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Restricted Appearances

A party may appear to defend against an admiralty or maritime claim in which, in rem process or process of attachment and garnishment has been issued.  Any such appearance will not be considered as appearance for the purposes of any other claim in which in rem process or process of attachment and garnishment is not available.

A restricted appearance thwarts it from becoming a basis for in personam jurisdiction.  It does not prevent the court from obtaining in personam jurisdiction by other available means.  However, restricted appearance may not be entered by plaintiff to evade from being made personally liable on counterclaims.

In Teyseer Cement Co. v. Halla Maritime Corp., 794 F.2d 472 (9th Cir. Wash. 1986), plaintiffs were residents of Qatar who contracted with defendant, for the shipment of raw cement from South Korea to Qatar aboard a vessel that was under a time charter to defendant.  Defendant’s bill of lading contained a clause for selecting foreign court which provided that disputes would be litigated only in South Korea.  The ship sank and all the cement was lost.  In dismissing the plaintiff’s admiralty action for being moot, the court stated that “the language of Rule E(8) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Supplemental Rules for Certain Admiralty and Maritime Claims permits a defendant to restrict its appearance to the defense of the claim as to which there has issued process of attachment and garnishment. The court has no reason to question the validity of restricted appearances, which have long been a part of admiralty proceedings.”

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