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In a much-anticipated decision, the United States Supreme Court held that choice-of-law provisions in marine insurance contracts are presumptively enforceable under federal maritime law with a few narrow exceptions. In Great Lakes Insurance SE v. Raiders Retreat Realty Co., LLC, 601 U.S. ___ (2024), the country’s highest court overturned a Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision that had created a circuit split regarding the applicability of choice-of-law provisions in marine insurance contracts and when the law of the forum state can override the choice made by the parties to the contract. The Supreme Court’s decision reaffirms both the supremacy of federal maritime law over state law and the importance of uniformity in maritime law throughout the nation.

Great Lakes Insurance (“Great Lakes”) and Raiders Retreat Realty Co. (“Raiders”) were parties to a marine insurance policy covering Raiders’ vessel.  The policy selected New York law to govern all future disputes arising under the contract. Great Lakes is headquartered in the United Kingdom and organized in Germany while Raiders is headquartered in Pennsylvania. Marine insurance policies are maritime contracts which are governed in the first instance by maritime law.

Read the rest of the post by Ray Waid, Jessie Shifalo and Elizabeth Strunk on The Energy Law Blog.

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