Kirby Aarsheim - Partner

Farrell Smith O’Connell LLP

27 Congress St., Suite 109

Salem, Massachusetts 01970

Phone: 978-744-8918 x 16

Fax: 978-666-0383
Email: kaarsheim@fsofirm.com


Attorney Aarsheim’s family owns commercial scallop fishing vessels with a home port of New Bedford, Massachusetts. She has been involved with the operational aspects of owning fishing vessels, including damage claims, insurance coverage, regulatory matters, and fishery management.  Her exposure to and involvement in the fishing industry since a very young age has provided her with a unique perspective on commercial fishing operations as well as other aspects of the maritime industry.


Attorney Aarsheim is currently appointed as an Advisor on the New England Fishery Management Council Enforcement/VMS Committee’s Advisory Panel. As an Advisor, she provides assistance in reviewing enforcement measures and developing management plans to the Enforcement/VMS Committee, which considers the enforceability aspects of management measures proposed by other committees as well as general enforcement policies and priorities.


She presently serves on the Board of Governors for the Propeller Club Port of Boston. She is also serving a three-year term as a Director on The Maritime Law Association of the United States’ Board of Directors.


Before joining Farrell Smith O’Connell, Attorney Aarsheim worked as an associate for many years at a renowned maritime defense firm in Boston, Massachusetts. While in law school, Attorney Aarsheim participated in the Rhode Island Sea Grant Legal Program and gained legal experience from other local reputable maritime law firms.


Attorney Aarsheim’s practice includes marine casualties and personal injury defense, Jones Act defense, fisheries regulations, United States Coast Guard regulatory actions, maritime transactional work, and vessel owner defense in Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation section 905(b) matters. Attorney Aarsheim also handles cases involving subrogation recovery, product liability, and general insurance defense.


Practice Areas

      • Civil Maritime Litigation Defense
      • Vessel Owner Assistance, including transactional work
      • Defense of Longshore and Harbor Worker's Compensation, Section 905(b) Claims
      • United States Coast Guard Regulations
      • Fisheries Regulations
      • Tort Litigation
      • Personal Injury Defense
      • Subrogation Recovery
      • Product Liability
      • Insurance Coverage Matters


Admissions
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts

  • State of Rhode Island

  • First Circuit Court of Appeals

  • United States District Court, District of Massachusetts

  • United States District Court, District of Rhode Island


Education
  • Roger Williams University School of Law, J.D.
    Honors: CALI Awards, Highest Grades in Maritime Personal Injury Law and Fisheries Law

  • Bentley University, B.S., cum laude
    Honors: High Distinction in Management Award

Professional Affiliations & Bar Associations
Current Appointments:
  • Director, The Maritime Law Association of the United States

  • Secretary, The Maritime Law Association’s Practice & Procedure Committee

  • Board Member, Boston Propeller Club’s Board of Governors

  • Advisor, New England Fishery Management Council’s Enforcement/VMS Committee Advisory Panel

  • Editorial Fellow, American Maritime Cases

  • Vice Chair, American Bar Association Tort Trial Insurance Practice (TIPS) Admiralty & Maritime Law Committee’s (AMLC)


Memberships:
  • Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association

  • Mariners Club of Massachusetts

  • Port of Narragansett Propeller Club

  • Federal Bar Association

  • Massachusetts Bar Association

  • Rhode Island Bar Association


Publications
  • Co-Author, Recent Development in Admiralty and Maritime Law, ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal, Volume 53, Issue 2, Winter 2018.

  • Co-Author, Opposing Perspectives: Should Fishing Permits be Classified as Appurtenances and Submit to Attachment of a Maritime Lien? Benedict’s Maritime Bulletin, Volume 15, Issue 4, Fourth Quarter 2017.

  • Co-Author, Recent Development in Admiralty and Maritime Law, ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal, Volume 52, Issue 2, Winter 2017.

  • Author, Limiting the Vessel Owner’s Liability to the Value of the Vessel and… Its Fishing Permits? ABA Admiralty and Maritime Law Committee Newsletter, Fall 2013. (Selected for the Cover Article).

Speeches & Presentations
  • October, 2018, presentation at the Maritime Law Association’s Fisheries and Practice & Procedure Committees’ Joint Meeting on how Fishing Vessel Permits are treated under various aspects Maritime Law.

  • June, 2018, organized and moderated the American Bar Association Tort Trial Insurance Practice Admiralty & Maritime Law Committee’s presentation on a Panel of Members from All Stages of Fishermen Claims.

  • May, 2018, presentation at the Maritime Law Association’s Fisheries Committee Meeting on the Cod Father case.

  • May, 2017, presented an update on the OW Bunker cases at the Maritime Law Association’s Practice & Procedure Committee meeting.

  • June, 2012, presentation on the issues surrounding recovery of munitions by fishing vessels to a diverse group of vessel owners, insurance brokers, and underwriters.

Notable Cases
  • Obtained a dismissal of the United States Coast Guard’s violation and fine against a vessel owner for failure to comply with incident reporting requirements.

  • Successfully reduced the United States Coast Guard’s violation and fine to warning against a vessel owner for failure to comply with Ballast Water Management regulations.

  • Obtained judgment for yacht owner against a marina in Namoh v. Boston Waterboat Marina, Inc., 2017 WL 3913938 (D. Mass. Sept. 9, 2017).

  • Obtained partial summary judgment, and affirmed on appeal, in favor of fishing vessel owner where the First Circuit extended the Fifth Circuit’s rule that once a vessel owner pays maintenance and cure to the injured seaman, the payments can be recovered by an offset against the seaman’s damages award in Block Island Fishing, Inc. v. Rogers., 149 F. Supp. 3d 214 (D. Mass.), aff’d in part, vacated in part, remanded sub nom. Block Island Fishing, Inc. v. Rogers, 844 F.3d 358 (1st Cir. 2016).

  • Obtained dismissal of all loss of consortium claims granted by Suffolk Superior Court and decision upheld on appeal in Casey Thibeault, Individually and as Parent, Guardian, and Next Friend of Boone Thibeault, and Melissa Thibeault, Individually and as Parent, Guardian, and Next Friend of Boone Thibeault vs. Nautic Global Group, Inc., and Rockingham Boat Repair and Sales, Inc. (unpublished decision).

  • Obtained summary judgment for vessel owner in Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act Section 905(b) claim by oil inspector in Dias v. TMS Seacod GmbH & Co. KG, 84 F. Supp. 3d 107 (D.R.I. 2015).

  • Successfully defended sailing vessel owner by securing defense verdict in personal injury case, Kristen Farmer v. Bluejacket Sailing Corp. (unpublished decision).

  • Obtained dismissal on all claims and affirmed by Court of Appeals based on statute of limitations in Lynch v. Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., LLC, 2013 WL 870207, at *1 (Mass. Super. Feb. 21, 2013), and appeal reported at Lynch v. Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., LLC, 84 Mass. App. Ct. 1118, 996 N.E.2d 500 (2013).