Admiralty and Maritime Litigation

Admiralty and Maritime Litigation

Simms Showers’ maritime practice is international and includes:

  • Vessel arrest;
  • Maritime attachment;
  • Container leasing;
  • Maritime bankruptcy;
  • Jones Act litigation;
  • Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act litigation; and
  • General maritime litigation.

Vessel Arrest and Maritime Attachment

Simms Showers is very active in the area of vessel arrest and maritime attachment. The Firm averages three national or international vessel arrests or attachments each month.

We have achieved significant costs savings for our clients by assembling groups of creditors to share arrest costs; maintaining a network of experienced local counsel in the United States and internationally; utilizing electronic data transfer, databases and a network of other sources for vessel tracking; working with maritime factors; and familiarizing ourselves with the arrest procedures of every major United States port.

We have to date recovered over US $50 million for clients as the result of successful ship arrests and maritime attachments throughout the world, including in India, Chile, Japan, Canada, the Panama Canal, the Canary Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the United States.

Simms Showers is able to arrest vessels and attach assets anywhere in the United States, and in many international jurisdictions, on very short notice.

Container Lessors

Simms Showers is recognized as one of the nation’s leading firms representing international intermodal container lessors. The Firm represents container lessors in all aspects of their leasing business. Its close familiarity with the container leasing industry enables the Firm to promote the interests of its container leasing clients with notable and proven success and economy.

We achieved the first reported opinion from a United States court to determine the legal standard for post-petition “use and benefit” of marine containers under 11 U.S.C. §365(d)(10). Mr. Simms was responsible for the first reported opinion from a United States court to declare that the failure to return maritime containers could constitute a maritime tort, thereby providing container lessors with a basis to arrest vessels in execution on maritime liens.

Maritime Bankruptcy

Simms Showers has been involved in every major United States and international maritime bankruptcy since 1985, including Navieras de Puerto Rico, Commodore Cruise Lines, Premier Cruise Lines, Lykes Brothers, US Lines, ABC Containerlines, CAVN, Regency Cruises, Netumar, Baltic Shipping, Bolt-Orient, Saguenay Shipping, Topgallant, and Meridian. The Firm’s noted opinions include the first to determine who is an “officer” under 11 U.S.C. § 101(31) for the purpose of recovering preferences under United States bankruptcy laws.

Casualty Litigation and Investigation

Simms Showers’ work includes a range of successful representations of individuals and companies in connection with personal injury, property, and cargo damage.

We lead the successful defense of stevedores, intermodal carriers, packing companies, and others involved in the intermodal movement of goods and cargo, against claims of cargo loss or damage. We are familiar with the complex workings of modern intermodal transportation and the laws affecting bills of lading, package limitation, tariffs, and insurance and surveying, all of which frequently come to bear in claims of cargo shortage or loss.

Our personal injury practice is unique in that it represents both plaintiffs and defendants, giving the Firm significant experience on both sides of litigation. When representing a plaintiff, Simms Showers can better understand the defendant’s side (and vice versa), whereas other firms that focus exclusively on representing either plaintiffs or defendants have more limited experience.

We represent individual plaintiffs in significant maritime personal injury matters, including Jones Act seamen. The Firm achieved the first opinion from any United States court (the Maryland Court of Special Appeals) declaring a seaman’s remedy when an employer unjustifiably withholds maintenance and cure payments.

The Firm has successfully defended its maritime clients against a number of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act cases, Jones Act cases, and other significant personal injury claims. Simms Showers’ notable defenses include:

  • A Baltimore harbor water taxi which capsized, causing multiple deaths and serious injuries;
  • A tug company involved in one of the most serious maritime collisions on the East Coast;
  • A pleasure craft owner involved in the decapitation death of Francis Ford Coppola’s son on the South River near Annapolis.

Complex Maritime Business Litigation

We combine our maritime expertise with our experience in complex civil and bankruptcy litigation to handle significant maritime business litigation matters. The Firm has defended an antitrust action between two maritime companies involving claims exceeding US $150 million, and a judgment against marine casualty insurer of US $1.4 million.