In re Lockheed Martin Corp.

503 F.3d 351, 2007 AMC 3304 (2007)

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In re Lockheed Martin Corp.

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
503 F.3d 351, 2007 AMC 3304 (2007)

Facts

Lockheed Martin Corp. (defendant) owned a ship that was damaged at sea in 2001. The vessel was insured by National Casualty Company (National) (plaintiff). Lockheed submitted a claim to National for the damage in 2005. National filed a declaratory-judgment action under admiralty jurisdiction in federal district court, seeking a declaration that Lockheed’s claim was time-barred under the policy, or in the alternative a declaration of the amount of Lockheed’s loss. Because National’s claims were brought under admiralty jurisdiction, the parties were not entitled to a jury trial. Lockheed filed a counterclaim seeking payment of its insurance claim. Lockheed requested that National’s claim for a declaratory determination of the amount of the loss be dismissed so that Lockheed’s counterclaim, which raised the same issue, could be brought before a jury. The district court concluded that Lockheed’s claim was not time-barred under the provisions of the insurance policy and therefore dismissed National’s first declaratory request. The court further held that Lockheed did not have a right to a jury trial and declined to dismiss National’s second request for declaratory relief. Lockheed filed a writ of mandamus to challenge the court’s denial of its right to a jury trial.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Traxler, J.)

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