Farrell SEALI photo.jpg

David J. Farrell, Jr.


Phone: 508-432-2121 x. 15

E-mail: dfarrell@fsofirm.com

An admiralty lawyer since 1984, Attorney Dave Farrell's passion for maritime commerce began in high school when he worked at a Cape Cod boatyard. He ran a tour boat during college summers and later fished commercially up to 100 miles offshore in 30-36 foot vessels. He also has time at sea on tugs, ferries, container ships, and oil tankers.

Having personally evaded multiple maritime casualties, Attorney Farrell’s practice primarily involves litigating them, typically for the defense on appointment by marine insurers, international and domestic. Because in our business evidence can disappear with the ebbing tide, our office is available 24/7 to attend casualty scenes, appoint marine surveyors and forensic experts, and deal with government authorities so cases can be intelligently managed with positive results for our client from the outset.

With trial and appellate court victories from Alaska to New England, Attorney Farrell is a frequent speaker and author on maritime law and public policy. He is proud to serve as President of The Maritime Law Association of the United States.

A Titulary Member of the Comité Maritime International, Attorney Farrell also serves as an advisor to the U.S. Delegation to the U.N. International Maritime Organization.  

Practice Areas​

  • Admiralty and Maritime Law

  • Insurance Defense

  • Trials and Appeals


  • 2001, United States Supreme Court

  • 1992, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts and U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit

  • 1991, Massachusetts

  • 1985, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

  • 1984, Washington and U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington


  • Duke University School of Law, J.D. 1984

  • Columbia University, M.P.A. 1979

  • Williams College, B.A. 1977

  • Belmont Hill School, 1973

The Maritime Law Association of the United States

  • President (2020-2022)

  • Board of Directors (2006-present)

  • Proctor in Admiralty


  • U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Master, Near Coastal and Unlimited Radar Observer

  • American Maritime Cases, Associate Editor

  • OSHA Certified Hazardous Waste Site Operations

  • BoatU.S. Salvage Plan Arbitrator

  • Martindale-Hubbell "AV" highest rating

Notable Cases

  • BoatU.S. v. Carman, 419 F.Supp.3d 336, 2019 AMC 2986 (D. R.I. 2019) (insurer properly denied hull coverage when insured drilled holes in boat before final voyage on which his mother died -- and that’s just the tip of the iceberg -- Google “Nathan Carman”)

  • Nat'l Liab. & Fire Ins. Co. v. Jablonowski, 2018 AMC 2857 (D. Conn. 2018) (summary judgment in declaratory judgment action for yacht insurer properly denying coverage for mold caused by electrical failure that was not a fire and by mystery sander who was not a vandal)

  • In re Block Island Fishing, Inc., 323 F.Supp.3d 158, 2018 AMC 1540 (D. Mass. 2018) (self-critical analysis privilege protects from discovery our LNG tanker owner’s subjective evaluations in SOLAS-required internal post-collision report)

  • In re The Middlesex Corp., 132 F.Supp.3d 233 (D. Mass. 2015) (clarifies limitation owner’s procedures under Supplemental Rule F)

  • Boston Ship Repair, LLC v. Starr Indemnity & Liability Co. and North Point Marine & Industrial, Inc. v. Ocean Ships, Inc., 997 F.Supp.2d 118, 2014 AMC 1426  (D. Mass. 2014) (extends Reliable Transfer comparative fault apportionment when both parties were in breach of contract, finding opponents 75% at fault)

  • Zeghibe v. ConocoPhillips Co., 793 F.Supp.2d 478, 2012 AMC 147 (D. Mass. 2011) (summary judgment dismissal of Jones Act and maritime tort claims)

  • In re Martin, 596 F.Supp.2d 142 (D. Mass. 2009) (summary judgment dismissal of all fire claims against yacht club), aff’d 2010 AMC 2398 (1st Cir. 2010)

  • H.R.M., Inc. v. SKYZ THE LIMIT, 2006 AMC 2276 (N.Y. Arb. 2006) (Attorney Farrell dissenting, would reduce salvage award)

  • In re Rhotens Limitation Proceeding, 397 F.Supp.2d 151 (D. Mass. 2005) (defeated limitation of liability petition following marina fire)

