Defendant watercraft was a “vessel” under 1 U.S.C.S. § 3, as it was capable of transportation over water by means of tow, so it was not error to find federal admiralty jurisdiction over the vessel; timing between vessel’s owner’s victory in a prior state court eviction action and this case was not enough to establish First Amendment retaliation.
THE CITY OF RIVIERA BEACH, Plaintiff-Appellee, versus THAT CERTAIN UNNAMED GRAY, TWO-STORY VESSEL APPROXIMATELY FIFTY-SEVEN FEET IN LENGTH, her engines, tackle, apparel, furniture, equipment and all other necessaries appertaining and belonging in rem, Defendant, FANE LOZMAN, Claimant-Appellant.
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT
649 F.3d 1259; 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 17232; 23 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. C 290
August 19, 2011, Decided
Plaintiff city filed an admiralty complaint against defendant vessel to foreclose maritime necessaries liens under 46 U.S.C.S. § 31342, and for trespass. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida issued a warrant for the vessel’s arrest. The vessel’s owner filed an emergency motion to dismiss and return the vessel. The city moved for summary judgment. The district court granted summary judgment. The owner appealed.
The subject watercraft received power from land and had no motive power or steering of its own. The watercraft’s owner, who lived onboard while it was docked in the city’s marina, claimed it was not movable, though it had been towed several times over considerable distances. Inter alia, the appellate court held that the craft was a “vessel” under 1 U.S.C.S. § 3, as it was capable of transportation over water by means of a tow. The district court did not err in finding federal admiralty jurisdiction over the vessel. The district court’s factual findings regarding the amount the owner owed under the city’s maritime lien for necessaries were not clearly erroneous. The timing between the owner’s victory in a prior state court eviction action and this case was not enough to establish a First Amendment retaliation claim. Judicial estoppel was not appropriate, as there was no clear inconsistency between the city’s earlier position that the dockage agreement was governed by state landlord-tenant law and the city’s current position that the watercraft was a vessel subject to federal admiralty jurisdiction. The owner’s collateral estoppel argument was also unpersuasive.
The district court’s orders of partial summary judgment and final judgment in favor of the city were affirmed.
Eleventh Circuit improperly overturns its own prior precedent and finds that public policy is not a valid defense to enforcement of a FOREIGN arbitration provision in a crewmember contract, but is only a valid defense at the confirmation stage. Pending Motion for Rehearing En Banc, the parties settled all claims. As such, Lindo is merely an advisory opinion.
HAROLD LEONEL PINEDA LINDO, Plaintiff-Appellant, versus NCL (BAHAMAS), LTD, d.b.a. NCL, Defendant-Appellee.
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT
652 F.3d 1257; 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 18001; 191 L.R.R.M. 2551; 23 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. C 326
August 29, 2011, Decided
Plaintiff employee sued defendant employer on a single count of Jones Act negligence, pursuant to 46 U.S.C.S. § 30104 claiming that the employer breached its duty to supply him with a safe place to work. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida granted the employer’s motion to compel arbitration and dismissed the complaint. The employee appealed the enforcement of an arbitration agreement in his employment contract.
The employee alleged that while acting in the scope of his employment on the employer’s private island in the Bahamas, he injured his back after he was ordered to transport heavy trash bags to the ship on which he served as a crewmember. He later underwent surgery to correct the injury. The employee’s employment was governed by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and an employment contract. The contract specified that all Jones Act claims would be resolved by binding arbitration. Court held that the district court properly enforced the employee’s arbitration agreement in his contract, which provided that his Jones Act claim would be arbitrated in a foreign forum (his own country of citizenship) under Bahamian law because (1) there was a strong presumption of arbitration clause enforcement; (2) the employee’s U.S. statutory claims under the Jones Act were arbitrable; (3) there was no claim—much less any showing—of fraud, mistake, duress, or waiver; (4) the employee’s “contrary to public policy” defense applied only at the arbitral award-enforcement stage and not at the arbitration-enforcement stage; and (5) Congress had not excepted Jones Act claims from arbitration.
The order granting the employer’s motion to dismiss and compel arbitration was affirmed. The employee’s motion to remand was denied. Case settled prior to entry of mandate and is thus merely an advisory opinion.
The Jones Act did not preclude recovery for loss of consortium in an unseaworthiness action. The common law’s recognition of a loss of consortium claim extended to suits brought under general maritime law. Loss of consortium claims became maritime in nature by their inherent connection to the spouse’s maritime tort claim.
CHRISTIAN BARRETTE and KATRENA BARRETTE, Plaintiffs, v. JUBILEE FISHERIES, INC., Defendant.
CASE NO. C10-01206 MJP
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON
2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89514
August 11, 2011, Decided
Plaintiff filed suit under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C.S. § 30104, including a claim by Plaintiff’s wife for loss of consortium. Defendant’s moved to dismiss the loss of consortium claim.
Plaintiff sued under the Jones Act and general maritime law for the personal injuries he sustained during his employment by defendant. Plaintiff’s wife claimed loss of consortium. Defendant moved to dismiss the loss of consortium claim. The court denied defendant’s motion. The Jones Act did not preclude recovery for loss of consortium in an unseaworthiness action. The common law’s recognition of a loss of consortium claim extended to suits brought under general maritime law. Loss of consortium claims became maritime in nature by their inherent connection to the spouse’s maritime tort claim.
Defendant’s motion to dismiss was denied.