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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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).