FHM Partners Successfully Defend Multi-Million Dollar Salvage Claim

On October 15, 2003, the Staten Island Ferry Andrew J. Barberi struck a maintenance pier, resulting in 11 deaths and injuries to more than 70 passengers. The DOROTHY J., a tug working under contract to New York City, the owner and operator of the ferry, was close by on another job and immediately attempted to assist the ferry. The tug’s owner then made a salvage claim and sued New York City seeking $8 Million as a salvage award. Following a week-long trial in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, in September 2010 the judge awarded the tug’s owner and crew only $46,000, finding that the tug rendered no meaningful assistance, other than giving the crew and passengers of the ferry some comfort in knowing that the tug was alongside. FHM partners Wayne Meehan and Gina Venezia represented New York City.