S 183

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 183

To clarify the applicability of certain maritime laws with respect to the blowout and explosion of the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

January 25 (legislative day, JANUARY 5), 2011

Mr. ROCKEFELLER (for himself, Mr. Schumer, and Mr. Whitehouse) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation


A BILL

To clarify the applicability of certain maritime laws with respect to the blowout and explosion of the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Deepwater Horizon Survivors' Fairness Act'.

SEC. 2. AMENDMENT OF SHIPOWNERS' LIABILITY ACT OF 1851.

    (a) General Limit of Liability- Section 30505(c) of title 46, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

    `(c) Claims Not Subject to Limitation- Subsection (a) does not apply--

      `(1) to a claim for wages; or

      `(2) to a claim for personal injury or wrongful death arising from the blowout and explosion of the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon that occurred on April 20, 2010.'.

    (b) Conforming Amendment- Section 30511(c) of title 46, United States Code, is amended by inserting `that are subject to limitation under section 30505' after `question'.

SEC. 3. AMENDMENT OF THE DEATH ON THE HIGH SEAS ACT.

    (a) Cause of Action- Section 30302 of title 46, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the first sentence the following: `If the death was attributable to the blowout and explosion of the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon that occurred on April 20, 2010, the action may be brought in law or in admiralty.'.

    (b) Amount and Apportionment of Recovery- Section 30303 of title 46, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following: `If the action under this chapter arises from the blowout and explosion of the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon that occurred on April 20, 2010, the recovery may include fair compensation for nonpecuniary loss, plus a fair compensation for the decedent's pain and suffering. In this section, the term `nonpecuniary loss' means the loss of care, comfort, companionship, and society.'.

    (c) Death of Plaintiff in Pending Action- Section 30305 of title 46, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following: `If a civil action in law is pending in a court of the United States to recover for personal injury caused by wrongful act, neglect, or default described in the second sentence of section 30302 of this title and the individual dies during the action as a result of that wrongful act, neglect, or default, the personal representative of the decedent may be substituted as the plaintiff and the action may proceed under this chapter for the recovery authorized by this chapter.'.

SEC. 4. AMENDMENT OF JONES ACT.

    Section 30104(a) of title 46, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following: `If the action under this chapter arises from the blowout and explosion of the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon that occurred on April 20, 2010, the recovery for a seaman who dies may include fair compensation for nonpecuniary loss, plus a fair compensation for the decedent's pain and suffering. In this section, the term `nonpecuniary loss' means the loss of care, comfort, companionship, and society.'.

SEC. 5. MULTIDISTRICT LITIGATION FOR CERTAIN CIVIL ACTIONS.

    (a) Multidistrict Litigation for Certain Civil Actions-

      (1) In general- Chapter 303 of title 46, United States Code, is amended--

        (A) by redesignating section 30308 as section 30309; and

        (B) by inserting after section 30307 the following:

`30308. Multidistrict litigation for certain civil actions

    `(a) In General- A plaintiff in a covered civil action brought under chapter 301 or this chapter may elect to have the claims of that plaintiff--

      `(1) severed from all other claims in the covered civil action; and

      `(2) not be subject to section 1407 of title 28 or any similar provision of State law.

    `(b) Covered Civil Action Defined- In this section, the term `covered civil action' means a civil action for damages for personal injury or wrongful death arising from the blowout and explosion of the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon that occurred on April 20, 2010.'.

    (b) Conforming Amendment- The table of contents for chapter 303 of title 46, United States Code, is amended by striking the item relating to section 30308 and inserting the following:

      `30308. Multidistrict litigation for certain civil actions.

      `30309. Nonapplication.'.

SEC. 6. EFFECTIVE DATE.

    The amendments made by this Act shall apply to--

      (1) causes of action and claims arising after April 19, 2010; and

      (2) actions commenced before the date of enactment of this Act that have not been finally adjudicated, including appellate review, as of that date.

END