An injured seaman has the availability of a judicially created maritime cause of action for maintenance and cure, or for unseaworthiness, or a cause of action under the Merchant Marine Act (a.k.a. the Jones Act). This article looks at jurisdictional and jury trial issues involving suits by injured seaman. The injured seaman's right to a jury trial differs depending on whether admiralty jurisdiction or jurisdiction in an action at law is invoked in cases where a maritime cause of action for maintenance and cure, or for unseaworthiness, is joined with a cause of action under the Jones Act. In an action at law, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that these types of cases must be submitted to a jury when the causes of action arise out of the same set of facts. On the law side, the courts have pendent jurisdiction over the maritime claims. However, in an action under admiralty, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that an injured seaman has no right to a jury trial in these types of cases. On the admiralty side, unlike maritime claims that can be in rem or in personam, Jones Act claims cannot be in personam. Although case law recounted in the article has clarified certain aspects of injured seaman's rights, the author concludes that many questions remain unanswered.
The Seaman's Personal Injury Action and the Jury Trial,
San Diego L. Rev.
Available at: https://digital.sandiego.edu/sdlr/vol2/iss1/3