{ Banner }

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

Popular Topics

Chamberlain Hrdlicka Blawgs

Business and International Tax Blog

Employee Benefits Blog

Immigration Blog

Labor & Employment Blog

Maritime Blog

SALT Blawg

Tax Blawg

We pause in our maintenance and cure discussion (for one day) to address a new, hot-off-the-press decision from the Supreme Court of the United States authored by Justice Brett Kavanaugh: Air & Liquid Sys. Corp. v. Devries, 2019 U.S. LEXIS 2087, No. 17-110 (March 19, 2019).

 Facts & Relevant Background

In the underlying litigation, the plaintiffs (Kenneth McAfee and John DeVries) served in the U.S. Navy at various period of time – McAfee from 1977 to 1986 aboard 2 vessels, and DeVries from 1957-1960 aboard one vessel.  Each of these vessels utilized different mechanical equipment ...

This week’s blog post deals with a new soon-to-be reported decision from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, In re 4-K Marine, LL.C..  Citation is pending, but the case can be accessed through Lexis at 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 3095 or through the Fifth Circuit’s website, which can be found here.  The case number is 18-30348.

The primary issue before the Fifth Circuit deals with one of the oldest remedies available in Admiralty law – that of maintenance and cure owed to a seaman.  To give In re 4-K Marine proper treatment, one must have an understanding of this ancient remedy.

This decision ...

First of all, let me apologize for the lack of recent posts on this page.  

Second, I want to take this opportunity to honor Professor David W. Robertson, who sadly passed away in late December 2018.  Professor Robertson, along with Professor Michael Sturley, taught me Admiralty law.  I was also lucky that he and I  kept in touch through work on the UT Law Admiralty and Maritime Law Conference over the years.

A link to his memorial page on the webpage of the University of Texas School of Law is here:

Categories: Admiralty, Maritime Law

The focus of this post is maritime liens, which are a common commercial claim asserted against a vessel in rem, meaning the claimant sues the vessel directly. Usually this happens in Federal Court under Rule 9(h), but some states, such as Florida, allow for assertion of maritime liens in state court.

An Overview of What Constitutes a Maritime Lien

Maritime liens are both a creature of common law judicial custom and statute. Thomas Schoenbaum, a noted admiralty commentator, lists the most common maritime liens in his treatise Admiralty and Maritime Law as follows:

  1. Wages for the ship ...

An arbitration clause is, essentially, a forum selection clause on steroids.  While the latter merely selects the court or forum ( EX: …” any claims arising out of this contract shall be brought in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division …”), the former replaces the existing public judicial system for, in essence, a private one.

This post provides a basic overview of the legality and applicability of arbitration clauses in Admiralty law, and is relevant because of a Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS” ...

I'm honored that Federal Lawyer magazine, the journal of the Federal Bar Association, published an article I wrote entitled "Batterton v. Dutra Group and the Latest Circuit Split on Admiralty Punitive Damages."  The print version will be out later this month in the July 2018 edition of Federal Lawyer. 
I hope that you find it informative and entertaining. 

This post moves away from the sea and focuses on the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and Evidence.  Specifically, if a party moves for summary judgment and the opposite party responds with objectionable evidence (such as hearsay or conclusory statements in an affidavit), does the moving party have to obtain a ruling on the objection to preserve error for appeal?

On June 29, 2018, the Supreme Court of Texas (“SCTX”) issued a per curiam opinion in Seim v. Allstate Texas Lloyds, et al, 02-16-00050, ____ S.W.3d ____ (Tex. 2018) wherein SCTX made clear that parties must obtain rulings on ...

An arbitration clause is, essentially, a forum selection clause on steroids.  While the latter merely selects the court or forum ( EX: …” any claims arising out of this contract shall be brought in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division …”), the former replaces the existing public judicial system for, in essence, a private one.  

This post provides a basic overview of the legality and applicability of arbitration clauses in Admiralty law, and is relevant because of a Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) decision, Epic ...

If you are a fan of the NPR Podcast "Planet Money," you may recall an episode from 2014 entitled "Mr. Jones' Act," wherein David Kestenbaum & Zoe Chace analyzed The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, commonly known as the Jones Act, after Senator Wesley Jones of Washington. The law is an extremely broad statute, and is codified in various portions of Title 46 of the United States Code.

The episode is linked below.

https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2017/09/27/553990861/episode-524-mr-jones-act

I highly recommend listening to it.

The Jones Act governs the rights of maritime workers ...

The Maritime Proctor provides only general information about the law and does not, under any circumstances, constitute legal advice.

You should not act or refrain from acting based on these materials without first obtaining the advice of professional legal counsel.

This website contains links to third-party websites. We are not responsible for, and make no representations or endorsements with respect to, third-party websites, or with respect to any information, products or services that those websites might provide.

This blog does not create an attorney/client relationship ...