A row of several white yachts, docked in a row. (Credit: Tetyana Kokhanets/Adobe Stock)

The U.S. Supreme Court has an affinity for admiralty cases. Why else would the court agree to take on a seemingly simple marine insurance dispute involving a yacht owner and his United Kingdom-based marine insurance company? Because the Supreme Court recognizes what is at stake is fundamental to the foundation of federal maritime law.

The Supreme Court has entertained a wide variety of maritime cases with such issues including a limitation of liability defense brought by the owners of the Titanic; a cargo dispute in a “maritime case about a train wreck”; Norfolk Southern Railway v. James N. Kirby, 543 U.S. 14 (2004); and cases involving the scope of marine terms such as “vessel”, “seamen” and “safe berth”. See, James E. Mercante, “Supreme Court Dips Into Admiralty,” New York Law Journal, Admiralty Law, Volume 261 (June 27, 2019).

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