HomeCircuit Court Admiralty CasesSuits in Admiralty Act/Federal Tort Claims Act
Suits in Admiralty Act/Federal Tort Claims Act

The following are digests and case links to Circuit Court Admiralty Cases that have as an issue the Suits in Admiralty Act/Federal Tort Claims Act.

Hurd v. United States
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
April 25, 2002

Suits in Admiralty Act: In the early morning hours of December 29, 1997, the S/V MORNING DEW sank after colliding with the north jetty leading into the Charleston Harbor. None of the passengers onboard the thirty-four foot sailboat survived. The Coast Guard was properly found liable for the deaths by undertaking to render aid to the passengers of the MORNING DEW and for recklessly and wantonly terminating that aid in a manner that worsened the decedents' positions. 

Ayers v. United States
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
January 17, 2002

Suits in Admiralty Act/Statute of Limitations: Since Plaintiff executor's claim that the United States was negligent when an Army Corps of Engineers lock master operated a lock on the Kentucky River causing the decedent to drown was within the court's admiralty jurisdiction, Plaintiff's exclusive remedy against the United States is governed by the Suits in Admiralty Act, 46 U.S.C.App. §§ 741-752 ("SAA"). Actions under the SAA are subject to a two-year statute of limitations and failure to bring an action under the SAA within two years following an injury deprives federal courts of subject matter jurisdiction. Since Plaintiff's Complaint was filed more than two years after the drowning, the district court properly dismissed the action for lack of jurisdiction. Filing an administrative claim within the two year period under the Federal Tort Claims Act will not equitably toll the limitations period under the SAA.

Pearce v. United States
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
August 23, 2001 

Suits in Admiralty Act: While the Corps of Engineers had a duty to warn boaters of the dangers around an operating dam, it satisfied that duty by posting nine clearly-visible warning signs and including a warning on the navigational chart that highlighted the taildeck area of the dam as a "Danger Zone." Further, although it had installed a warning horn near the dam that was not working at the time of the accident where two boaters drowned, it did not violate the Good Samaritan Doctrine because, first, the Corps had previously determined that warning signs provided ample warning and, second, the system was not active because of high water damage.

Sanko Steamship v. United States
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
November 29, 2001

Suits in Admiralty Act/Federal Tort Claims Act: The district court's finding that the United States was immune from suit under the Flood Control Act, 33 U.S.C. § 702, for a failure to warn of a shoal in the Sacramento Deepwater Ship Channel is reversed and remanded for further proceedings in view of the Supreme Court's decision in Central Green Co. v. United States, 531 U.S. 425 (2001), which established a  more restrictive test for determining sovereign immunity.

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