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SUPREME COURT REFUSES TO HEAR CASE FOR LOSS OF CONSORTIUM ON HIGH SEAS

March 29, 2010 – The Supreme Court of the United States has rejected a petition to decide whether or not the spouses of non seamen injured on the high seas may make a claim for loss of consortium. Denying a writ of certiorari, the Court let stand the Eighth Circuit Federal Appellate Court’s decision that the General Maritime Law does not allow recovery of loss-of-consortium damages for injuries to non seamen outside of state territorial waters. The Supreme Court did not issue a final decision, it simply chose not to accept the issue for review at this time. The Eighth Circuit noted that spouses of Jones Act seamen are not permitted to collect such damages. The Eighth Circuit’s decision, Doyle v. Graske, 579 F3d 898 (2009), is in agreement with the Fifth and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In many cases, spouses of non seamen injured within State territorial waters, (3 miles), may recover for loss of consortium damages.