US Bodily Injury News (November 2011)
This year’s (2011's) Bodily Injury Round Table was held in mid-September in our New Jersey office. To start the seminar off, Karen Hildebrandt, Dee O’Leary and John Turner from our London office presented a brief overview of issues and concerns in piracy incidents a subject raised in the preceding year’s feedback.
Karen discussed the types of issues presented in the Jones Act and unseaworthiness lawsuits alleged in the Maersk Alabama litigation and the legal questions presented by it. Issues include notice of the risk of piracy to the defendants; the existence of a USCG approved security plan; the criminal nature of the pirate attack and whether the defendants could be held liable; and if the ship was fit for her intended purpose.
Dee then led the discussion of the coverage available under P&I in the event of a pirate attack confirming cover on the usual types of claims such as death injury, illness, repatriation and loss of crew effects. Dee also discussed the implications of carrying armed security guards. John Turner then spoke about the Club’s experience with piracy incidents to date and the lessons learned. He further explained how the Club can assist in the aftermath of a pirate attack.
The balance of the seminar focused on the civil and criminal implications in the investigation of a marine casualty and the do’s and don’ts of interviews and depositions which follow such a casualty. We were very pleased to have Mike Fernandez of Freehill, Hogan & Mahar in New York and Greg Linsin of Blank Rome in Washington DC lead the lively discussion about the civil (P&I) counsel's role in the initial stages of an investigation and the potential for rapid development of criminal issues to arise during such an investigation.
Greg Linsin shared the perspective and issues from a criminal counsel’s role in an investigation. Mike and Greg illustrated their points using pre-recorded videotaped interviews and depositions prepared by our third lawyer, Gary Hemphill of Phelps, Dunbar in New Orleans.
Read more on the 2011 Seminar highlights, Piracy, and Primary Duty Rule in the attached document.