Maritime

BakerHostetler has an edge over its competitors because we seamlessly combine our astute litigation skills with our in-depth understanding of the maritime, transportation, and oil and gas industries. Clients value our desire to understand not just the legal issues involved, but the practical business issues that they are facing as well.

With more than 100 years of maritime law experience, we have represented numerous companies in connection with complex maritime litigation, including cases involving cargo loss, force majeure, vessel damage, writs of attachment, and vessel arrests in courts across the U.S., including courts in California, Florida, Louisiana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

Our maritime team members include a United States Coast Guard Academy graduate, qualified Deck Watch Officer and OOD under way, 270’ Famous Class cutter (WMEC), and a former member of the Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps and Proctor Member of the Maritime Law Association.

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Natural Disaster Advice and Litigation

As oil and gas companies are increasingly engaged in offshore drilling operations, maritime issues often come into play—when negotiating contracts, during the performance of contracts, and in the event that a disaster occurs. Over the past several years, we have represented clients in litigation involving major offshore oil spills during the production and transportation of hydrocarbons by sea. We also represent operators, drillers, and construction and service companies in a variety of other matters, including bankruptcy foreclosure proceedings, government control of vessel operations, and insurance issues.

Regulatory Compliance and Business Advice

Our Maritime team has comprehensive knowledge of the specific laws and regulations pertaining to admiralty law, including coast-wide requirements of the Jones Act, Section 905(b), Rule C arrests to foreclose maritime liens and enforce mortgages, Rule B writs of foreign attachment, Rule D petitory actions, the CABOTAGE Law, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, and the vessel reporting and clearance requirements of U.S. customs regulations. We frequently advise clients regarding business and compliance issues in order to minimize future risk of litigation.

Select Experience

  • Represented a client in connection with a $25 million maritime wrongful death and personal injury case, with insurance coverage issues arising out of four deaths and six personal injuries on a liftboat being used in the Bay of Campeche to support seismic operations.
  • Represented a client in connection with a $36 million lawsuit involving a breach of contract claim against an operator under an Offshore Daywork Drilling Contract purporting to declare force majeure following the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Advised a global oil and gas company in connection with a claim made by an ocean carrier of crude and refined products that was seeking indemnity on claims for asbestos and other delayed on-set injuries arising under Contracts of Affreightment in place from 1938-1994.
  • Successfully secured the release of a client’s funds from a Rule B Writ of Attachment. See Milestone Shipping S.A. v. Estech Trading LLC, 811 F.Supp. 915 (S.D.N.Y. 2011).
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Professionals

Name Title Office Email
Erika Lindberg Associate Houston
James C. Winton Partner Houston

Experience

  • Represented a client in connection with a $25 million maritime wrongful death and personal injury case, with insurance coverage issues arising out of four deaths and six personal injuries on a liftboat being used in the Bay of Campeche to support seismic operations.
  • Represented a client in connection with a $36 million lawsuit involving a breach of contract claim against an operator under an Offshore Daywork Drilling Contract purporting to declare force majeure following the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Advised a global oil and gas company in connection with a claim made by an ocean carrier of crude and refined products that was seeking indemnity on claims for asbestos and other delayed on-set injuries arising under Contracts of Affreightment in place from 1938-1994.
  • Successfully secured the release of a client’s funds from a Rule B Writ of Attachment. See Milestone Shipping S.A. v. Estech Trading LLC, 811 F.Supp. 915 (S.D.N.Y. 2011).
  • Successfully represented the mortgagee in an action to foreclose a First Preferred Ship Mortgage against a vessel and recover a deficiency judgment in an amount in excess of $3 million.
  • Represented an offshore pipeline operator whose pipeline was damaged in a hurricane when a nearby jack-up rig was destroyed. The rig operator refused to pay the costs of removal of the rig and repair of the pipeline, forcing the pipeline company to pay for the removal. We sued the rig operator, relying, in part, on the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.
  • Advised a major integrated oil company on its response to a threat by environmental activists to disrupt drilling operations in the Chuck Chi Sea during the short drilling window in which the area is free of ice. We helped the client protect operations without exposing itself to tort claims or accusations of criminal assault by the activists based on longstanding principles of maritime law in conjunction with modern remedies available to the client.
  • Defended a client against a cargo claim following the loss of feeder vessel in a typhoon in Bay of Bengal.

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