Lawsuits over Baltimore bridge collapse likely, though limited, lawyers say

Lawsuits over Baltimore bridge collapse likely, though limited, lawyers say

The owner, operator, and charterer of the container ship that struck Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge on Tuesday ( Mar 26 ) are likely to face legal action for its collapse and the injuries, but legal experts claim US maritime law could limit the companies ‘ liability.

According to three constitutional authorities, US laws governing open-water tracking and shipping, which are crafted through court choices and by acts of Congress, could limit the types of lawsuits brought against the registered owner of the Singapore-flagged fleet, Grace Ocean Pte Ltd, its boss Synergy Marine Group, and its charterer Maersk, as well as the limits the amounts they may be required to pay, according to three legal experts.

On the possibility of litigation, Synergy and Maersk’s representatives declined to comment. Contacting a representative for Grace Ocean was unsuccessful.

According to Martin Davies, director of the Maritime Law Center at Tulane University School of Law, the economic damages the city of Baltimore suffered from the closure of the port, which is the busiest port for car shipments in the US, or by businesses that rely on it and the now-collapsed bridge, wo n’t be recovered through litigation.

According to Davies and other experts, US courts have interpreted a 1927 US Supreme Court decision to mean that any purely economic damages resulting from maritime incidents cannot be recovered from the ship’s owners and operators.

Instead, lawsuits would be limited to those resulting from accidents, deaths, and other property losses, such as those brought by government organizations.

According to the experts, the lawsuits are likely to be filed in federal court. The plaintiffs said they may also request a federal judge to “arrest” the ship and stop it from leaving the court system while the litigation is raging, according to the lawsuits.