A general appearance can be defined as one made by a party who comes into court and appears in the case in any manner except for the specific purpose of challenging the jurisdiction of the court over the defendant’s person. An appearance is special when the defendant appears for the purpose of objecting to the jurisdiction of the court over the defendant’s person, and confines the appearance solely to that question of jurisdiction.
The Supplemental Admiralty Rules to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure apply to the procedure for admiralty and maritime claims. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure contains a provision that no defense or objection is waived by being joined with one or more other defenses or objections in a responsive pleading or motion. On the basis of the above provision in the Federal Rules, the admiralty courts have dispensed with the technical rule in common law that a general appearance waives jurisdictional objections and that an answer to the merits supersedes a special appearance.