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Brockholst Livingston, John Marshall, marine insurance


Barely a month before Justice Brockholst Livingston joined the Supreme Court of the United States, a ship he commissioned with a cargo of $50,000, was captured by the British and condemned. The circumstances of the vessel’s voyage led to its capture; she sailed as an American merchant ship under a Spanish license with an American crew. When seized as a prize, the British found papers showing conflicting information concealed amongst the crew belongings. Justice Livingston tried to recoup his losses through an insurance policy with the Maryland Insurance Company, but was denied on the grounds that the voyage had been insured under false pretense. Justice Livingston sued in the Circuit Court for the District of Maryland and loss. On appeal, the Supreme Court reversed and found for Livingston. While the circumstances of voyage were questionable, the motivations behind the decision of the court were equally suspect.


Admiralty | Law | Legal History