  • EIMSKIP, The Iceland Steamship Co. v. Mayflower Int’l Ltd., 338 F.Supp.2d 191, 2004 AMC 1904 (D. Mass. 2004), aff’d sub nom EIMSKIP v. Atlantic Fish Market, Inc., 417 F.3d 72, 2005 AMC 1817 (1st Cir. 2005) (awarded unpaid freight charges and attorneys’ fees)

  • In re DeMaio, 5 Mass. DEP Rptr. 59 (1998) (enforced dock construction permit)

  • Bonneau v. Guidance Fishing Corp., 919 F. Supp. 46 (D. Mass. 1996) (dismissal of New Bedford scallop crewman’s maintenance and cure claim following jury defense verdict on Jones Act and unseaworthiness claims)

  • Stone v. Mormac Marine Transport, Inc., 1996 AMC 735 (D. Mass. 1995) (summary judgment dismissal of oil tanker crewman’s death claim following alleged injury off Italy)

  • Biktjorn v. Bendiksen, 774 F. Supp. 581, 1992 AMC 347 (W.D. Wash. 1991) (defense judgment in trial of Alaska fisherman’s fake back injury)

  • Veeder v. NC Machinery Co., 720 F. Supp. 847, 1989 AMC 1988 (W.D. Wash. 1989) (summary judgment dismissal of marine diesel product liability suit)

  • Atlantic Mutual Insurance Co. v. HOEGH PILOT, 1986 AMC 2295 (W.D. Wash. 1985) (Kuwait 7-Up cargo damage defense judgment)


  • "Confusing USA Environmental Regulations,” The Swedish Club Triton (April 2015)

  • “Short Sea, Post-Panamax, and Arctic Ocean Shipping Opportunities,” 25 U.S.F. Mar. L. J. 175 (2012-13)

  • “Marine Surveyor Reports in Litigation: Anything You Write Can and Will Be Used Against You,” Exchange (BoatU.S., July 2011)

  • “Limitation of Liability,” Suffolk University Law School Continuing Legal Education (2011)

  • “America’s Marine Highway a/k/a Short Sea Shipping: A Win-Win Proposition,” 5 Benedict’s Maritime Bulletin 221 (Third/Fourth Quarter 2007)

  • with Jonathan Klopman “A Case of Liability,”Exchange (BoatU.S., July 2006)

  • “Maritime Liens on Fishing Privileges: Towards a Congressional Resolution,” 2 Benedict’s Maritime Bulletin 339 (Fourth Quarter 2004)

  • “A Red Herring: the Wind Farm’s Threat to Fishing,” Cape Cod Times (June 8, 2003)

  • with Bruce A. King, “Fishing Rights and Creditors’ Rights: Financing and Creditor Protection,” National Fishery Law Symposium (University of Washington, 2001)

  • “ABYC Standards in Marine Litigation,” Exchange (BoatU.S., Dec. 2000)

  • “USA Pollution Law Update,” Beacon (Skuld, June 1999)

  • “Rules of Evidence for Expert Witnesses: An Attorney’s Perspective,” Professional Boatbuilder (June 1998)

  • “The Critical Role of the Boat Owner in Investigating Accidents,” Seaworthy (BoatU.S., 1993)


  • "Keynote Address," Southeastern Admiralty Law Institue (2020)

  • "Utilizing ABYC Standards in Civil Litigation," Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors Annual Meeting (2014)

  • “Marina Liability and Insurance Issues,” Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc. (2013)

  • Pacific Admiralty Seminar, San Francisco, 2012

  • “Maritime Mishaps and Mistakes,” Suffolk University Law School Continuing Legal Education (2011)

  • Chair, “Maritime Law: Navigating the Seas,” Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc. (2009)

  • London, 2009, 2006

  • Marblehead Yacht Club, 2007

  • National Fishery Law Symposium, Seattle, 2001

  • Assuranceforeningen Skuld, Oslo, 1998

  • Orion Insurance, Hartford, 1998

  • TowBoatU.S. Salvage Seminar, Alexandria, VA, 1996

  • Knox Marine Claims Seminar, Norfolk, VA, 1996 and 1995

  • Massachusetts Harbormasters Association, 1994 and 1993

  • National Association of Marine Surveyors, New England Region, 1996, 1993, and 1992

  • Port of Seattle Seminars, 1986-89

  • Pacific Northwest Vessel Agents Association, 1986