US Prestige ruling reversed

A US appeals court has reversed the dismissal of the $1Bn suit against American Bureau of Shipping by Spain, which is seeking compensation for the 2002 sinking of the Prestige.

New York District Court Judge Laura Swain had decided in favour of class society ABS in January 2008, ruling that Spain sought damages under the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage and since the US was not a signatory, a US court had no jurisdiction. On Friday, the US 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals vacated Swain’s decision, ruling that a federal court is not necessarily deprived of jurisdiction because America had not ratified the treaty. The panel also ruled on a cross-appeal by ABS, which sought a reinstatement of counterclaims against Spain for contributory negligence. Ruling for ABS, the appeals panel remanded those claims for further proceedings.

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