The Potential for Reform to US Maritime Law Increases.

We previously reported on efforts in Washington, D.C. to significantly modify maritime liability as a result of the BP oil spill — http://www.wcmlaw.com/blog/Default.aspx?g=posts&t=645. On July 1, 2010, the House of Representatives passed the Securing Protections for the Injured from Limitations on Liability Act (SPILL Act), HR 5503 — http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.5503:. The bill has been referred to a Senate subcommittee which will then vote on whether to refer the bill to the entire Senate for a vote. A separate bill also has been proposed in the Senate. At the moment, Congress is on its summer recess and no action will be taken until the Senate reconvenes in mid-September. Even if the House bill passes the Senate subcommittee, there is no guarantee the full Senate will pass the bill given the current political dynamic in the Senate. If the House and Senate pass conflicting bills, the bills will have to go through a “reconciliation” process before the President would be able to sign a bill into law. We will continue posting as the bills work their way through the Senate.

Special thanks to Mendel Simon for his contributions to this post. If you have any questions about this post, please contact Bob Cosgrove at rcosgrove@wcmlaw.com.