Lawsuits I wish I could file

Published on November 30th, 2021

by John K. Fulweiler, WindCheck
I like depositions and trials. I like the clarity that comes from the pressure. But to pepper questions in the boardroom or press a witness in the courtroom, you need a lawsuit. We file lawsuits for yachties, merchant mariners, passengers and anyone else injured working on or around the sea…but that doesn’t mean a maritime lawyer can’t dream. Here are some lawsuits I’d like to file if the opportunity arose; I call these “suits for sailors.”

The blue water ocean carriers always give me pause. They’ll dump containers overboard littering the oceans with hazards (a lot of these containers float) and yet keep chugging to port seemingly without penalty. Why is this accepted? I’d like to file a lawsuit on behalf of a sailor that strikes a floating container. We’d maybe sue the ocean carrier, the shipper and the consignee because it’s time this behavior gets checked. Maybe too, I’d sue the ship’s Protection & Indemnity Club (the cozy insuring cooperative ship owners form to swaddle themselves in shared liability) under a legal theory I’ll keep to myself for now. And we’re very good at finding jurisdictional bases for bringing suit in the USA so I’m confident we’d get a claim rolling and maybe mitigate this mayhem. I’d relish the deposition of the super-cargo (the rep aboard ship with knowledge of what’s being carried and how) because the depositions we take aren’t linear or nice – rather, we take depositions in pursuit of full and complete justice because partial justice is no justice at all.

Next, outboard motors. I once heard a rumor (and that’s exactly what it was) that outboard motors are marketed at a horsepower rating that’s not consistent with the engine’s actual horsepower. It’s complete speculation on my part and I’m spit-balling (a la QB Aaron Rodgers and his 500 pages of vaccine ‘research’), but if this was proven true, I see the potential for liability. It might not be a strict maritime action, but it’s got a salty flavor and it interests me. – Full report

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