On December 29, 2023, the USCG issued Maritime Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB) 13-2023, Change 1, an updated version of MSIB 13-23, adding a Frequently Asked Questions section to the document addressing compliance with the Safer Seas Act which was passed in December of 2022.
Continue Reading USCG Updates Guidance on Safer Seas Act Compliance, Continuing to Show Strict Interpretation and Enforcement of Its Requirements

On November 13, 2023, the U.S. Coast Guard published Policy Letter 23-05 which provides the first actual guidance for vessel owners and operators on the expectations for the surveillance equipment that they are required to install and maintain under the Safer Seas Act, which became law in December 2022 as part of the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023.
Continue Reading USCG Issues First Guidance on Safer Seas Act Camera Requirements

The Louisiana Third Circuit recently affirmed a trial court discovery ruling that allowed the defendant to design its own e-discovery protocol without input from plaintiffs. In doing so, the Third Circuit bolstered the longstanding principle that trial courts have considerable discretion over discovery issues.
Continue Reading E-Discovery Update: Louisiana Third Circuit Affirms Defendant’s Authority to Govern Its Own E-Discovery Protocols

Louisiana shrimpers will need to comply with the NMFS rule requiring TED devices on skimmers 40 feet or greater in length. The rule went into effect in Louisiana waters on February 1, 2022, after a court granted a six-month preliminary injunction and while the state of Louisiana’s challenge to the rule was pending. The Fifth Circuit recently affirmed that the state of Louisiana does not have standing to challenge this TED rule and dismissed the suit.
Continue Reading Dismissal of Louisiana’s Challenge to TED Requirement for Shrimping Vessels in State Waters Affirmed

EPA administratively closed its Title VI investigations into whether LDEQ and LDH engaged in racial discrimination when issuing approvals for two Louisiana facilities. To find out more about how this impacts environmental justice considerations in Louisiana, read it on the Energy Law Blog.
Continue Reading EJ Evolution: EPA Closes Title VI Investigations into LDEQ and LDH

On June 16, the Texas Supreme Court considered the award of noneconomic damages in the amount of just over $15 million in a wrongful death case arising from a trucking accident. In a plurality opinion, the Court reversed and remanded for a new trial, holding that the jury’s discretion to make an award is limited and that noneconomic damages must be supported by evidence of the nature, duration, and severity of the injury to support both the existence and the amount of compensable loss. Additionally, the Court held that unsubstantiated arguments to the jury, such as comparisons of mental anguish to the cost of a fighter jet, a work of art, or miles driven by a defendant’s vehicles, are improper.
Continue Reading “Juries cannot simply pick a number and put it in the blank.” – Texas Supreme Court Remands Case Involving $15 Million Jury Award for Noneconomic Damages Where Award was Unsupported and Arguments to the Jury Unsubstantiated

On June 2, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed a district court’s order vacating the attachment of property under Rule B of the Supplemental Rules of Admiralty. The property at issue was seized in support of a time charterer’s claims pending in UK arbitration. The Third Circuit found that, in order to qualify as facially valid maritime claims for purposes of Rule B, the claims must be actually asserted and ready for adjudication. Applying English law to the claims, the Court held that while a claim for the breach of a charter party qualified, a claim for implied indemnity and a contingent breach of charter party claim did not.
Continue Reading Third Circuit Restores Rule B Attachment Based On Breach of Contract Claim Under English Law, Implied Indemnity Claim Not Enough

On June 8, 2023, the Ocean Policy Committee (composed of members from the Council on Environmental Quality and Office of Science and Technology Policy) published a Request for Information, seeking input on developing an “Ocean Justice Strategy.” This strategy will focus on environmental justice (“EJ”) concerns for communities residing near the ocean, coasts, and Great

The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Sackett v. EPA, No. 21-454 (May 25, 2023) is a landmark ruling in environmental law interpreting the scope of water bodies covered by the Clean Water Act (CWA) – an issue that has been debated by courts, presidential administrations, and federal agencies for decades. The Court’s ruling holds

What started in 2020 as a proposed joint rulemaking between the DOI’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (“BSEE”) and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (“BOEM”) was recently finalized as a stand-alone BSEE rule addressing decommissioning. BSEE’s new regulations focus on Rights-of-Use and Easements (“RUEs”) and predecessor enforcement practices. At a later date, BOEM intends