News

CLIENT ALERT: PUNITIVE DAMAGES NOT AVAILABLE TO INJURED SEAMAN ASSERTING UNSEAWORTHINESS CLAIM

Introduction

On June 24, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Dutra Group v. Batterton, holding that an injured seaman may not recover punitive damages for injuries caused by the unseaworthy condition of a vessel. The Court’s decision resolved a split between the U.S. Fifth and Ninth Circuits, where the Fifth Circuit had held that punitive damages were not available for unseaworthiness claims, and the Ninth Circuit had found that such damages were appropriate. The Court’s ruling closed the loop on a question that had remained unanswered by its most recent decisions concerning the availability of punitive damages under Miles and Atlantic Sounding.

To read the Court’s full decision, click HERE.