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Adam Jay Jaffe

Adam Jaffe’s Answers

983 total

  • Can my fiancee and I sue a shipping company(international) ? For gross negligence?

    My fiancee is overseas, and has been through the legal system of that country, to receive her late father's inheritance. She arranged for shipment of the assets, and paid the necessary fees, as described by the manager of the shipping company....

    Adam’s Answer

    There are so many twists, turns, and nuances to this question, that it would not be proper to fully try to provide an answer here. You should contact a Maritime Attorney ASAP and meet with them in person. A firm that handles shipping, specifically, in the Greater LA Area (Long Beach) is Cogswell Nakazawa & Chang LLP ((562) 951-8668). There are others, to be sure (also in LA/Long Beach).

    You can find there here on or at

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  • Do my kids have to wear lifejackets?

    I have all the safety equipment I need on my 23 foot cuddy cabin. I have enough adult sized and children sized lifejackets for everyone on my boat. The Florida fish commission stopped my boat and inspected it. He gave me a decal that said every...

    Adam’s Answer

    MOST of the time - though not always - Federal Law will trump State Law when it comes to vessels and boating. So, the short answer to the question is this: yes, children under 13 must wear life jackets at all times. This is a federal regulation. However, if another state has an age requirement higher than 13, then the State Law will trump as a State Law (under the circumstances) may be more restrictive than a Federal Law.

    I would encourage you and your family to join the USCG Auxiliary and/or US Power Squadron. They are wonderful organizations with the main purpose of safe boating. They can provide a wealth of great information, including excellent classes on all manner of seamanship.

    On a more personal note, as a maritime attorney, I cannot tell you the number of times that I learn of an incident where someone was not wearing a life jacket. I learn of even more in my activities with the USCG. They never end well. Honestly, it does not matter how well a person can swim or how calm the waters are, a mariner should always wear a life jacket. You would not drive a car without a seatbelt, correct? After all, what is the value of a life jacket if it is not worn!

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  • How do I get a small boat titled and registered in Broward County, FL that has never been previously titled?

    I obtained this small 12 foot fiberglass boat via Craigslist for free. It has a hull ID number and was manufactured in 1974. Obtained from a woman whose father died and she was selling his house and wanted the boat which was sitting in the yard go...

    Adam’s Answer

    I respectfully disagree with my colleagues. Though this is too small of a vessel for the USCG to care about (based on size or weight), it is still a vessel. As such, it demands that care be used when dealing with it as there are many nuances to Maritime Law that land-based attorney's just do not know/understand.

    That being said, I would take the time to consult with a Maritime Attorney in your area. Though you have seemingly done a diligent title search on the vessel, there may be other places for you to look. It is QUITE possible that the free vessel has a history against it that may invite you to a lawsuit. It would be worth a small consult fee (if charged) just to flesh out the details.

    I recommend you look here on avvo (use find a lawyer) for a maritime attorney or at the Maritime Law Association of the United States (MLAUS) at, or at the SouthEast Admiralty Law Institute (SEALI) at

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  • We paid a person to rebuild our boat motor its been 2 years now and i don't have my boat back

    We used mike to winterize our boat for a few years and he had repaired the boat in the past so we were not as worried when he said he could rebuild the motor. He said it would be done by spring and we were fine with it. A year went by with calls ...

    Adam’s Answer

    My colleagues have written great responses. The one thing I caution you to is this: consider the value of the boat (at least at the time is was given to the mechanic) to the cost that suing him/them will be.

    If this is a lower value vessel/motor, then AT LEAST consider small claims. I do not know the law of WI (or IL), but that may be a remedy too.

    Conversion, as was mentioned earlier, is a State Law CIVIL claim for theft.

    Discuss with a Maritime Attorney about the issue of Storage Fees. It would seem that if the mechanic wanted to claim storage fees you might be able to defend on the claim as he wrongfully kept the boat to increase the fees.

    As the others have said, a strongly worded demand letter from a Maritime Attorney may do the trick. Especially if the boat in question is Documented with the USCG. You should speak to a Maritime Attorney ASAP.

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  • Are they legally allowed to keep me on board

    I'm a Merchant Mariner aboard a seismic research vessel. We are tied up in Galveston, TX. I want to get off the vessel and grab a bite to eat when my shift is over. But my company says we are not allowed to leave.

