Trial

In admiralty cases, litigants are entitled to a trial by the court except in some circumstances.  In an action tried by a jury, reference to a master may be made, when the issues are complicated.  Burden of proof always rests on the party who has an affirmative issue.  The party has to prove the issue by a preponderance of the evidence.

Although a defendant is entitled to a jury trial of its counterclaims, s/he cannot obtain a jury trial by asserting a non admiralty defense.  In a nonadmiralty action, a plaintiff is entitled to jury trial; the court can decide the admiralty defense while the remainder of the case is tried to a jury.

Rules promulgated by the Supreme Court prescribe the allowance and taxation of costs in admiralty and maritime cases.  In the absence of an express provision to the contrary in either a statute of the United States or the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the costs other than attorney’s fees must be allowed to the prevailing party unless the court otherwise directs.


Inside Trial