American seamen have three avenues of recovery against a shipowner in respect of injuries sustained on board a ship: maintenance and cure; the Jones Act; a claim of unseaworthiness.
Punitive damages are available for the first of these, but not the second. The position as regards unseaworthiness was, until recently, unclear with a Circuit split on the issue. This has now been resolved by the Supreme Court’s decision in Dutra Group v Batterton ,588- U.S.. ____ Uniqus 2 PCS DC 12-24V 40W 1800LM 4-LED Car Angel Eyes Halo Ring Marker Light Bulb, (White Light), for X5 E70 All Models 2007-UP, X6 E71 All Models 2008-up, E60, E61, E90Uniqus 2 PCS DC 12V 6W 400 LM 6000K Tri Circular Car DRL&Turn Light(White Light + Yellow Light), Cable Length 50cm(2019) , to the effect that punitive damages are not recoverable. The overwhelming historical evidence was against such damages being available in an action for unseaworthiness. A novel remedy could not be sanctioned unless it is required to maintain uniformity with Congress’s clearly expressed policies, Uniqus 2 PCS H11 10W 1080LM White Light 72 LED SMD 4014 Canbus Car Fog Light Tail Light Bulb, DC 12VUniqus 2 PCS H3 50W 850 LM 6000K 10 CREE LEDs Car Fog Lights, DC 12V(White Light)particularly those in the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (Jones Act), under which only compensatory damages were recoverable.Uniqus 2 PCS H4 HB2 9003 Hi Lo Car Lamp Replacement LED Headlight Bulbs Conversion Kit, Cool White 6000K 2000LM 22WUniqus 2 PCS H7 Car Lamp Replacement LED Headlight Bulbs Conversion Kit, White 6000K 2000LM 22W.
To allow punitive damages on unseaworthiness claims would create bizarre disparities in the law. First, a mariner could make a claim for punitive damages if he was injured onboard a ship, but his estate would lose the right to seek punitivedamages in a wrongful death action if he died from his injuries. Uniqus 2 PCS Intelligent Induction HD Projection Car Door Welcome Lamps Display Logo for Porsche (Black)Uniqus 2 PCS N7 H13 40W 4000 LM 6000K Waterproof IP68 Car Auto LED Headlight with 2 COB LED Lamps, DC 9-36V(White Light)Second, because unseaworthiness claims run against the owner of the vessel, the owner could be liable for punitive damages while the ship’s master or operator—who could be more culpable—would not be liable for such damages under the Jones Act. Uniqus 2 PCS S7 H13 40W 3200 LM 6000K IP68 Car Headlight with 2 COB Lamps and Heat Dissipation Cable, DC 9-30V(White Light)Uniqus 2 PCS Universal Fit Car Front Bumper Spoiler Lip Splitter Diffuser SUV ABS Front Shovel, Length 62cmThird, allowing punitive damages would place American shippers at a significant competitive disadvantage and discourage foreign-owned vessels from employing American seamen