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Flag of convenience rules/ scenario

Discuss the public law and private law ramifications for DWI in this situation. How would the legalities be different if the incident happened at a DWI resort on the US mainland? What should DWI do for Mrs. Lowell, and in terms of developing policies for future criminal incidents?

All ships owned by DWI are flagged in the Bahamas and Liberia. The "flag of convenience" rules have both public law and private law implications. Private law comes into play in the employer-employee, passenger contract, and cargo contract obligations of the ship. Public law also interfaces with these rules in that ships and companies pick and choose flags of convenience for individual ships based upon liability concerns such as negligence, contractual, labor, customs, immigration, and/or environmental laws.
The "flag of convenience" arrangement, also known as foreign registries, offered by the Bahamas, Liberia, Panama and other countries, permit ship owners to avoid most of the wage and labor laws of the United States. A ship is subject to liability as if it were "within" the country whose flag it flies. DWI's passenger tickets and contracts also make reference to this fact that all claims by passengers or employees must be litigated in and under the law of the country whose flag the ship in question flies.
Mr. and Mrs. Lowell were passengers on one of DWI's smaller cruise ships, The Minnow, for a weeklong journey from Miami, with stops in Nassau, Key West, and Grand Cayman. The Minnow flies the flag of Liberia. One night during the cruise, the Howells returned to their cabin and find two ship employees removing cash and Mrs. Lowell's jewelry from the ship-provided safe. Mr. Lowell struggled with the men, but he collapsed and suffered a fatal heart attack. Mrs. Lowell was locked inside the cabin restroom and the robbers escaped. A few hours later, the ship docked in Grand Cayman, and the two robbers left the ship with the cash and jewelry stolen from the Lowell's safe; the robbers did not return to the ship. Mrs. Lowell was rescued several hours after the ship left Grand Cayman and identified the two employees in a photo lineup.
The day after her return to Miami, Mrs. Lowell's attorney faxed DWI a letter threatening to sue them for negligent supervision, training, and hiring of employees; breach of contract; infliction of emotional distress; assault; battery; theft; and wrongful death unless DWI tendered the sum of $10 Million dollars within 10 business days.
Assume that under Liberian law, a wife is the property of the husband and has no standing to sue or claim damages for his injuries, and further that any property within the possession of Husband and Wife is deemed to be the sole property of the husband.
Discuss the public law and private law ramifications for DWI in this situation. How would the legalities be different if the incident happened at a DWI resort on the US mainland? What should DWI do for Mrs. Lowell, and in terms of developing policies for future criminal incidents?

Solution Preview

Hi

I hope that the following will help develop your answer.

You have a couple of issues here that will determine the outcome:

1) Righ to Bring Suit
2) Jurisdiction
3) Venue
4) Choice of Law

Rigt to Bring Suit
I assume that the Lowell's are citizens of the United States. If such is true Mrs. Lowell has the right to sue in the federal courts if jurisdiction is proven, they likewise can sue DWI in their state court if jurisdiction is proven. When a person is dead, US law generally recignizes that their legal estate can represent the deceased's interests. Whether Mrs. Law would be barred from bringing suit under LIberian law depednds on whether Liberian law applies (see below). What is not clear is the citizenship of the corporation DWI. In US Courts, corporations have the same rights to sue and be sued as natural persons. You are not given whether DWI is a US Corporation of foreign one. Assuming that a DWI is a foreign corporation because it flew the flag of LIberia in the scenario is likely a fair assumption.

Jurisdiction
THere are two types of jurisdiction that must be established:
a) Subject Matter Jurisdiction
b) Personal jurisdiction

Subject Matter Jurisdiction (Assuming DWI is a foreign corp)
Only US federal courts have ...

Solution Summary

Flag of convenience rules/ scenario is modeled.

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