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Contracts Embracing both Maritime and Nonmaritime Matters

Admiralty will not exercise jurisdiction over an instrument containing both maritime and some nonmaritime provisions which are so interrelated as to be indivisible and to render a separate adjustment of those that are maritime impracticable.  However, where the respective provisions of the contract are divisible and the maritime obligations may be separately adjudicated, admiralty may take jurisdiction and enforce them.  Therefore, the mere fact that the contract covers a subject-matter of both kinds is not decisive.  The substantial question is whether the maritime obligations can be separately enforced without prejudice to the rest.  In determining whether or not admiralty jurisdiction is applicable to the contract in suit, the court must look to the nature and subject matter of the contract.[i]

Admiralty jurisdiction over contracts partly maritime and partly non-maritime in nature is doubtful.  However, admiralty has jurisdiction over separable maritime provisions of a contract not wholly maritime.[ii]

[i] Kuehne & Nagel (AG & Co.) v. Geosource, 625 F. Supp. 794 (S.D. Tex. 1986)

[ii] O. Maire, Inc. v. The Yaka, 79 F. Supp. 659 (D.N.Y. 1948)

Inside Contracts Embracing both Maritime and Nonmaritime Matters