Michael Felarise and Penny Felarise v. Cheramie Marine LLC


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[B]Case Name: [/B]Michael Felarise and Penny Felarise v. Cheramie Marine LLC.
[B]Date Decided: [/B]January 26, 2010
[B]Court: [/B]U.S.D.C. Eastern District of Louisiana
[B]Judge: [/B]Judge Lemmon
[B]Citation: [/B]2010 WL 375229 (E.D.La.)[B]Background:
[/B]Plaintiffs, Michael and Penny Felarise filed this action seeking damages sustained as a result of a boating accident.

Michael Felarise alleged he suffered total and permanent disability, grievous physical and mental anguish, loss of bodily function, and embarrassment. Penny Felarise also contended she is entitled to loss of consortium.

Cheramie Marine filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that a spouse of a non-seafearer cannot recover non-pecuniary damages in a personal injury action for injuries sustained in state territorial waters.

[B]Issue:
[/B]Can the spouse of a non-seafarer recover non-pecuniary damages in a personal injury action for injuries sustained in state territorial waters?

[B]Held:
[/B]This Court examined the holding in [I]Yahama[/I] (where a 12-year old vacationer was killed in Puerto Rican waters, when her personal watercraft slammed into an anchored vessel) The Court in [I]Yamaha[/I], (116 S.Ct. 619) - held that in regards to non-seaman, longshoremen, or engaged in a maritime trade, because Congress has not prescribed remedies for their wrongful deaths in territorial waters, state law [I]may supplement [/I]the general maritime law in cases involving the deaths of non-seafarers in territorial waters.

This Court found that because Penny seeks non-pecuniary damages for her husband’s injuries, that occurred while he was engaged in recreation in state territorial waters, then the action should not be dismissed.

[B]Comment:
Jones Act seaman, longshoremen covered under the LHWCA, and those engaged in traditional maritime activities,* are prescribed statutory remedies prescribed by Congress (or under general maritime law). [/B]

[B]As such, if the comprehensive recovery scheme does not allow for certain kinds of damages, the plaintiff(s) may not supplement damages with state law.[/B]

[B]However, when someone is injured in State territorial waters while engaged in recreation, it is possible they may recover under state law, including non-pecuniary damages.[/B]

[B]Steve Gordon [/B]

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