Monday, May 19, 2014

Duleth Superior Excursion, Inc. v. Makela case brief summary

Duleth Superior Excursion, Inc. v. Makela, 8th Cir. 1980
Facts: Defendant had taken a booze cruise and struck someone after drunk driving after
the cruise. In order to sue the owner of the vessel who was not driving the car you had to find something that was done during the course of the booze cruise in order to hold the owner responsible. Here the allegation was that an excessive amount of alcohol was served and that they knew that people would be driving drunk once they left.
Holding: The Admiralty Extension Act applies because the injury began on navigable
waters with the agents of the ship failing to prevent the injury.
Reasoning: The sequence of the events alleged in this case started on board the vessel and
ended on land, calling into play the Admiralty Extension Act. The owners or operators were negligent in regards to their passengers, the duties of an owner to their passengers is traditionally a maritime concern.
Hypos: Assume that the plaintiff gets in his car and the drunk driver hits the man four
miles from the boat. Does the Admiralty Extension Act cover this? No, there is an element of remoteness. The negligence of the vessel is too far removed in space and time.
§   At some point the court has to draw the line. But you use the term remote which is sufficiently vague to allow parties to argue both sides.
·          In the Duleth case, the injury occurred six minutes after departing the vessel.
What if the drunk driver hits someone who was not a fellow passenger? Here you would argue that the party is also remote. Because the plaintiff is not a passenger the vessel does not owe a duty of due care to him.
·          Jurisdiction over Planes that Disembark from Ship?
o    Admiralty jurisdiction because the plaintiff was considered appurtenances of the vessel and were fully controlled by the vessel. Plaintiff was injured on land by bombs dropped during a training exercise by US Navy aircraft from a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier.

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