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Marine and Energy News Alert: U.S. Supreme Court to Decide if Punitive Damages are Recoverable for Unseaworthiness

December 11, 2018

On December 7, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari to resolve conflicting decisions addressing whether punitive damages are available to injured Jones Act seamen for general maritime law unseaworthiness claims.

Earlier this year, a split in authority between the United States Fifth Circuit and the Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals arose when the Ninth Circuit expressly disagreed with the Fifth Circuit in Batterton v. Dutra Group and found punitive damages were recoverable for Jones Act seamen. The Batterton vessel owner subsequently filed a writ of certiorari of the Ninth Circuit’s decision to the Supreme Court. A copy of our prior report can be found here.

The Phelps Dunbar Marine and Energy Team will continue to keep readers updated on this significant issue.