    Adam’s Answer

    This is a complex question. What does your contract of employment say? Are you on the clock for 24hr/day?

    Are you a sub-contractor? If so, what does your employer say?

    Generally speaking, if you are not on the clock, you should be allowed to leave. The concerns of the Master would be you missing ship's movement/watch.

    I would contact a maritime attorney in TX ASAP. You can use,, or to find an attorney. You can also try to cross-post this question, here on, in employment law to see if you get different answers.

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  • Do I file a Nunc Pro Tunc or a Motion?

    I filed a dismissal for one case but made a mistake. I put the right case name but the wrong case number. (I have two cases). Both are in Sacramento County Superior Court The clerk should have rejected it but filed it in the wrong case (filed...

    Adam’s Answer

    Quite the quagmire.

    Have you considered and Ex Parte Application to Set Aside Dismissal. It will cost $60, unless you have a fee waiver, but it will get done in an expedited manner. At the Ex Parte, you can withdraw your other documents.

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  • Is it illegal to sail the high seas as a stateless person living off the ocean's sustenance?

    Is it illegal to roam the world's oceans and fish for a living, never docking on land?

    Adam’s Answer

    This is actually a more difficult question to answer than it would seem. In short, yes, you can sail the world and never put into port.

    However, if you renounce the governance on a State, you renounce their jurisdiction and protection, too. In other words, if you claim that you are no a US/Canadian/Mexican/etc. citizen (truly Stateless) and are come upon by pirates, semantically, no state need come to your protection. Now, piracy has universal jurisdiction for prosecution, but that would be after the fact.

    Yes, you can be stateless and sail the world, but it is not an easy endeavor.

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  • Jones Act cover emotional distress.Where is the zone of danger?Recover damges?lack of supervision or Capt decisions factor i

    I was on-board a fishing vessel that was breeched and flooded out the staterooms.My room was flooded and people were trapped.Luckily I was not there. Weather was extreme and we stopped work on Capt orders.Crew was instructed to only be in your roo...

    Adam’s Answer

    Generally speaking, maintenance and cure obligations of a maritime employer mean that they have to cover your well being. That being said, when PTSD occurs, especially in this day and age, it needs to go through the proper psychological diagnostics.

    The very next thing you should do after you read this post is to contact a MARITIME attorney. Though there may be workers compensation attorney's in AK, you need to find one that actually knows about maritime law. it may be possible to file a State Claim as well as a Federal Claim. A maritime attorney would know what to do.

    Moreover, you need to act fast. You do not want to prejudice your rights.

    You can find one here on or at

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  • Is it common to submit a settlement without reviewing it with his client?Can the settlement be voided?Can I dismiss him for this

    I am involved in a Jones act case. I have been released by my doctor to return to work. Upon notifying my attorney he sent a settlement request to the company. I had no chance to review or add anything. Most of my photos were not submitted as well...

    Adam’s Answer

    Though I agree with my colleagues here, there is an issue which is not discussed: namely your inclination to dismiss your attorney. Depending on the terms of the fee agreement, you can probably dismiss your attorney at any time. Also dependent on the terms of the fee agreement, the dismissed attorney may be able to put a lien on the case if a new lawyer is hired. This means that the old attorney will still get paid, something.

    I would encourage you to re-post this question in the Ethics and Professional Responsibility Section. I could do that, but I want to make sure that you get the most answers available to you.

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  • Is a boat mechanic governed under Michigan boating mechanic laws?

    We had a mechanic quote our company a fee of 500 and then when we agreed to work, he sent a bill for over 3500 and is now demanding payment.

    Adam’s Answer

    Though I agree with Mr. Richard, I want to drive a point home: the law is nuanced. Yes, most of the time, a mechanic will be governed under the laws of the State where the repairs were made. If, however, the repairs were made to a vessel/boat/etc, it may be irrelevant if the mechanic was unlicensed due to Federal Maritime Law.

    As is routinely suggested, you REALLY need to contact an attorney that knows and understands the nuances of maritime law. and are great resources to find one to assist you further.

    If you lose in Small Claims, it is possible - I believe- that his remedy will be to seize the boat after judgment and sell it at auction to satisfy the judgment. You may have defenses, including the claim should NOT be in State (Small Claims or otherwise). Again, consult a maritime attorney.

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