime Labor Convention: New Protections for those who work on the High Seas

by Sabeen Malik March 16 2006, 01:23
I. Introduction

On February 23, 2006, the International Labor Organization adopted the Maritime Labor Convention. The convention is an attempt to consolidate all existing maritime labor regimes and to provide a comprehensive rights based charter for maritime employees. The United States participated in the conference in the hopes that by passing this convention more economic benefits may flow to the American maritime industry. The convention may provide a basis for American employees to maintain and enhance traditional rights such as maintenance and cure. [More]

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