Articles Tagged with Savings-to-Suitors clause

sharkIn June of 2015, Elke Specker paid for a dive trip off the coast of California, where the dive boat drove her to, and while she was diving in the water to observe the sharks, she claims she was bitten by a mako shark. She sued the dive instructor, and the dive company, alleging that the instructor was drunk and negligently caused the shark to come directly to the diver, which then bit her. The dive boat company denied that the instructor was drunk, and even denied that the shark bit the participant.

The interesting issue was that the defendant in the lawsuit claimed in the federal court lawsuit that there was no admiralty and maritime jurisdiction over the case. A federal district court has jurisdiction over a case involving admiralty law and maritime law. If the federal judge agreed it was not a case falling within the maritime jurisdiction of the federal court, the case would have had to been refiled in a state court.

The test for whether a case satisfies the requirements for admiralty and maritime jurisdiction is a two-part test. The first is an obvious one, which is locality. If it involves navigable waters, locality will be easily satisfied. Here, the boat and the divers were in the water off the coast of California. Clearly, locality was satisfied.

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