Costs and Fees

Generally, attorneys’ fees are not available in admiralty cases unless the court determines that one party acted in bad faith.  Equity principles applicable in admiralty permit attorney fees if there is a factual finding of callous disregard and indifference of the party against whom the fees are allowed.[i]

Upon filing of the complaint or on the appearance of any defendant, claimant, or any other party, the court can require such parties to provide some form of security.  Additionally, a court can direct a party to pay all costs and expenses that would be awarded against the party by any interlocutory order, final judgment, or on appeal by any appellate court.[ii]

In addition to providing security, the costs and charges of the court and its officers must be paid to the marshal before the release of any vessel, cargo or other property which is in the custody of marshal.[iii] Similarly, in possessory, petitory, and partition actions, the property arrested can only be released by court order and on the giving of security prescribed by the court.[iv] However, the court can reduce the amount of security needed, if some good cause is shown on motion and hearing.  But if the surety becomes insufficient, new or additional securities can be required on motion and hearing.[v]

[i] Del. River Tow, LLC v. Nelson, 382 F. Supp. 2d 710 (E.D. Pa. 2005)

[ii] USCS Admiralty and Maritime Claims R E

[iii] USCS Admiralty and Maritime Claims R E(5)(c)

[iv] USCS Admiralty and Maritime Claims R E(5)(d)

[v] USCS Admiralty and Maritime Claims R E(6)


Inside Costs and Fees