Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Moses Taylor case brief summary

The Moses Taylor case brief summary (SCOTUS, 1866)

FACTS:  man sued for breach of K b/c of conditions on the ship. Sought damages in state court; owner of vessel argued he had no jurisdiction b/c cause of action was one in admiralty. SCOTUS: clearly admiralty b/c related exclusively to service to be performed on the high seas and pertained solely to the business of commerce & navigation. Not within saving to suitors clause. 

        • Savings to Suitors Clause—locked into 1789 time warp. 
          • Initially saved a common law remedy to plaintiffs where common law is competent to give it.
          • This has changed linguistically, but the meaning is the same
          • 28 USC 1333 today implements exclusive jurisdiction of admiralty cases to federal courts.
          • If admiralty plaintiff is seeking a remedy that the common law was competent to give, he doesn’t have to bring his case within the district court. Can be brought in state court as long as he was seeking a remedy that the state court was competent to give. (Money damages in in personam cases!!)
            • If seeking remedy commonlaw competent to give as of 1789, can go outside fed court and go to state court pursuant to savings clause
              • Ex – breach of maritime contract, maritime tort – money damages
              • In personam against indiv/corp where seeking $ damages, P can proceed within admiralty jurisdiction without jury trial (fed) or pursuant to savings to suitors clause to go through state court.
              • If not within fed admiralty savings clause permits to go it fed court but has to be diversity
              • All savings clause does is give add’l remedy but not different substantive law to govern claim
          • Not competent to handle actions in rem!
            • Can only bring in rem with admiralty/maritime jurisdiction
            • In rem – you arrest vessel and stop it from performing its maritime duties
            • Arrested means claim against
            • If vessel not released on bond then cannot perform its function on navigable bodies of water
              • Fits within scheme of encouraging maritime activity because it effectuates recovery
              • State court not allowed to stop vessel in its tracks b/c fed does not think states sensitive to purpose of maritime activity
            • Forfeiture actions not traditionally in rem actions; civil actions even though begun by seizing property
        • Whatdoes this mean?Regardless of procedure, substantive law stays the same.
          • Admiralty Case: (§ 1333) Can proceed in US district court pursuant to maritime/admiralty jurisdiction—No Jury Trial!
          • Admiralty Case: If seeking money damages against an entity/individual/corporation, etc…, even though it’s a maritime cause of action, it can be brought in state court pursuant to savings clause.—Either party can request jury trial.
          • Can proceed in federal court if there is a non-admiralty basis if there is an independent ground of federal jurisdiction, i.e., Diversity (§ 1332) basis.
            • To bring admiralty case in federal court as civil case, diversity jurisdiction works.—Either party can request jury trial.
          • Federal question (§ 1331) jurisdiction?
            • No! Romero v. Int’l Terminal Co. (1960’s)—admiralty cases do not arise under federal question jurisdiction. Does not stem from constitution, stems from far older set of maritime laws.
      • Limitation of liability issues.

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