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US court quashes US Navy sailors' lawsuit in NYK collision

A NEW ORLEANS federal court ruled the sailors, either killed or injured aboard the USS Fitzgerald after a June 17, 2017 collision with the 2,854-TEU ACX Crystal did not have jurisdiction to sue Japanese shipowner NYK and dismissed their complaint

17 June 2020 - 19:06

A NEW ORLEANS federal court ruled the sailors, either killed or injured aboard the USS Fitzgerald after a June 17, 2017 collision with the 2,854-TEU ACX Crystal did not have jurisdiction to sue Japanese shipowner NYK and dismissed their complaint.

'NYK Line's contacts with the United States are not so continuous and systematic as to render this an exceptional case in which a nonresident corporation is essentially 'at home' in a place other than its place of incorporation or principal place of business,' wrote Judge Lance Africk.



'NYK Line cannot be deemed 'at home' in every country where it conducts business,' he said, reported Oslo's Trade Winds.Forty-two injured sailors and the families of seven deceased sailors sued NYK Line in New Orleans federal court in November 2019, seeking more than US$260 million in damages on the collision with the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer 77 nautical miles southwest of Tokyo.



The families of the deceased sued under the Death on the High Seas Act, alleging the small containership did not abide by rules and failed to blast its horn five times and never attempted to evade the warship.



The sailors' attorney, David Schloss of Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis, said they intend to appeal. He said that NYK applied a 'double standard' by litigating matters in US courts, then arguing they cannot be subject to them.


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