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Hastings Law Journal

Abstract

Comparative negligence rather than common law contributory negligence has been the law in admiralty personal injury actions since before the turn of the century. The federal courts, however, have been entertaining the possibility of a major exception called the primary duty rule, whereby plaintiffs negligence, if it is also a breach of an employment duty, is a complete defense to a Jones Act and unseaworthiness action. The author examines the precedents for this exception and concludes that the existence of the primary duty rule is justified by neither history nor logic.

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