Maritime & Aviation
Results Prove It:
Building on the foundation established by their colleagues Dave Danielson and Val Tollefson, Harrigan Leyh’s maritime and aviation attorneys have established a reputation as preeminent maritime and aviation litigators in the Pacific Northwest. To provide seamless representation throughout the region, the firm’s partners practicing in these fields are licensed in state and federal courts in Washington, Alaska and Oregon. In addition to acting as counsel to individual clients, the partners have served as mediators, have been appointed by the federal court to act as guardians and special advisors to the court and have been designated by the State of Washington to act as its special assistant attorneys general.
The firm provides representation to individuals, businesses, government entities, international organizations, and insurance carriers in the maritime and aviation world in matters ranging from cargo and property damage, personal injury, salvage, and wreck removal to insurance coverage and contract disputes.
“Whale Wars” Proceeding for Injunctive Relief
We defended Captain Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an anti-poaching group focused on marine conservation featured in the Animal Planet documentary series Whale Wars, in proceedings by Japanese whalers seeking injunctive relief.
Maritime Personal Injury
The plaintiff was shot multiple times by an intoxicated crewmember during an altercation aboard a fishing vessel owned by our client. The plaintiff claimed to be a Jones Act seaman based on an alleged oral job offer, and alleged the vessel was unseaworthy due to the assailant’s “dangerous propensities.” The federal district court dismissed the case on our motion for summary judgment, concluding that the plaintiff did not have the status of a Jones Act seaman and that the employer did not have knowledge of the assailant’s violent nature. The dismissal was affirmed by the Ninth Circuit.
Major Cargo Loss
A dedicated car carrier transporting 5,000 Mazda vehicles from Japan to Canada and the United States lost stability during a mid-Pacific ballast exchange. The vessel was towed to the Aleutian Islands where it was righted then towed to Portland, Oregon. Although the loss was governed by U.S. COGSA, a forum selection clause in the bill of lading mandated that the $100 million plus loss be tried in Japan. Our firm orchestrated the successful prosecution of the case in Japan, preparing all damage and liability experts and briefing for presentation by local counsel.
A large shipment of rare French wine suffered freezing damage during transshipment between two marine carriers. The substantial loss affected worldwide high-end wine prices. We negotiated a near 100% recovery on behalf of our client on the eve of trial.
A London bank financed construction of a fleet of state-of-the-art catcher processors in Holland and the defendant vessel owner defaulted on the $80 million loan. Our firm was retained to arrest two of the vessels on arrival in the Pacific Northwest. We successfully located and seized the vessels, repatriated their Russian and Polish crew and negotiated a favorable sale of the vessels to a buyer in New Zealand.
Vessel Grounding, Wreck Removal, and Pollution Abatement
In a case involving the grounding and sinking of a fishing vessel in an Alaska marine sanctuary, our firm coordinated with government and private entities for wreck removal and pollution abatement and favorably settled crewmember personal injury and wage loss claims arising out of the incident.
The assured sought to recover in excess of $5 million under its hull and machinery and increased value insurance policies for the alleged loss of its fishing trawler to foreign business interests. We convinced the assured to voluntarily dismiss its claim under the hull policy and obtained a dismissal of the case against the increased value underwriters on summary judgment.
- Continental Insurance Company
- DBC Marine Safety Systems
- Glacier Fish Company
- Holland America Line
- International Pacific Halibut Commission
- Liberty International Underwriters
- Marine Safety Reserve
- Moscow Narodny Bank Limited
- Nationwide Insurance
- Navigators Insurance Company
- Port of Seattle
- U.S. Fire Insurance Company
- Washington State Ferries