Jurisdictional Effect

The saving to suitors clause permits a party to pursue an in personam maritime claim in a state court through an ordinary civil action seeking a common law remedy.  State and federal courts have concurrent jurisdiction over this common law remedy.  Although state courts do not have jurisdiction over in rem maritime actions, the courts can adopt such remedies and attach such incidents as they see fit, without making changes to substantive maritime law.  The saving to suitor clause is an exception to the exclusive admiralty or maritime jurisdiction of federal courts.  However, the jurisdiction of state courts does not exclude the admiralty jurisdiction of federal courts.         

A proceeding in a state court cannot be objected to on the ground that the cause of action is maritime in nature.  However, admiralty and maritime claims brought under the savings to suitors clause are not removable to a federal court unless there exists some independent basis of federal jurisdiction.[i]

[i]Vitale v. Longshore Sailing Sch., Inc. (In re Longshore Sailing Sch., Inc.), 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4099 (D. Conn. Jan. 19, 2010)


Inside Jurisdictional Effect