The Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code provides that the laws of Texas apply to maritime cases to the extent that they are not inconsistent with federal admiralty laws. This means that when a maritime case is brought to a Texas state court, the court will apply Texas law in conjunction with federal admiralty law, unless there is a conflict. In case of a conflict, federal admiralty law will prevail.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Code sets forth regulations regarding the operation, equipment, and registration of vessels on Texas waters. It includes provisions for the safety of the public and the environment, such as rules for the prevention of accidents and the operation of vessels to avoid injury. While not exclusively an admiralty law, it is applicable to maritime activities within Texas navigable waters and can intersect with maritime law cases, particularly those involving personal injury or property damage.
The Texas Natural Resources Code governs the exploration and production of oil and gas in the state of Texas, including operations that may take place offshore within state territorial waters. It includes provisions for leasing, drilling, and production, as well as environmental protections. When maritime activities involve the oil and gas industry, such as on drilling rigs or platforms, this code may be relevant to any legal claims or disputes arising from those activities.
The Texas Transportation Code contains statutes that regulate the navigation of waterways within the state, including the marking of channels, removal of obstructions, and the operation of vessels. It is designed to ensure safe and efficient transportation on Texas waters. These regulations are relevant to maritime law as they can affect the rights and responsibilities of parties involved in navigation and shipping, and may come into play in maritime legal disputes.
28 U.S.C. § 1333 grants federal district courts original jurisdiction over any civil case of admiralty or maritime jurisdiction, any case relating to any prize brought into the United States, and any seizure under laws of import, export, navigation, or trade of the United States, where the seizure is made on waters navigable from the sea by vessels of ten or more tons burden. The 'saving to suitors' clause in this statute preserves the right of litigants to pursue common law remedies in state courts, allowing for in personam actions (against a person) to be brought in state courts, while still recognizing the federal courts' jurisdiction over in rem actions (against a vessel).
46 U.S.C. § 30101 extends the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction to include all cases of damage or injury, to person or property, caused by a vessel on navigable water, even if the injury or damage is done or consummated on land. This provision ensures that federal admiralty law covers incidents where the nexus of the injury or damage is related to maritime activity, even if the actual harm occurs ashore.
46 U.S.C. § 30104, commonly known as the Jones Act, allows a seaman who suffers personal injury in the course of employment to bring a civil action at law, with the right to trial by jury, against the employer. Claims under the Jones Act are based on negligence and require the seaman to prove that the employer's negligence played a role in the injury. This statute is a significant part of maritime law as it provides protections to seamen that are not typically available under general maritime law, which does not allow for jury trials or the same level of damages.
Under 46 U.S.C. § 30501, seamen who are injured while serving on a vessel are entitled to maintenance and cure from their employers. 'Maintenance' refers to a daily living allowance for food and lodging similar to what the seaman would have received while at sea, and 'cure' refers to medical treatment until maximum medical recovery is achieved. This obligation is irrespective of fault and is rooted in the shipowner's duty to provide for the seaman's well-being while in the ship's service.
46 U.S.C. § 30505, known as the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA), permits recovery for the death of an individual caused by wrongful act, neglect, or default occurring on the high seas beyond 3 nautical miles from the shore of the United States. The act allows the personal representative of the deceased to bring a civil action in admiralty to recover just compensation for the decedent's spouse, children, or dependent relatives. The recovery is limited to pecuniary losses, which include loss of support, services, lost inheritance, and funeral expenses.
46 U.S.C. § 30511 states that in cases where the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction is concurrent with that of the states, a party may demand a trial by jury to the extent that the law of the state provides for a jury trial in similar cases. This statute is relevant in the context of the 'saving to suitors' clause, as it clarifies the circumstances under which jury trials are available for maritime claims when they are brought in state courts or under state law.