The Jones Act, which forbids coastwise trade in goods or passengers between American ports except in U.S.-made, U.S.-staffed, U.S.-owned vessels, has developed into a quintessential special interest law. It’s why Maryland and Virginia “bring in road salt from Chile rather than Ohio;” why Jacksonville, Fla. relies on coal from Colombia rather than U.S. sources; and why the economies of Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Guam are perpetually hobbled by high input costs. [Malia Blom Hill, Capital Research Center] Does it at least strengthen U.S. defense by preserving a defense-relevant merchant marine sector? The signs on that aren’t good either. [Eftychis John Gregos-Mourginakis and Joshua Jacobs, NRO; followup]
“Francesco Schettino, former captain of the Costa Concordia, has sued, claiming wrongful termination from his job after the accident, according to his lawyer.” [L.A. Times] “As you may recall, there were a few questions about whether Schettino’s conduct was entirely up to snuff on the night of the accident. First, there was the whole running-into-a-rock problem, of course, but he was also criticized for then fleeing the ship before all the passengers were evacuated.” [Lowering the Bar]
“A New York lawyer busted a trio of Hungarian scammers trying to fake the death of a 5-year-old girl and her mom aboard the Costa Concordia cruise ship. … ‘Even after they were busted, they said “we would have gotten away with it” if the neighbor [posing as a grandmother] hadn’t embellished the story and said the girl was missing too,’ [attorney Peter] Ronai said.” [NY Daily News] “‘They’re called “jump-ons.” It’s normal, this is just on a grander scale,’ Ronai said. ‘People will do horrible things for money.’” [UPI]
Carnival Cruise Lines bans “cougar” trips [Miami Herald/Orlando Sentinel]
A Southfield, Mich. company named Park West has made a big business of conducting art auctions on cruise ships offshore, while leaving more than a few dissatisfied customers in its wake. Fine Art Registry, a subscriber website founded by Theresa Franks, has published some of those customer complaints as well as original articles warning of Park West’s practices. “In April the company sued Ms. Franks; Fine Art Registry’s lead writer, David Phillips; and a Dalí specialist that the site quoted, Bruce Hochman, for defamation.” And as so often proves to be the case when a business reacts to criticism by suing its critics, the suit has if anything stimulated further press curiosity about the business’s practices. (Jori Finkel, “Art Auctions on Cruise Ships Lead to Anger, Accusations and Lawsuits”, New York Times, Jul. 16). More: Donn Zaretsky, Art Law Blog.
That’s attorney Gloria Allred’s complaint on behalf of the survivors of Ashley Barnett, who appears to have ingested Vicodin, methadone or some combination of the two while onboard the ship. Carnival says the late Ms. Barnett “was deceased well before medical assistance was summoned”. (Lisa Richardson, “Death on Ship Prompts Lawsuit”, Los Angeles Times, Oct. 13). Commenters at KevinMD do not appear impressed with the suit (Oct. 13).