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Emailing notice of limitation action to injured deckhand's attorney insufficient

The owner of the fishing vessel CAPT. MICHAEL II filed a limitation of liability action in Galveston federal court for a mooring incident that injured the vessel’s deckhand. The deckhand was standing at the stern of the vessel attempting to release a line when he was struck in the head by a block. The vessel owner asked the court to limit its liability to the value of the vessel which was about $500,000.

At the request of the vessel owner, the court issued an order that all claimants were required to file a claim by June 30, 2023 or be defaulted. Before the deadline, the vessel owner’s counsel emailed the notice to counsel for the deckhand. The deckhand did not file a timely claim so the vessel owner moved to default the deckhand.

The court denied the vessel owner’s request for default. The court held that emailing the notice to the deckhand’s counsel was insufficient. There was no evidence that the attorney was authorized to accept service on behalf of the deckhand, and, even if there was, the vessel owner was required to mail the notice. The court held that email is insufficient under the federal rules.

Here is a copy of the decision:

In re Captain Michael
Download PDF • 103KB

Please feel free to reach out at (504) 553-1435 or if you have any questions or would like to discuss.


Adam Davis Law Firm


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