IMG Employees

Arthur A. Severance, Esq.

Bio

Arthur is a seasoned maritime litigator, with 17 years of experience appearing before state and federal courts, both at the trial and appellate levels, as well as administrative agencies. He is a Proctor Member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States and is certified as a specialist in Admiralty and Maritime law by the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California. He served on California’s Admiralty and Maritime Law Advisory Commission for 8 years and was its chair for two of those years. He is licensed to practice law in Alaska, Arizona, California, and Colorado. He is admitted to practice before all state and federal courts in those states, as well as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Ninth and Tenth Circuits and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Arthur’s practice has focused on protecting maritime businesses from legal risks, especially limiting the liability of vessel owners for collisions and allisions. His past clients include recreational boat owners, commercial vessel operators, shipping companies, cruise lines, boat yards, terminal operators, port drayage companies, marine insurers, ocean carriers, freight forwarders, customs brokers, and fishing companies. He has extensive experience investigating claims, conducting law and motion practice, written discovery, inspections, and depositions, representing clients at mediation, and negotiating settlements. He also has significant transactional experience negotiating and drafting contracts, including charter parties and vessel sales, advising and training stakeholders on legal issues, and in non-profit governance, Alaska Native law, fisheries regulation, and employment law.

Before becoming a litigator, Arthur served in the U.S. Navy on board the guided missile frigate USS Taylor, FFG-50, where he repaired all manner of electronics, especially radios and radio equipment. He also inspected the ship’s training programs and designed and conducted emergency response training scenarios. He was deployed twice, once to the Persian Gulf as part of the U.N. embargo of Iraqi oil following the first Gulf War and again to the Mediterranean Sea as part of a NATO task force during Operation Enduring Freedom. He was awarded three Navy Achievement Medals during his service – one for leading the combat electronics division, another for his work maintaining the vessel’s communications gear, and a third for finding evidence of embargo violations during the seizure of the Russian-flagged M/T Volga-Neft 147 on the vessel’s desktop computers. Arthur has two service-connected disabilities – tinnitus and some hearing loss – stemming from his time at sea.

The law is actually Arthur’s third career. While on study abroad in Vienna as a German, history, and political science major in 1989 in preparation to become an historian researching the development of consociational democracy in Austria, the Iron Curtain fell. He decided to return to Austria and Germany after graduation to experience history in the making, rather than read about it in a library. Initially, he was a Fulbright English teaching assistant at two Austrian high schools near Vienna. He then moved to East Berlin and worked for five years teaching English as a foreign language to East German doctors and nurses, airline and hotel staff, retail clerks, and senior citizens in various government training programs and language schools.

Arthur has been an avid judge of tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPGs) all the while, for nearly 45 years now. He has run games at countless gaming conventions and game days in Southern California and other parts of the United States. For two years he volunteered as the regional organized play coordinator for the western United States for the largest TTRPG publisher, drafting and editing many of the program’s documents. These days, when he is not working on his cases, he can be found in Tempe, Arizona, planning the next session of his weekly home game (which has defied all odds by continuing for almost 17 years!), exploring his newly adopted state with his stump-tailed Australian cattle dog, Sterling, or indulging in his lifelong love of learning by taking night classes at a local college in topics ranging from accounting and insurance to education, history, and Central Alaskan Yup’ik.

Publications

  • Ninth Circuit Case Summaries, Admiralitas (Fed. B. Ass’n) (2017 to 2022 eds.)
  • CLE Committee Welcomes New Director, Alaska Bar Rag (Alaska B. Ass’n) (Fall 2019)
  • Navigating Personal Injury and Death Cases, 2018 Annual meeting (Fed. B. Ass’n) (2018)
  • Navigating Personal Injury and Death Cases, Admiralitas (Fed. B. Ass’n) (Winter 2016)
  • Most Courts are Getting it Wrong: There is No Well-Established Federal Maritime Rule Against the Doctrine of Assumption of Risk in Recreational Boating Cases, 25 U.S.F. Mar. L.J. 195 (2013)
  • Assistant Editor, Maritime Law Association, MLA Report, 2011 to 2014 editions
  • Researcher, Maritime Law Association, Statistical Analysis of Limitation of Liability Cases 1997-2010
  • Comment, The Duty to Render Assistance in the Satellite Age, 36 CAL. W. INT’L L.J. 377 (2006)

Decisions

  • In re DuQuette, no. 2:20-cv-02037, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11028 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 20, 2022)

  • In re Amble, 2021 A.M.C. 245 (N.D. Cal. 2021)

  • Cagas v. F/V Pacific Horizon, no. 3:20-cv-02111, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4859 (S.D. Cal. Jan. 11, 2021)

  • In re Amble, 2020 A.M.C. 406 (N.D. Cal. 2020)

  • People v. Pac Anchor, 59 Cal. 4th 772 (2014), cert. denied, 574 U.S. 1153 (2015)

  • Hartford Fire Ins. v. Total Terminals Int’l, no. CV 12-5100, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS190434 (C.D. Cal. May 12, 2014)

  • Sosa v. Pfeiffer, no. 10cv0280, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132295 (S.D. Cal. Sept. 16, 2013)

  • Hartford Fire Ins. v. Total Terminals Int’l, no. CV 12-5100, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 195349 (C.D. Cal. Sept. 25, 2012)

  • Rigel Marine Servs. v. M/Y “Thomas Crosby V,” 2012 A.M.C. 2916 (C.D. Cal. 2011)

  • People v. Pac Anchor, 195 Cal. App. 4th 765 (2011) 5/18/11

  • In re Mission Bay Jet Sports, LLC, no. 08cv0146, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171695 (S.D. Cal. March 14, 2011)

  • In re Mission Bay Jet Sports, LLC, no. 08cv0146, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160793 (S.D. Cal. Aug. 3, 2010)

  • In re Mission Bay Jet Sports, LLC, 2010 A.M.C. 1320 (S.D. Cal. 2010)

  • In re Mission Bay Jet Sports, LLC, no. 08cv0146, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1824 (S.D. Cal. Jan. 11, 2010)

  • In re Gibson, 2009 A.M.C. 2249 (E.D. Okla. 2009)

  • In re Mission Bay Jet Sports, 570 F.3d 1124 (9th Cir. 2009)

  • Lee v. Vessel Tiffany, no. CIV S-06-1757, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73544 (E.D. Cal. Oct. 2, 2007)

  • Markel Am. Ins. Co. v. Woolard, 2007 A.M.C. 2597 (C.D. Cal. 2007)

Education

  • Tulane University Law School – LL.M. in Admiralty Law
  • California Western School of Law – J.D.
  • University of Colorado, Boulder – B.A. in Germanic Languages, History, and Central and East European Studies
  • Additional coursework at numerous institutions including the University of Vienna, the Humboldt University of Berlin, and the University of Alaska.

Bar and Court Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • State Bar of Alaska
  • State Bar of Colorado
  • State Bar of Arizona
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Alaska
  • U.S. District Court, Arizona
  • U.S. District Court, Colorado
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas

Professional Affiliations

  • Maritime Law Association of the United States, Proctor Member
  • Certified as a Specialist in Admiralty and Maritime Law by the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California
  • Admiralty and Maritime Law Advisory Commission, State Bar of California, Chair 2016- 2017, Member 2010-2017
  • Federal Bar Association
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