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JONES ACT- TABLE OF CONTENTS

The Jones Act - Cases, Decisions and Opinions

I. IN GENERAL - C. Applicability to Foreign Ships, Seamen, and Occurrences - 3. Nationality or Ownership of Vessel - b. Foreign Ownership

56. All contacts foreign

District Court correctly concluded that American law does not apply to dispute arising out of personal injury to Greek seaman aboard Liberian flag vessel owned by Panamanian corporation which is in turn wholly owned subsidiary of Liberian corporation. Tamboris v Kainis Compania Maritima, S.A. (1971, CA5 Ala) 439 F2d 1131.

46 USCS Appx 688 did not apply to action by Greek seaman, injured aboard Panamanian ship owned by Liberian corporation in international waters notwithstanding that corporation maintained checking account in New York bank, where none of stock was owned by any citizen of United States and corporation did not maintain place of business in United States. Dassigienis v Cosmos Carriers & Trading Corp. (1971, CA2 NY) 442 F2d 1016.

Brazilian law applies where Brazilian seaman was injured in Brazil, employment contract was made in Brazil, and employer was Brazilian corporation. De Oliveira v Delta Marine Drilling Co. (1983, CA5 Tex) 707 F2d 843, reh den (CA5 Tex) 715 F2d 577.

United States law does not apply to Jones Act (46 USCS Appx 688) action by American citizen arising out of accident that occurred on high seas, where vessel was Mexican and was based in Mexico, vessel owners and shareholders were Mexican citizens and residents, it is not unduly onerous for American citizen to make return trip to Mexico, and written contract was made in Mexico. Bilyk v Vessel Nair (1985, CA9 Cal) 754 F2d 1541.

Jones Act, 46 USCS Appx 688, does not apply to suits between foreign seaman and foreign vessel. The Astra (1940, DC Md) 34 F Supp 152.

Jones Act (46 USCS Appx 688) is not applicable to suit by Yugoslavian seaman for injuries sustained aboard Yugoslavian ship on high seas, since seaman undertakes to be bound by law of nation to which ship belongs. Radovcic v The Princ Pavle (1942, DC NY) 45 F Supp 15.

Libel by Greek citizen, who at time of occurrence sued upon was seaman employed on vessel flying Greek flag and claimed to be owned and operated by aliens, for injuries received when he was assaulted, stabbed, and seriously wounded by another seaman on same ship, would not be dismissed for want of jurisdiction in view of special circumstances existing, war conditions, and probability that in no other place could libellant obtain relief. Kyriakos v Polemis (1943, DC NY) 53 F Supp 715, 1943 AMC 1391.

Federal District Court did not have jurisdiction of action brought under 46 USCS Appx 688 where seaman was Greek, signed for service aboard Greek ship and was injured in Japanese port. Tsitsinakis v Simpson, Spence & Young (1950, DC NY) 90 F Supp 578.

Citizen of Norway, who shipped on Norwegian ship in Antwerp, Belgium, for voyage ending in foreign port, could not maintain 46 USCS Appx 688 action to recover damages as result of fall from ship to pier in American port. Lunde v Skibs A. S. Herstein (1952, DC NY) 103 F Supp 446.

Where libelant, Egyptian national and nonresident of United States, brought suit for personal injuries against Norwegian corporation, registered owner of Norwegian flag tanker on which libelant served and was injured while in New York port, court did not have subject matter jurisdiction of 46 USCS Appx 688 action. The Shahid v A/S J. Ludwig Mowinckels Rederi (1964, SD NY) 236 F Supp 751, 1964 AMC 1856.

Neither 46 USCS Appx 688 nor general maritime law of United States should be applied in controversy in which vessel is foreign flag vessel, owners of vessel are foreign, no defendants are substantially involved with United States, plaintiff is in foreign country, crewmembers are almost totally foreign nationals, trial in United States would require interpreter for those witnesses from foreign country or elsewhere and expense of bringing witnesses and plaintiff from foreign countries is greater than if few witnesses and records here, if indeed necessary, when transported from United States. Dorizos v Lemos & Pateras, Ltd. (1977, SD Ala) 437 F Supp 120.

