Local admiralty rules approved by United States District Court
PROVIDENCE, RI • JANUARY 17, 2013
The United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island (USDC-RI) has recently approved amendments to the Court’s Local Rules, adopting for the first time local rules specifically addressing admiralty practice before the Court. These amendments became effective January 15, 2013.
The approval of local admiralty rules is the result of the year-long efforts of the Local Admiralty Rules Subcommittee, a subcommittee of the USDC-RI Local Rules Committee chaired by James T. Murphy, a partner at Hanson Curran LLP.
The subcommittee worked with a number of groups, including the United States Marshals office, United States District Court clerks and the Court’s Local Rules Committee, to draft and refine a set of local admiralty rules that would be useful to the Court and local practitioners faced with admiralty issues.
The subcommittee ratified the Model Local Rules published by the Maritime Law Association of the United States as the framework. It then refined those rules to meet local practitioner needs and specifically explain procedural matters related to admiralty practice.
“Maritime law is a specialty pursued by very few attorneys,” says Mr. Murphy. “However, many attorneys can find themselves faced with matters falling within the admiralty jurisdiction of the federal court in the course of their practice. These rules will assist the Court, local attorneys and maritime commerce in addressing an area of the law that can be unfamiliar and overwhelming.”
One area in which Mr. Murphy expects the new rules will have a positive affect is the shipping industry, where multiple parties may be affected by maritime proceedings and must work quickly towards a resolution.
“In the shipping industry, time is of the essence,” explains Mr. Murphy. “When a ship about to leave for foreign shores must be arrested as security for outstanding maritime liens, it is very important that the lawyers, the clients, the U.S. Marshal, the court clerks and the judges all have a very clear consensus on the steps that must be followed. The local admiralty rules provide those extra guidelines.”
While some other major maritime law jurisdictions have adopted local admiralty rules, Rhode Island is only the second district in the First Circuit, after Puerto Rico, to do so.
Local maritime practitioners Michael Daly, Samuel Blatchley and Merlyn O’Keefe worked with Mr. Murphy on the subcommittee. Professor Jonathan Gutoff of Roger Williams School of law also contributed substantially.
About Hanson Curran LLP:
Hanson Curran LLP is a civil litigation defense firm in Providence, Rhode Island with a rich history of providing superior legal counsel to the region’s insurers, businesses, and non-profit organizations. The firm has been a leader in the Southern New England legal community since the early 1900s and continues to provide expert counsel to its clients through its unique combination of experience and innovation.
James T. Murphy is a maritime law practitioner and designated a Proctor in Admiralty by the Maritime Law Association of the United States.
To learn more about the firm, visit hansoncurran.com.