Indemnity and Contribution Under Maritime Law
37 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2010
Date Written: June 1, 1981
Indemnity and contribution are methods by which the law allocates and distributes loss. Between 1952 and 1974, the maritime law abandoned contribution in personal injury and death litigation and, in its stead, adopted.an artificial form of indemnity that inhibited loss distribution based on either commercial agreement or equitable principles. Since the early 1970's, however, there have been significant statutory and decisional changes in the maritime law which have changed indemnity and contribution rights.
Any discussion of indemnity and contribution in maritime personal injury and death cases necessarily involves consideration of Halcyon Lines v. Haenn Ship Ceiling & Refitting Corp. and Ryan Stevedoring Co. v. Pan-Atlantic Steamship Corp. Yet the story neither begins nor ends with these decisions. This article discusses the origins and development of indemnity and contribution in the maritime law governing personal injury and death. It concludes with the suggestion that the courts adopt comparative fault contribution in those maritime personal injury and death cases not governed by statute or by express contract provisions allocating loss.
Keywords: indemnity, contribution rights, maritime law, loss distribution, commercial agreement, equitable principles, personal injury cases, death cases, Halcyon Lines v. Haenn Ship Ceiling & Refitting Corp., Ryan Stevedoring Co. v. Pan-Atlantic Steamship Corp., comparative fault contribution
JEL Classification: K19, K29, K39, L92
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation