Because the venue selection clause in the seaman’s employment agreement with his former employer was not void under the Jones Act, and because it was not unenforceable as unjust or unreasonable, the clause could be enforced against the seaman.
David L. Riley, Plaintiff, v. Trident Seafoods Corporation, Defendant.
Civil No. 11-2500 (MJD/AJB)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9002
January 9, 2012, Decided
Plaintiff seaman sued defendants under the Jones and General Maritime Law. Defendants moved to dismiss the matter based on a venue selection clause contained in the seamen’s employment contract.
Because the venue selection clause in the seaman’s employment agreement with his former employer was not void under the Jones Act, and because it was not unenforceable as unjust or unreasonable, the clause could be enforced against the seaman. The seaman agreed to bring disputes arising out of his employment, and specifically disputes arising under the Jones Act and the general maritime law, in the federal or state courts in Washington. Thus, the case should be heard there. In the interest of judicial economy, justice would best be served by transfer, rather than dismissal.
Recommended that motion be granted.
In awarding plaintiff seaman the amount charged for his medical services, rather than the amount accepted as full payment from his insurance company, the district court went beyond the scope of cure; as the shipowner’s conduct in its maintenance and cure denial was not arbitrary and capricious the attorney’s fee award was unwarranted.
LEON MANDERSON, Plaintiff – Appellant – Cross-Appellee v. CHET MORRISON CONTRACTORS, INCORPORATED, Defendant – Appellee – Cross-Appellant
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
666 F.3d 373; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 18
January 3, 2012, Filed
Plaintiff seaman challenged the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana’s denial of his claims under the Jones Act and general maritime law and of his costs; defendant shipowner challenged the amount plaintiff was awarded for cure and his being awarded attorney’s fees, including the amount.
When plaintiff, a licensed engineer aboard a dive vessel, was aboard another of the shipowner’s vessels, he left it abruptly and was hospitalized, receiving treatment for ulcerative colitis, diabetes, and a liver condition. He did not return to work. The appellate court held that there was no clear error in the district courts’ findings (1) that plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence to find that the shipowner violated 46 C.F.R. § 15.1111(a) concerning rest periods or 46 C.F.R. § 15.1103(c) concerning qualified personnel to relieve plaintiff from duty, and (2) that even though the shipowner failed to post a watch schedule, violating 46 C.F.R. § 15.1111(g), it was not practical for masters of vessels with such a small crew to do so. However, in awarding the amount charged for his medical services, rather than the amount accepted as full payment from his insurance company, the district court went beyond the scope of cure. As a result, the cure award was modified. Moreover, the shipowner’s conduct in its maintenance and cure denial was not arbitrary and capricious, and did not show callousness and indifference to plaintiff’s plight, so the attorney’s fee award was vacated.
The district court’s judgment was modified as to the amount of cure, vacated as to the attorney’s fee award, affirmed in all remaining aspects and remanded for entry of judgment consistent with the opinion
The trial court erred in determining that a riverboat casino was a vessel for general maritime law purposes because the riverboat was practically incapable of transportation or movement.
THOMAS LEMELLE VERSUS ST. CHARLES GAMING COMPANY, INC.
COURT OF APPEAL OF LOUISIANA, THIRD CIRCUIT
11-255 (La.App. 3 Cir. 01/04/12); 2012 La. App. LEXIS 4
January 4, 2012, Judgment Rendered
The appellate reviewed the lower court’s summary judgment order regarding whether the riverboat was a vessel for maritime purposes.
A gaming company challenged an order granting plaintiff customer summary judgment in the customer’s action to recover damages for injuries he sustained while aboard the company’s riverboat casino. The trial court erred in determining that the riverboat was a vessel for general maritime law purposes. The riverboat was practically incapable of transportation or movement. It been affixed in its dockside location, to some degree, since 2001 by lines and cables. It had not sailed since the 2001 Louisiana legislation prohibiting it from conducting cruises or excursions. In fact, since 2001, its crew size has been reduced due to the lack of need to tie and untie the riverboat onto the dock. According to the testimony of the captain, the Coast Guard no longer inspects the riverboat.
Partial summary judgment reversed