Searching Titanic the Smart Way

Every decade or so there seems to be a resurgence of Titanic-fever. With the 100th anniversary of its notorious trip it seems like it is back! In addition to seeing Kate and Leo in 3-D, I have also used this opportunity to take a look at some of the court cases involving the Titanic in the Fastcase database.

At the top of my Quick Caselaw Search was 742 F.Supp.2d 784 which is a filing for rights to the wreckage from 2010, my favorite part of this case is that despite its national broadcast, the only petitioner to stake a claim was the insurance company that covered the luggage on the ship. I really wonder how that insurance claim went…

I wanted to see if there were any juicy cases from around the time of the Titanic so I used our timeline feature to look at the cases mapped in 4-D (take that James Cameron!). This graphs cases according to relevance, cites in the search, and cites in the database, all over time. The timeline had some pretty interesting results.  (Click here to learn more about Timeline).

One of them was the circles furthest to the left which are for 233 U.S. 718 (34 S.Ct. 754, 58 L.Ed. 1171). This case touches on some pretty meaty international law issues regarding liability for foreign owned vessels and which jurisdiction’s laws apply. I’m not going to ruin the surprise ending for you though, you’ll just have to check it out for yourself here.

Finally, I wanted to see how 233 U.S. 718 (34 S.Ct. 754, 58 L.Ed. 1171) is cited so I ran an Authority Check on the case. It looks like this case has had a lot of action since 1914. The most recent of these adds to the question of international jurisdiction/liability in a case involving two ships from different countries. Oh the Drama!

So there you have it, using the innovative tools available with Fastcase I was able to follow 100 years of litigation related to the sinking of the Titanic. Now I just wonder if I should try to stake my claim on some of the precious jewelry that was rumored to be on there…

Learn to use Timeline and Authority Check with our video tutorials found here. Also, be sure to check out our webinars for more information on our innovative tools for smarter legal research. As always, for the latest information on what’s happening at Fastcase be sure to visit our website at

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