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Maritime Proctor Blog

Admiralty and Maritime Law Blawg

Maritime Proctor Blog

As a practicing attorney at Chamberlain Hrdlicka in Houston, the focus of my practice is two-fold: I represent companies and individuals in civil litigation. I also do extensive work (of both a litigation and transactional nature) in the Admiralty, Maritime, and Energy fields.

I have been licensed to practice law since 2003. During that time, I've first and second chaired several trials to verdicts, as well as handled hundreds of other cases to amicable resolutions.

I'm a product of public schools, specifically Friendswood High School in Friendswood, Texas (Class of 1996), The University of Texas at Austin (BA-2000), and The University of Texas School of Law (JD - 2003).

Texas Super Lawyers magazine named me as a “Texas Super Lawyer” in the field of Transportation/Maritime Law in 2019 and 2020. Prior to turning 40, I was recognized by Super Lawyers as a Transportation/Maritime Law “Rising Star” from 2011-2018. In the past, both H-Texas Magazine and Houstonia Magazine named me as a “Top Lawyer in Houston” in the field of Admiralty and Maritime Law.

View my complete profile

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By now, our reader has likely seen footage of the M/V Dali, a Singaporean flagged container vessel, striking the Francis Scott Key[2] Bridge in Baltimore.  This maritime casualty obviously received massive news coverage in the United States,[3] as the Port of Baltimore (mostly located upstream or inland from the Francis Scott Key Bridge) is the fifth-busiest container port on the East Coast.[4]  There are currently ten vessels stuck in the harbor and thus unable to make their voyages.[5]  It is unknown how long the Port of Baltimore will remain closed, and at least six people died in this ...

Categories: Maritime Law

In the cinematic classic The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow must travel on the Yellow Brick Road through the Haunted Forest to reach the Emerald City.  During this journey, the three protagonists of the story speculate they will encounter wild beasts, which leads to one of the famous quotes of the movie: “Lions, and Tigers, and Bears, oh my!”[1]  Ultimately, the trio meets their fourth compatriot, the Cowardly Lion, in the Haunted Forest, and he poses no harm to them.

We learned in 2021 the importance of the Suez Canal and Red Sea to global shipping trade.  ...

Categories: Maritime Law

It has been far too long since I was able to post on this blog.  My apologies to the loyal readers.[1]  I promise to be more consistent in my posts in the future.

This is the first in a several post series on the recent and highly publicized disaster involving the five lives lost last week on the Titan, a submersible craft operated by OceanGate.  As our readers know, the owner/founder of OceanGate and four passengers died when the Titan suffered a “catastrophic implosion” after losing contact with its primary exploratory vessel while attempting to view the wreck of the Titanic.[2]

These ...

Categories: Maritime Law

Most casual sports fans in the United States are familiar with the concept of professional teams trading players.  With respect to the American Pastime of baseball, one of the most consequential trades in Houston sports history involved a good to great relief pitcher named Larry Anderson.  The Boston Red Sox needed pitching help, and the Astros wanted young talent. 

So, in 1990, the Red Sox sent a skinny third baseman playing at the AA level to the Astros in exchange for a rental of Anderson (who was a free agent at the end of the season) to help in their playoff run.  The Red Sox made the playoffs ...

In Part I of "A Fifth of Silence," we covered the wording and history behind the Fifth Amendment, as well as how a jury must evaluate a witness taking the Fifth in a criminal trial.  To recap … the jury cannot consider it at all in reaching their verdict.

In Part II, we turn to taking the Fifth in a civil lawsuit.  The results are vastly different.  We will also address a hypothetical and provide some practical tips when faced with this type of situation.

What Happens When a Witness Takes the Fifth in a Civil Matter?

If a witness takes the Fifth in a civil matter, the jury, under SCOTUS precedent from ...

Author’s Note: This is the first in a two-part series on the Fifth Amendment’s protection of individuals from government action forcing the individual to testify or incriminate themselves.  Part I provides an overview of the Fifth Amendment and its application in the criminal context.  Part II details the implications of taking the Fifth in civil litigation, and provides a maritime hypothetical where a key witness likely would take the Fifth.

What do “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli, “Bash Bro” Mark McGwire, and “Raptor Bro” Kenneth Lay have in common?  Aside from the ...

About two months ago, I took my family on a Spring Break vacation to Estes Park, Colorado.  Up a hill and behind the Safeway in Estes Park was a large hotel, which I learned is the Stanley Hotel.  Built by the family that started Stanley Steamer, this hotel served as Stephen King’s inspiration for the Overlook Hotel, which is the setting of his 1977 novel The Shining.  Here is a photo I took of the Stanley Hotel on our trip.

Cinephiles know the late Stanley Kubrick was as an absolute perfectionist director.  For example, during the filming of the 1980 movie adaptation of The Shining, Kubrick ...

Categories: Admiralty, Maritime Law

Any child of the 80s (or really, anyone with taste) recalls such cinematic masterpieces as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Back to the Future, The Karate Kid, or Breakin’, which constitutes the movie debut of not only Jean Claude Van Damme (albeit in an uncredited role) as a bystander at an outdoor “dance-off,” but also Ice-T.

This was some of JCVD’s finest acting.

Each of those movies followed a basic plot: main protagonist unites with friends, learns of problem, experiences adversity, overcomes adversity, and ultimately prevails.  Realizing the financial success of the original ...

Unless you are wholly checked out from watching the news (and, frankly, with what’s gone on in the past 18 months, we do not blame you if such is the case), you likely know that a large container vessel, the Ever Given, was, until Monday 29 March 2021,[1] stuck (for lack of a better lay term) in the Suez Canal.  While the Ever Given is now out of the Canal and on to her next port, the impacts of this incident on world trade will resonate, we predict, for several years.

This image shows the position of the Ever Given in the canal, as well as the angle of the vessel during the past week.[2]


To ...

Today, Governor Greg Abbott lifted all capacity restrictions on business operations in Texas, as well as the mandate to wear masks.[1]

What follows is my opinion, and not legal advice of any kind.

What we know:

-1-   COVID 19 is transmitted by respiratory droplets from people's mouths and noses when people are in close contact (i.e., within 6 feet of each other).  According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (“CDC”), COVID-19 spreads very easily.[2]

-2-   Wearing a mask & maintaining social distance of 6 feet from people who are not in your household is the most effective way ...