Today, in St. Bernard Parish, in response to the oil spill:
Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and other members of the House Energy and Commerce committee said the April 20 Deepwater Horizon explosion exposed the need to reform the 1920 Death on the High Seas Act, which limits liability for wrongful deaths more than three miles offshore.
“One way we can hurt BP is to make sure that ‘BP’ stand for ‘bills paid,’ that the money for families, the money to clean up the Gulf, comes out of their pocket, and that we repeal the Death on the High Seas Act,” Markey said.
I don't know if repeal is most likely. Perhaps an amendment allowing for family members of the decedent to recover non-pecuniary damages is more likely. The unavailability of those intangible damages - loss of society, for example - seems to be the crux of the concern over the current law.
ADDED: And...Senator Schumer is calling for an end to the hoary Shipowner's Limitation of Liability Act. ht/Ian T
If these sentiments get traction, the BP oil spill could mark one of the biggest shakeups - or at least reconsiderations - of U.S. maritime law in a long time.