Supreme Court Cases to Watch: Are Punitive Damages Available Under Jones Act?

In 2019 Supreme Court cases to watch, we find the question of whether a Jones Act seaman can assert a claim for punitive damages in conjunction with a claim for unseaworthiness. The Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court ruling that plaintiff Christopher Batterton could assert a claim for punitive damages after suffering permanent disability while working as a deckhand. In a similar case, the Fifth Circuit ruled punitive damages could not be recovered under the Jones Act or general maritime law. With conflicting rulings from two circuit courts, we wait for a ruling from the Supreme Court which is expected mid-2019.