Sunday, May 18, 2014

Thornsteinsson v. M/V Drangur case brief summary

Thornsteinsson v. M/V Drangur (1990)
  • Seamen asserted claims for wages against a ship that had been seized in Iceland and sold in foreclosure to the Δ
  • Icelandic jurisdiction in the in rem foreclosure proceeding was based on constructive possession of the vessel via the vessel’s paper
  • Δ raises defenses of laches and execution sale as clearing all liens
  • Court held that actual, not constructive, seizure is needed in order to put claimants on notice as to the execution sale
  • Laches defense involved analysis of actual notice to the seamen
  • Factors emphasized:
    • Whether seamen’s employer knew of seamen’s claims when suit was filed in Ireland, and if so;
    • Whether the employer had an obligation to inform either the Icelandic court or the vessel purchaser at the auction and
    • Whether the purchaser was prejudiced by enforcement of the claims

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