Fact that vessel sails under Mexican flag and is owned entirely and exclusively by Mexican corporation whose stockholders are Mexican citizens is given great weight and supports conclusion that Jones Act is inapplicable. Jones v The Vessel Nair (1984, SD Cal) 586 F Supp 507, corrected (SD Cal) 612 F Supp 414.


57. American agent

Employment by foreign shipowner of single American agent is insufficient ground to require application of Jones Act (46 USCS Appx 688) to suit by Greek national, a permanent resident of United States, for injuries sustained on high seas aboard vessel owned by Panamanian corporation which was owned by Greek citizens. Frangiskatos v Konkar Maritime Enterprises, S.A. (1972, CA2 NY) 471 F2d 714.

Jones Act (46 USCS Appx 688) does not apply to Danish corporation in suit by Danish seaman for injuries sustained in American waters aboard Danish vessel, despite seaman's contention that principal stockholders of Danish corporation are also principle stockers of American corporation which acted as ship's general agent in New York, since circumstances of case do not warrant piercing of corporate identities which, even if done, would not render Danish corporation American corporation for purposes of Act. Hansen v A. S. D. S.S. V. Endborg (1957, DC NY) 155 F Supp 387.

Jones Act (46 USCS Appx 688) does not apply in case where Liberian registered vessel, which is owned and operated by Panamanian corporations and managed by British corporation with servicing agent in United States, has minimal contacts with United States where and no beneficial interest is located in United States, and thus Greek seaman's suit for injuries sustained on high seas does not fall within Act. Brillis v Chandris (U.S.A.), Inc. (1963, SD NY) 215 F Supp 520.

Although New York agent of Panamanian shipowning corporation is responsible for employing crew members and for general operation of vessel while it is in New York, Jones Act (46 USCS Appx 688) does not apply to Greek seaman's suit for injuries sustained on high seas aboard Liberian registered and Panamanian owned ship, since New York agent never acted as general manager of vessel and Panamanian owner exercised complete control over ship. Mihalinos v Liberian S.S. Trikala (1972, SD Cal) 342 F Supp 1237.

Jones Act (46 USCS Appx 688) will not apply to suit by Greek seaman for injuries sustained on high seas while working aboard Greek registered and Panamanian owned ship where seaman fails to show that American agent who managed vessel through Bermuda corporation was in fact one of real owners of corporate shipowner. Sfiridas v Santa Cecelia Co., S.A. (1973, ED Pa) 358 F Supp 108, affd without op (CA3 Pa) 493 F2d 1401.

Jones Act (46 USCS Appx 688) is applicable to Honduran seaman's suit for injuries sustained on high seas aboard Liberian vessel owned by Greek corporation, despite foreign ownership and registration of vessel, since Greek corporation maintained 2 agents in United States with substantial operation and financial responsibilities. Gomez v Karavias U.S.A., Inc. (1975, SD NY) 401 F Supp 104.

Ownership of American corporation which acted as Norwegian shipowner's general agent is insufficient ground for application of Jones Act (46 USCS Appx 688) to suit by Philippine seaman for injuries sustained in Lake Michigan aboard Norwegian ship since identity between shipowner and agent is relevant to service of process upon agent but has no bearing on facts to be considered in determining applicability of Jones Act. Manlugon v A/S Facto (1976, SD NY) 419 F Supp 550.

Fact that American agent of Liberian registered and Panamanian owned vessel executed charter contracts with foreign corporations in New York is insufficient ground for application of Jones Act (46 USCS Appx 688) to suit by Greek seaman for injuries received in territorial waters of India. Hoidas v Orion & Global Chartering Co. (1977, SD NY) 440 F Supp 53.

Greek seaman who injured hand while working aboard Greek flagship while docked in American port could bring action against shipowners under Jones Act, notwithstanding facts that shipowners were also Greek, that articles of employment were Greek and called for resolution of all disputes arising out of employment in Greek courts, and that seamen had access to Greek forum, where evidence showed that New York was base of operations of shipowner for particular vessel involved, including evidence that vessel was engaged in regular transatlantic trade between Mediterranean ports and Atlantic seaboard, that vessel earned substantial income from cargo originating in or bound for United States, and that Greek owners were shareholders in American corporation owned in part by their New York agent. Karvelis v Constellation Lines SA (1985, SD NY) 608 F Supp 966.


