October 31, 2017 Practice Points

A Primer on the Limitation of Liability

By Douglas W. Truxillo

While this article is not intended to be an in-depth study of the admiralty limitation of liability proceedings or nuances of the Limitation of Liability Act, we hope that it serves as a convenient checklist as to the process when the decision has been made by the vessel owner to bring the action. Also, this article is not intended to discuss the use of the limitation of liability as a defense filed in an answer in response to a lawsuit filed by injured party, but rather discusses the necessary documents for the initiation of the proceeding in federal court by the vessel owner in the event of an marine incident where there may be single or multiple potential claimants with potential liability for damages that exceeds the post-casualty value of the vessel and its pending freight. (There is a minimum limit in the act in the case of personal injury or death if the amount of vessel/pending freight value is less than $420.00 times the gross tonnage of the vessel for payment of personal injury or death claims, but that is also not a focus of this article.)

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