This comment compares the Ninth Circuit's holding with the approaches other courts have taken regarding loss of society damages and the dependency rule for awarding such recovery in maritime wrongful death actions. This comment concludes that, although the Ninth Circuit's decision was an empathetic attempt at developing the law of maritime damages, the holding's glaring conflict with the spirit of the maritime remedial statutory scheme is exemplary of a growing problem in maritime law. Specifically, as judges struggle to keep the rules of admiralty current with common law developments outside the maritime context, the separation of judge-made doctrine from Congressional policy widens within admiralty jurisdiction, thereby creating new and greater anomalies in admiralty uniformity, more uncertainty for admiralty practitioners, and unfair results for some maritime tort victims.
Arthur F. Mead Ill,
Admiralty Law - Are Seamen Still The "Wards of Admiralty"? Sutton v. Earles: Ninth Circuit Extends Loss of Society Damages To Non-dependent Parents of Non-seamen In Maritime Wrongful Death Action, 25 Golden Gate U. L. Rev.