58. American business contacts

Resident alien owner, engaged in extensive business operation in United States, should not have advantage over citizens engaged in same business by allowing him to escape obligations and responsibility as "employer" under 46 USCS Appx 688; flag, nationality of seaman, fact that seaman's employment contract was Greek and that he might be compensated there for injury are minor weights in scale compared with substantial and continuing contacts that alien owner has with United States. Hellenic Lines, Ltd. v Rhoditis (1970) 398 US 306, 26 L Ed 2d 252, 90 S Ct 1731, reh den 400 US 856, 27 L Ed 2d 94, 91 S Ct 23.

46 USCS Appx 688 did not apply to action by Greek seaman, injured aboard Panamanian ship owned by Liberian corporation in international waters notwithstanding that corporation maintained checking account in New York bank, where none of stock was owned by any citizen of United States and corporation did not maintain place of business in United States. Dassigienis v Cosmos Carriers & Trading Corp. (1971, CA2 NY) 442 F2d 1016.

District Court's determination that suit by spanish national who was injured aboard ship flying Liberian flag is governed by Liberian Law and not by Jones Act is proper, notwithstanding that base of operations of Liberian corporations which owned vessel was San Francisco, since (1) vessel flew Liberian flag, (2) law of flag is of cardinal importance, (3) contract provided that law of flag would apply, (4) vessel, which was off coast of Thailand at time plaintiff was injured, rarely called on American port, and (5) District Court reasonably concluded that spanish forum was readily accessible to plaintiff. Pereira v Utah Transport, Inc. (1985, CA9 Cal) 764 F2d 686, cert dismd (US) 89 L Ed 2d 362, 106 S Ct 1253.

Jones Act (46 USCS Appx 688) is not applicable to Finish seaman's suit for injuries sustained in Holland aboard Norwegian vessel which was time-chartered by American corporations, since time-chartering by American corporation does not divest foreign ship of nationality. The Lynghaug (1941, DC Pa) 42 F Supp 713.

Jones Act (46 USCS Appx 688) is applicable to suit by Greek seaman for injuries received on high seas aboard Liberian vessel despite finding that none of stock of any of defendant shipowning corporations is owned by Americans, since corporate structure of shipowner in context with United States indicates sufficiently substantial contacts to require application of Act. Mattes v National Hellenic American Line, S. A. (1977, SD NY) 427 F Supp 619.


59. Voyage to or from American port

Provisions of Jones Act, 46 USCS Appx 688, are limited to seamen at work upon domestic vessels. The Seirstad (1928, DC NY) 27 F2d 982.

Jones Act (46 USCS Appx 688) is not applicable to suit for injuries suffered by seaman during voyage between Britain and America on British vessel, despite fact that ship was built specifically for Britain-New York run, stayed in New York equally as long as in Britain, and took on as many supplies in one country as in the other, since vessel is foreign vessel on grounds that it is owned by British corporation and sails under British flag. Catherall v Cunard S.S. Co. (1951, DC NY) 101 F Supp 230.

Foreign seaman, who signs on foreign ship in foreign port, does not come under 46 USCS Appx 688 merely because foreign ship enters American ports. Tselentis v Michalinos Maritime & Commercial Co. (1952, DC NY) 104 F Supp 942.

Alien seaman serving upon foreign ships owned by aliens, and bound upon voyage which begins and ends outside United States, cannot sue under Jones Act, 46 USCS Appx 688, for injuries suffered while ship happens to be stopping at port of call within United States waters. Romero v International Terminal Operating Co. (1956, DC NY) 142 F Supp 570, affd (CA2 NY) 244 F2d 409, vacated on other grounds 358 US 354, 3 L Ed 2d 368, 79 S Ct 468, reh den 359 US 962, 3 L Ed 2d 769, 79 S Ct 795.

Greek law, not 46 USCS Appx 688, was applicable in plaintiff-seaman's action where plaintiff signed employment contract in Greece, contract provided that dispute between parties would be resolved by Greek law, plaintiff was injured aboard vessel while it was on "high seas" en route to Virginia, corporation owning vessel was Panamanian controlled by Greek national having no contact with the United States, and vessel flew "flag of Greece." Sfiridas v Santa Cecelia Co., S.A. (1973, ED Pa) 358 F Supp 108, affd without op (CA3 Pa) 493 F2d 1401.

