Duluth Superior Excursions v. Makela

623 F.2d 1251 (1980)

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Duluth Superior Excursions v. Makela

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
623 F.2d 1251 (1980)

Facts

Flamingo Excursions, Inc. (Flamingo) and Duluth Superior Excursions, Inc. (Duluth) (plaintiffs) hosted a booze cruise, that is, a cruise with alcohol, on the S.S. Flamingo. Flamingo owned the vessel, and Duluth operated it. Joseph Makela (defendant) took the booze cruise. Shortly after disembarking, Makela was hit by a car driven by another person who had attended the event. The accident occurred approximately six minutes after the S.S. Flamingo had docked. Makela engaged an attorney who sent notice to Flamingo and Duluth that Makela planned to bring a tort action against the companies in state court. Flamingo and Duluth then filed an action in federal district court arguing that the Shipowner’s Limitation of Liability Act, a federal statute, limited their liability for any state-law tort claim made by Makela. Makela then filed his suit in state court, alleging that his injury was caused by the inadequate supervision of the S.S. Flamingo’s passengers, who became intoxicated on the cruise. While Makela’s claim in state court was pending, the district court dismissed Flamingo and Duluth’s action, finding that the district court lacked admiralty jurisdiction to hear the action. Flamingo and Duluth appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Bright, J.)

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