Admiralty–Torts–Recovery Permitted for Mental Suffering of Surviving Spouse in Death Action Under General Maritime Law–In re Sincere Navigation Corp.

A recent federal district court decision, In re Sincere Navigation Corp. allowed recovery for the emotional distress of the spouse and the children of a seaman killed in a collision on the Mississippi River ·within the territorial waters of Louisiana. The action for ·wrongful death was brought under general maritime law through a new federal remedy first announced in Moragne v. States Marine Lines, lnc. Moragne did not specifically enumerate the elements of damage for which recovery would be allowed; instead it left the question open for consideration in later decisions. Whether any recovery was permitted under general maritime law for mental pain and suffering alleged by the surviving spouse or parent of a seaman was the question presented in Sincere. It is submitted that the court acted unwisely in answering this question affirmatively; that awards for mental suffering were not contemplated by Moragne