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Steven M. Stancliff

Steve advises commercial ship owners, salvors, ship repairers and their insurers in responding to collisions, groundings, marine pollution, machinery failures, governmental investigations, and other incidents and disputes in federal and state courts in Virginia and North Carolina, including vessel arrests, attachments, limitation actions, and salvage proceedings.
Case Western Reserve University, J.D. 1996
University of Rhode Island, M.M.A. (Marine Affairs) 1992
United States Coast Guard Academy, B.S. (Marine Engineering) 1984
Bar/Court Admissions
Virginia State Bar
North Carolina State Bar
Ohio State Bar
United States Supreme Court
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
Maritime Law Association of the United States (Proctor)
Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute (Board of Directors, 2010-2011; Chairman, Long Range Planning Committee, 2013; Editorial Board, 2014)
Virginia Maritime Association
Virginia Bar Association
North Carolina Bar Association
Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar Association
James Kent American Inn of Court
Community Involvement
The Propeller Club of Norfolk
Tidewater Arts Outreach, Board Member
Representative Experience
Representative Cases
  • Resolves admiralty and maritime disputes (vessel arrests, Jones Act claims, Suits in Admiralty Act, Federal Tort Claims Act, Shipowners Limitation of Liability Act, contract disputes, maritime torts, fishing vessel operations, licensing and permits, damaged shore structures, personal injuries, and machinery failures.)
  • Lectured in the regional and local maritime and legal communities on maritime legal issues relating to vessel arrest, ship-owners limitation of liability actions, marine salvage, vessel collisions, marine casualty investigations and recreational vessels.
  • More than 20 years active duty commissioned service in the United States Coast Guard, concluding at the rank of Commander. Legal, shipboard engineering and operational assignments in New York City, Newport, RI, Cleveland, OH, Honolulu, HI, San Francisco, CA, Boston, MA and Portsmouth, VA.
  • Legal advisor for Coast Guard and other federal officials regarding urgent maritime operations, regulation of commercial shipping and licensed mariners, environmental compliance, criminal investigations and enforcement, maritime trade, maritime transportation security, investigation of major marine casualties, and international law issues.
  • As Trial Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, litigated civil claims in Admiralty on behalf of the United States, including ship collisions, groundings, oil spills, contract disputes and law enforcement activities.
  • Routinely directed and coordinated complex civil and criminal inter-agency investigations among numerous federal, state and international investigative agencies in maritime domain.
  • Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Districts of Maine and Rhode Island investigating and prosecuting allegations of oil pollution, MARPOL violations, and violent crime on the high seas.
  • Flame S.A. v. Indus. Carriers, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131981 (E.D. Va. Sept. 19, 2014)
  • Kelly v. United States, 7:10-CV-172-FL, 2011 WL 3555853 (E.D.N.C. Aug. 11, 2011
  • Norfolk and Portsmouth Belt Line Railroad Co. v. M/V MARLIN, 2009 A.M.C. 2465 (E.D. Va. 2009)
  • Styron v. Norfolk Dredging Co., 262 F.R.D. 502, 502 (E.D.N.C. 2009)
  • Eck v. United States, 1999 AMC 2941 (S.D.Cal)
  • United States v. Phillips, 56 M.J. 771 (C.G. Ct. Crim. App. 2002)
News and Updates
Steven M. Stancliff Named Chair of the Firm's Admiralty & Maritime Practice Group
Posted on November 14, 2014
Mr. Stancliff joined the firm in 2007 following a distinguished career in the United States Coast Guard, retiring at the rank of Commander.  "Steve's background and expertise make him ideally...
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James Chapman and Steve Stancliff represent partnership in win for rights to salvage gold treasure
Posted on July 10, 2014
CINCINNATI (AP) — A fugitive treasure hunter's company has lost its bid to stop deep-sea explorers from bringing up gold and other artifacts from a ship that sank off the...
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