top of page

U.S. Supreme Court enforces New York choice-of-law provision in contract of marine insurance

In Great Lakes Insurance v. Raiders Retreat Realty, the U.S. Supreme Court held that choice-of-law provisions in maritime contracts are presumptively enforceable under federal maritime law, with narrow exceptions not applicable to the contract of marine insurance between the parties in this case.


Great Lakes was organized in Germany and headquartered in the United Kingdom, and Raiders was headquartered in Pennsylvania.  The parties’ marine insurance contract selected New York law to govern future disputes. 


Raiders’ yacht subsequently ran aground in Florida. Great Lakes denied coverage for the incident and filed a related declaratory judgment action in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The District Court enforced the New York choice-of-law provision and rejected Raiders’ Pennsylvania-law contract claims. The Third Circuit recognized the presumption of enforceability of choice-of-law provisions in maritime contract but held that presumption must yield to the strong public policy of the State where the suit is brought.


The U.S. Supreme Court disagreed, reversed the Third Circuit and held that the District Court was correct to enforce the New York choice-of-law provision.

A copy of the decision is below:

Great Lakes v. Raiders
Download PDF • 149KB

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


Adam Davis Law Firm.


bottom of page