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Home / Opinions / 00-3022 Alter Barge Line, Inc. v. Consolidated Grain & Barge Co., et al.

00-3022 Alter Barge Line, Inc. v. Consolidated Grain & Barge Co., et al.

“We note first that late claimants in admiralty proceedings need not show ‘good cause.’ See In re M.V. President Kennedy, Ltd., No. 98 Civ. 8126 CSH, 2000 WL 351425, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 5, 2000). See also In re Flinchum, 303 F. Supp. 971, 972 (D. Md. 1969) (no ‘good excuse’ shown). Our review of the cases, particularly those permitting late filings where the delay is due solely to the negligence of the claimant or his attorney, see, e.g., In re M.V. President Kennedy, Ltd., 2000 WL 351425, at *3 (claimant delayed in retaining counsel); In re Vermillion Towing Corp., 227 F. Supp. 933, 934 (E.D. Va. 1964) (attorney unfamiliar with admiralty law); Heier v. Panama Transp. Co. (In re United States), 172 F.2d 355 (2d Cir. 1949) (foreign claimants ‘uninformed’ about U.S. law), convinces us that the ’cause’ required in this context is minimal; an explanation rather than a justification for the delay will suffice. The explanation Pherigo provides-attorney error-meets the minimal cause requirement.

“When a claimant shows cause, courts must ‘freely grant[ ]’ permission to file late claims so long as the limitation proceeding is ongoing and the late claim will not prejudice other parties. See Amer. Comm. Lines, Inc. v. United States, 746 F.2d 1351, 1353 (8th Cir. 1984). Both considerations favor Pherigo here. Accordingly, we conclude that the equitable nature of admiralty proceedings, in which parties are given every opportunity to place their entire case before the court and to correct errors at any stage of the proceedings, see Deupree v. Levinson, 186 F.2d 297, 303 (6th Cir. 1950), requires that Pherigo be permitted to file his claim.”

Vacated and remanded.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, Herndon, J., Per Curiam.

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