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Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and TransportationIntroducedJuly 15th, 2010
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Fairness in Admiralty and Maritime Law Act
A bill to amend the Jones Act and related statutes with respect to the liability of vessel owners and operators for damages.
Fairness in Admiralty and Maritime Law Act - Repeals specified general limitations on a shipowner's liability (the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851) for personal injury or death on seagoing vessels. Allows punitive damages to be assessed without regard to the amount of compensatory damages assessed in a civil maritime action for damages arising out of a maritime tort. Amends the Death on the High Seas Act to permit the personal representative of a decedent to bring a civil action in admiralty or law (limited to admiralty under current law) against the person or vessel responsible for the decedent's death when the death was caused by wrongful act, neglect, or default occurring on the high seas beyond three nautical miles from the shore of the United States. Limits the right to bring such action to the decedent's survivors, including spouse, parent, child, or dependent relative. Allows recovery in such an action for fair compensation for nonpecuniary loss (limited to pecuniary loss under current law), plus a fair compensation for the decedent's pain and suffering. Defines "nonpecuniary loss" as loss of care, comfort, and companionship. Amends the Jones Act to allow recovery for the loss of the care, comfort, and companionship of a seaman who died in the course of employment. Removes restrictions on the bringing of actions under U.S. maritime law by workers who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents against a mineral or energy company for personal injury or death occurring in the territorial waters or continental shelf of a foreign country.