Monday, May 19, 2014
Foremost Insurance Co. v. Richardson case brief summary
Foremost Insurance Co. v. Richardson, USSC 1982
Issue: Whether or not a collision between two pleasure boats on navigable waters was
within admiralty tort jurisdiction.
Court: Pleasure boat crash could impact maritime commerce and is therefore appropriate
for admiralty juris.
Reasoning: The definition of vessel includes all types of vessels, including pleasure
boats. Second, the rules of the road for boats are established by the federal government and each state does not have different rules (like automobiles). Third, the admiralty extension act extends jurisdictions to all cases of damage or injury caused by a vessel on navigable water. Despite the dissents argument, even though it may look like a local activity, their behavior on a national waterway can interfere commercial navigation of vessels on these waterways.
Dissent: Emphasized two factors: federalism and the historic relationship between the
development of maritime law and commerce.
-There is no substantial federal interest that justifies a rule extending admiralty jurisdiction to the edge of absurdity.
-This holding resurrects the localizing rule that Executive Jet rejected, for any accident “located” on navigable waters has a “potential disruptive impact” on traffic there.
Article: Author says this is a local matter only because there was no diversity of
citizenship. But this is a settled issue now because the vessels involved do not have to be engaged in commercial activity to qualify under admiralty jurisdiction.
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