Today, the Supreme Court resolved a long-standing split in the federal circuits by ruling that punitive damages are not awardable to injured seafarers on claims involving a willful and wanton breach of the duty to provide a seaworthy vessel. The decision is Dutra Group v. Batterton, case number 18-266. The case does not change the rule that allows punitive damages in maritime cases involving a willful and wanton failure to pay maintenance, cure and unearned wages (crew shares) to injured crew members, or in other maritime cases involving willful and wanton conduct unrelated to the doctrine of unseaworthiness. The decision prompted a strong dissent by Justices Ginsberg, Breyer and Sotomayor based on the Supreme Court's earlier decision and reasoning in Atlantic Sounding Co. v. Townsend, 557 U.S. 404 (2009). This case matters, including because it reduces the vessel owner's potential liability (exposure) arising from an injury suffered by a member of the crew. Among other things, that reduction of liability should result in lower premiums for protection and indemnity liability policies (i.e., in cheaper insurance). Some federal circuit courts of appeals have not been allowing punitive damages in such cases all along; others were doing so, resulting in some large verdicts. The split of authority on the point resulted in uncertainty, and likely has contributed to higher "P&I" insurance premiums. Now that the split in authority has been resolved -- against allowing punitive damages in unseaworthiness cases -- premiums on P&I policies should be lower (especially in some jurisdictions). Your insurance broker might not yet be aware of this decision. Letting your broker know about the Supreme Court's ruling today in Dutra Group v. Batterton might help at renewal time.