Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

GAZIS v. JOHN S. LATSIS

January 30, 1990

MARIA GAZIS, INDIVIDUALLY, AND ON BEHALF OF HER MINOR CHILDREN, GERASIMOS GAZIS AND THEODOROS GAZIS, AND AS PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF NIKOLAOS GAZIS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN S. LATSIS (USA) INC., JOHN LATSIS, HERMES SHIPPING & TRADING CORP., S.A. PANAMA, AND THE M/T LADY EMA, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Tenney, District Judge.

  OPINION

This case is brought pursuant to the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. § 688 (1982), and the general maritime law of the United States. Defendants John Latsis ("John Latsis") and Hermes Shipping & Trading Corp., S.A. Panama ("Hermes"), have moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and forum non conveniens. John Latsis and John S. Latsis (USA), Inc. ("Latsis (USA)"), have also moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. In addition, defendants have requested a stay of this action pending the outcome of a declaratory proceeding commenced by Hermes in Greece. For the reasons set forth below, all of defendants' motions are denied.

BACKGROUND

In 1984, Nikolaos Gazis, a Greek citizen, was serving as an apprentice master aboard the Greek flag vessel, LADY EMA. On December 27, 1984, the LADY EMA was docked at the port of Amsterdam, Holland. Gazis fell on the deck of the ship while making the gangway fast and sustained various injuries. He was taken to a hospital in Amsterdam and died approximately four days later. His estate has asserted several tort claims against defendants based on the Jones Act and general maritime law.

The LADY EMA is owned by Hermes, a Panamanian corporation, and managed on a day-to-day basis by Bilander Marine Corporation ("Bilander"), a Greek company. Most of the crew of the LADY EMA are Greek. Plaintiff contends that Hermes is the owner of the LADY EMA, but that it jointly operates the ship with Latsis (USA), a United States corporation. Plaintiff also contends that John Latsis is the owner of Hermes and Latsis (USA), and is therefore the ship's "beneficial owner." Defendants have admitted that Hermes is the owner of the LADY EMA but have denied that John Latsis or Latsis (USA) have any association with Hermes or the ship.

DISCUSSION

The resolution of many of defendants' motions turns on whether Latsis (USA) or John Latsis are in some way connected to the LADY EMA and whether this connection stems from dealings in the United States. These determinations control whether this court has personal jurisdiction over John Latsis, whether it has subject matter jurisdiction over John Latsis and Latsis (USA), and whether this is an inconvenient forum. The evidence on record relating to John Latsis and Latsis (USA) is a mixture of pleaded allegations and facts contained in sworn affidavits. The contentions and denials are set forth in the following chart. Contentions sworn to in affidavits or affirmations, see Affidavit of Vassiliki Armogeni, sworn to March 16, 1988 ("Armogeni Aff."); Affidavit of Basil Gregory, sworn to March 18, 1988 ("Gregory Aff."); Affirmation of Paul S. Edelman, Esq., dated March 29, 1988 ("Edelman Aff. I"); Affirmation of Paul S. Edelman, Esq., dated March 31, 1988 ("Edelman Aff. II"), or provided pursuant to Local Rule 3(g) of this District, see Statement of John J. Walsh, Esq., dated March 31, 1988 ("3(g) Statement"), are indicated in bold face.

PLAINTIFF                         DEFENDANT

Latsis (USA)

  1.  Latsis (USA) is the operator   1. Latsis (USA) never
      of the LADY EMA                   operated the LADY EMA
      (Complaint ¶ 6).                  (Gregory Aff. ¶ 3).
  2.  Latsis (USA) is the agent of   2. Hermes never used
      Hermes in the US                  Latsis (USA) as an
      (Complaint ¶ 6).                  agent (Armogeni Aff.
                                        ¶ 6).
  3.  Latsis (USA) is the employer   3. Latsis (USA) never
      of Gazis                          employed Gazis
      (Complaint ¶ 7).                  (Gregory Aff. ¶ 3).
  4.  Latsis (USA) is the agent of   4. Denied (Latsis (USA)
      John Latsis in                    Answer ¶ 2; John
      the US (Complaint                 Latsis/Hermes Answer
      ¶ 6).                             ¶ 1).
  5.  Latsis (USA) is located        5. Unsworn hearsay
      in Petrola House; the             described in affidavit
      shipping community                stating "Latsis (USA)
      understands Petrola to be a       [is] not involved with
      contraction of Petroleum and      shipping in general"
      Latsis (Edelman Aff. II).         (Gregory Aff. ¶ 3).

John Latsis

  6.  John Latsis is the             6. No denial.
      beneficial owner of Hermes
      (Complaint ¶ 14).
  7.  John Latsis is the             7. John Latsis "neither
      beneficial owner of the           owns, operates, or
      LADY EMA (Complaint               charters the LADY
      ¶ 14).                            EMA" (3(g) Statement
                                        ¶ 9).
  8.  John Latsis controls a         8. John Latsis "neither
      large shipping operation          owns, operates, or
      from Petrola House, believed      charters the LADY
      to include the LADY EMA           EMA" (3(g) Statement
      (Edelman Aff. I).                 ¶ 9).
  9.  John Latsis owns 100%          9. No. denial.
      of the stock in Latsis
      (USA) (Edelman Aff. II).
  10. John Latsis resides in the    10. "John Latsis is a
      United States (Complaint          citizen and resident
      ΒΆ 11).                            of Greece" (3(g)
            ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.