Plaintiff could not file complaint for damages under 46 USCS Appx 688 where record reflected that: plaintiff was citizen and domiciliary of Spain; contract of employment was signed in Spain and was written in spanish and Norwegian; contract provided that plaintiff's rights and obligations were those under Norwegian law; plaintiff was receiving benefits in accord therewith; defendant was Norwegian corporation and ship, upon which plaintiff was employed, was of Norwegian flag and registry; accident occurred on High Seas off coast of Bahamas; and plaintiff's only contact with United States was upon ship's arrival in port to pick up passengers and supplies. Valverde v Klosters Rederi A/S (1974, Fla App D3) 294 So 2d 101.


60. Injury in American port or waters

Maritime law of United States, including 46 USCS Appx 688, may not be applied in action involving injury sustained in American port by foreign seaman on board foreign vessel in course of voyage beginning and ending in foreign country. Romero v International Terminal Operating Co. (1959) 358 US 354, 3 L Ed 2d 368, 79 S Ct 468, reh den 359 US 962, 3 L Ed 2d 769, 79 S Ct 795.

46 USCS Appx 688 does not give its statutory right of action to foreign seaman signing on foreign vessel at foreign port, notwithstanding occurrence of injury in port of United States. The Paula (1937, CA2 NY) 91 F2d 1001, 1937 AMC 988, cert den 302 US 750, 82 L Ed 580, 58 S Ct 270; Gambera v Bergoty (1942, CA2 NY) 132 F2d 414, 1943 AMC 45, cert den 319 US 742, 87 L Ed 1699, 63 S Ct 1030; The Magdapur (1933, DC NY) 3 F Supp 971, 1933 AMC 831, (disapproved on other grounds Waldron v Moore-McCormack Lines, Inc. 386 US 724, 18 L Ed 2d 482, 87 S Ct 1410).

Maryland federal District Court had constitutional jurisdiction over action under 46 USCS Appx 688 brought by Greek national injured in Maryland port against tramp steamer with no scheduled route owned by Panamanian corporation and registered under Greek flag, which vessel had been in Maryland ports on six occasions during nine-year period. Gkiafis v S.S. Yiosonas (1965, CA4 Md) 342 F2d 546, 1965 AMC 1411, on remand (DC Md) 254 F Supp 825, affd in part and revd in part on other grounds (CA4 Md) 387 F2d 460.

Seaman's claim under 46 USCS Appx 688 was properly dismissed by District Court where (1) seaman was citizen and resident of Greece who executed his contract of employment there, (2) ship flew Liberian flag and was owned by Liberian corporation with principal place of business and "base of operations" in Greece, all of whose shares were owned by Greek citizens and residents, (3) shipowner was amenable to suit in Greece, (4) all crew members on duty at time of alleged accident were alien seamen, and (5) vessel involved was only vessel owned by shipowner; fact that seaman's injuries occurred off coast of United States was purely fortuitous and factor of minimal importance which, standing alone, was not substantial contact with United States. Koupetoris v Konkar Intrepid Corp. (1976, CA2 NY) 535 F2d 1392.

Greek seamen is not entitled to bring action under 46 USCS Appx 688 where fact that injury occurred in United States waters is sole factor in favor of applying United States law where seamen is Greek citizen, vessel sales under Greek flag, corporation owning vessel is Panamanian and is owned and managed by Greeks, Greek forum is not inaccessible and contract of employment selected Greece as forum for resolution of all disputes arising out of employment relationship. Volykrakis v M/V Isabelle (1982, CA5 La) 668 F2d 863.

Widow of Greek sailor who died while ship was berthed in American port could not sue under Jones Act for husband's death where shipowner and employer was Greek corporation, its vessels flew Greek flag and were registered under Greek law, widow and sailor were Greek citizens and domiciliaries, and contract of employment between sailor and employer was drafted and executed in Greece and made Greek law in Greek courts controlling over rights and liabilities arising from relationship; fortuitous location of wrong was relatively unimportant factor in maritime context. Dracos v Hellenic Lines, Ltd. (1985, CA4 Va) 762 F2d 348, cert den (US) 88 L Ed 2d 288, 106 S Ct 311.

