For over thirty years John Congalton has represented individuals, small and large businesses, and governmental entities as plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of maritime and commercial disputes. Matters have resolved through litigation in state and federal trial and appellate courts, and arbitrations and mediations under alternative dispute resolution procedures. He currently serves as Co-Chair of the Admiralty Committee of the Federal Bar Association of the Western District of Washington.

Representative Clients

Clients have included vessel owners, operators, crew members, passengers, divers, salvors, manufacturers of marine equipment, suppliers, repairers, underwriters, brokers and marine attorneys. Their issues have involved ship mortgages, maritime liens, charters, marine insurance, products liability, personal guarantees, letters of credit, personal injury and wrongful death, collisions, allisions and sinkings among other matters.

Representative Engagements
  • Counsel or co-counsel for both plaintiff and defendant in numerous claims for serious maritime personal injuries or wrongful death, involving all kinds of watercraft, including commercial fishing and processing vessels, state ferries, and cruise ships.
  • Counsel for individual guarantors of obligation to pay purchase price of commercial vessel.
  • Counsel for foreign company in action to enforce foreign arbitration award against U.S. company.
  • Counsel for foreign company defending against breach of contract and RICO allegations arising from termination of distributorship agreement.
  • Counsel for foreign company defending against allegedly defective product installed on plaintiff’s vessel.
  • Litigation consultant, Office of Attorney General, State of Washington in action arising from bridge allision.
  • Litigation consultant, matter of pipeline explosion and client’s potential personal liability.
  • Counsel for foreign company in defense of wrongful termination allegations.
  • Counsel for marine surveyor sued for alleged negligence in certifying condition and valuation of vessel prior to its final voyage.
  • Counsel for diving school for insurance issues related to barge sinking.
  • Counsel for Fortune 500 company in amicably resolving claims by boat owners for damages from allegedly defective component.
  • Counsel for Fortune 500 company defending against claim for damage to barges allegedly caused by client’s cargo.
Professional & Community Activities

Memberships & Associations: Norwegian Commercial Club, President (2013-2014), Vice-President (2012-2013)

Proctor, Maritime Law Association of the United States (1990-present)

Federal Bar Association of the Western District of Washington (Trustee, 2001-2003); Co-chair, Admiralty Committee (1988‐1994, 1998‐2000, 2011‐present); Member Merit Selection Panel Magistrate-Judge (1999, 2001); Co-Chair, Federal Appointments Committee (2003-2010)

Academic: Adjunct Professor, University of Puget Sound, Graduate School of Business (1980-1985)

Community Service: Board Member, King County Boys and Girls Club (2003-2007); Member, Inner Circle; Board Member, Mercer Island Boys and Girls Club (President 1987-1989) [helped to gain approval from the city and the neighborhood for a new gymnasium and to raise funds for its construction]