The true impact of the COVID-19 crisis on commercial transport has been felt from the onset of the pandemic; however, the gravity of that impact has manifested itself across borders and even on a local level. This article provides a general overview of the changes that have occurred in light of the recent health crisis and the continued efforts that the trucking industry is implementing to respond appropriately.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Coast Guard has released a series of marine safety information bulletins to keep the marine industry informed and provide guidance for the continued safe operation of the maritime transportation system. The bulletins detail key maritime issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, including reporting requirements for illness or death, vessel inspections, exams, documentation and federal drug testing requirements.
The US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently confirmed the Dorion test for determining whether a contract is a maritime contract and extended the test to all mixed service contracts. Whether a contract is 'maritime' is a vital distinction for anyone operating in the maritime or offshore industries in the United States, as it can have far-reaching implications with respect to governing law, risk allocation and the enforceability of contractual indemnity provisions.
In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court has precluded the recovery of punitive damages for unseaworthiness claims. This decision conclusively resolves a long-running split between federal appellate courts and settles a source of uncertainty in the US maritime industry. With this question resolved, vessel owners and maritime employers are better positioned to assess their exposure for personal injuries and can now arrange the necessary insurance coverages to manage the risks.
New Jersey's 'no-fault' automobile insurance scheme has been the subject of repeated reforms over the past 40 years. It aims to strike an appropriate balance between providing accident victims with prompt compensation for accident-related losses and reducing insurance costs for the motoring public at large. In a recent decision with potentially far-reaching implications, the New Jersey Supreme Court rejected the validity of an entire category of damages in motor vehicle accident suits.