Citizen of Sweden who signed on Swedish ship for voyage to United States could not sue for damages incurred on vessel while on coastwise run between New York and Jacksonville. Johansson v. O. F. Ahlmark & Co. (1952, DC NY) 107 F Supp 70.

46 USCS Appx 688 is not applicable in action by Greek citizen for injuries which occurred on board ship flying Liberian flag while such ship was in United States port even though flying of Liberian flag may have been to accomplish such result. Markakis v Liberian S/S The Mparmpa Christos (1958, DC NY) 161 F Supp 487.

In 46 USCS Appx 688 action involving injury sustained in American port by foreign seaman aboard foreign vessel in course of voyage beginning and ending in foreign country, appropriate course is for federal district court to deny 68 claim on merits; but this denial of 688 claim on merits leaves court free to consider whether, with due regard to doctrine of forum non conveniens, it should take jurisdiction and apply relevant foreign law. Volkenburg v Nederland-Amerik, Stoomv. Maats (1963, DC Mass) 221 F Supp 925, 1964 AMC 53, affd (CA1 Mass) 336 F2d 480, 1964 AMC 1958, 8 FR Serv 2d 34.13, Case 12.

Argentine sailor on Argentine ship could not sue under 46 USCS Appx 688 for injury occurring in United States port. Serrano v Empresa Lineas Maritimas Argentinas (1966, DC Md) 257 F Supp 870, 10 FR Serv 2d 383.

46 USCS Appx 688 action was dismissed on ground of forum nonconveniens where citizen of Greece jumped to his death from ship into Hudson River; deceased's widow was citizen and resident of Greece, owner of vessel was corporation organized and existing under laws of Liberia and said corporation was neither owned nor controlled by United States citizens, none of stock of owner of vessel was owned by United States citizen, vessel was engaged in carrying passengers and was registered under laws of Greece, decedent joined crew of vessel and agreed that any claim arising out of his employment would be settled according to Greek law, and vessel was departing from New York Harbor to Greece when decedent committed suicide. Xerakis v Greek Line, Inc. (1974, ED Pa) 382 F Supp 774.

46 USCS Appx 688 is inapplicable to suit by crewmembers of tank vessel which suffered explosions and fire while tied up at Pennsylvania refinery where vessel was Greek vessel, none of crew members or officers were American citizens, all crew members signed employment contracts in Greece which provided for exclusive jurisdiction of Greek courts, and there was no ownership or interest in vessel by U.S. citizen or resident. Re Lidoriki Maritime Corp. (1975, ED Pa) 404 F Supp 1402.


61. Multiple American contacts present

Fact that Norwegian shipowner maintained American husbanding agent in New York is insufficient to require application of Jones Act (46 USCS Appx 688) in suit by Norwegian seaman for injuries sustained in American waters aboard ship owned by Norwegian shipowner. Nakken v Fearnley & Eger (1955, DC NY) 137 F Supp 288.

Jones Act (46 USCS Appx 688) does not apply to Greek seaman's suit for personal injuries sustained in American waters aboard Liberian registered and Panamanian owned vessel, although Panamanian corporation employed American husbanding agent which arranged for tugs, pilots, stevedores, and customs clearance, since foreign corporation's contacts are insufficient to warrant application of Act. Damaskinos v Societa Navigacion Interamericana, S. A., Panama (1966, SD NY) 255 F Supp 919.

46 USCS Appx 688 was not applicable to action by Philippine seamen for injuries allegedly sustained by them aboard Norwegian vessel in Lake Michigan, notwithstanding that managing owner of vessel owned or controlled United States corporation which acted as its general agent in United States; neither mere use nor mere ownership of agent in United States by shipowner suggested that shipowner's base of operations was in United States, and extension of base of operations doctrine to enterprise whose link to United States was that tenuous was not warranted. Manlugon v A/S Facto (1976, SD NY) 419 F Supp 550.

Jones Act (46 USCS Appx 688) applies to Syrian seaman's personal injury claim, notwithstanding Greek registry of ship, Liberian ownership, contract in Greek providing for Greek law to apply, and availability of foreign forum, where accident occurred in United States waters and ship had substantial and continuous business contact with United States. Dalla v Atlas Maritime Co. (1983, CD Cal) 562 F Supp 752, affd (CA9 Cal) 771 F2d 1277.

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