John Woods concentrates his practice in maritime law and insurance and reinsurance litigation and arbitration. He principally represents US and foreign insurers in the areas of maritime hull, liability, cargo, pollution, war risk, loss of earnings and environmental claims. He has significant experience in cases involving shipbuilding contracts and third party marine liability.
John also has broad experience in cases involving oil spills, hazardous substance discharges and OPA and CERCLA claims. He has litigated claims by and against the National Pollution Fund Center.
John has handled litigations involving major maritime casualties and claims in courts across the United States, and has counseled clients involved in litigations in foreign courts. Recent instructions include cases arising out of the World Trade Center disaster and Hurricane Katrina, including a successful coverage action over claims arising from the flooding of New Orleans. He has argued appeals in the New York appellate courts (including the New York Court of Appeals) and five of the US Courts of Appeal.
In addition, John represents clients in arbitration, mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. He also serves as an arbitrator and mediator. In non-maritime insurance counselling, his principal areas of expertise include political risk insurance, aviation and space, energy and professional indemnity insurance.
- New York
- US District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
- US Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Circuits
- US Supreme Court
- J.D., Tulane Law School, 1980
- B.A., American Studies, Middlebury College, 1976
- The Association of the Bar of the City of New York
- Past Chair, Admiralty Committee
- Maritime Law Association of the United States
- Sub-Committee on Hull and P&I Insurance
- Proctor member, Chair
- Average Adjusters Association of the United States and Canada
- Resident Associate member
- Past Chairman
- The Association of Average Adjusters (UK), Subscriber member
- Advised a pollution underwriter in respect of a Blue Card exposure arising from a vessel, which broke its mooring in a typhoon and grounded off the coast of Fuzhou City, China.
- Advised yacht underwriters in regard to damages to a yacht destroyed by a fire in Beaufort, North Carolina and potential third-party claims.
- Advised a pollution underwriter in a claim arising from the salvage of two fully laden oil barges grounded in the Mississippi River and handled litigation arising between insurers over payment of the salvage costs and expenses. Won case after trial in Federal Court.
- Representing an insurer of bitumen stored in a tank farm in Zhejiang Province, China, which was misappropriated and is now missing. The bitumen is valued at USD 40 million.
- Acting for first-layer excess marine stock throughput policy underwriters at Lloyd’s in a coverage dispute over a claim arising from missing cell phones which were stored in a warehouse in Frankfurt, Germany. The value of the missing products is USD 80 million.
- Acting for a pollution liability underwriter of a defunct shipyard in connection with a claim for defense costs and coverage of CERCLA Superfund Site clean-up of the Port of Portland, Oregon harbor.
- Advised International Group P&I Club regarding claims by excess liability underwriters over a runaway jury award to an injured passenger ship spa employee and defended the Club in litigation arising from same.
- Represented the hull and machinery underwriter of a USD 74 million littoral ferry in Alaska in respect of a claim arising from extensive main engines machinery damage due to rainwater ingress.
- Advised International Group P&I Club in respect of members' coverage for maritime employee personal injury claims.
- Advised onshore and offshore energy underwriters in respect of a pipeline rupture and loss of use claims involving pipelines in Alberta, Canada and the North Sea. Claims involved were valued at CAN 65 million and CAN 350 million, respectively.
- Represented an insurer of a marine contractor in coverage over a claim for personal injury for a maritime employee of the assured.
- Defended a primary pollution liability underwriter in a claim by excess liability underwriters for defense costs incurred following the collision of a laden oil barge and tanker in the Mississippi River. Won the case after trial in Federal Court.
- "The Tort of Spoliation – A New Legal Concept,” Greater New Orleans Barge Fleeters Association Seminar, New Orleans, Louisiana, April 2007
- “The Somalian Piracy Problem – An Insurance Perspective,” Marine Insurance Forum, January 2009
- “Oil Pollution Insurance Issues,” Tulane Admiralty Law Institute, March 2009
- “The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and Claims Against the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund,” Connecticut Maritime Association’s Shipping 2009 Conference Legal Session, March 2009
- "Third-Party Liability Under OPA 90: Have the Courts Veered Off Course?" Tulane Law Review, vol. 73, 1999
- "Going on Twenty Years – The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and Claims Against the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund," Tulane Law Review, vol. 83, 2009