Christopher Garris (Decedent) died from injuries sustained while working for Norfolk Shipbuilding and Drydock Corporation (Norfolk) and Decedent’s mother sued Norfolk for negligence.
A plaintiff cannot be precluded from bringing a wrongful death action for a breach of duty where a law prescribes remedies for a breach of duty to act.
Christopher Garris’ mother sued Norfolk Shipbuilding and Drydock Corporation on charges of negligence after Garris died from injuries sustained working on the ship. Because Decedent’s injuries occurred while he was working on the ship, damages were claimed based on general maritime law. The District Court granted judgment for Norfolk claiming that charges for wrongful death as a result of negligence under general maritime law is impermissible. The Circuit Court of Appeals reversed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Whether a plaintiff can be precluded from bringing a wrongful death action for a breach of duty where a law prescribes remedies for a breach of duty to act?
Norfolk Shipbuilding and Drydock Corporation (Defendant) claims that wrongful death actions caused by a breach of maritime duties do not extend to death caused by negligence. Moragne v. States Marine Lines, Inc., 398 U.S. 375 (1970) held that general maritime law provides relief for the death caused by breach of maritime duties. Moragne does not preclude actions for wrongful death caused by negligence under general maritime law. The judgment of the Circuit Court of Appeals is confirmed.