JONES ACT SEAFARER’S personal injury CLAIMS AGAINST CARNIVAL CORPORATION WERE COMPELLED TO FOREIGN ARBITRATION AFTER DISTRICT COURT SEVERED CHOICE OF LAW PROVISION WHICH CALLED FOR APPLICATION OF PANAMANIAN LAW.
AGNELO CARDOSO, vs. CARNIVAL CORPORATION, Defendant.
CASE NO. 09-23442-CIV-GOLD/MCALILEY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24602
March 16, 2010, Entered
In a Jones Act case, district court compelled arbitration of seafarer’s Jones Act, Maintenance and Cure, Unseaworthiness and failure to provide prompt and adequate medical treatment.
In this Jones Act case arising out of injuries sustained by a seamen employed aboard a Carnival vessel, the seafarer’s agreement contained a choice of law provision and choice of forum provision, which called for the application of Panamanian Law in England, Monaco, Panama or Manila, whichever is closer to the Seafarer’s home country. Suit was originally filed in Florida State court alleging claims under the Jones Act case, Maintenance and Cure, Unseaworthiness and failure to provide prompt and adequate medical treatment. Case was removed to Federal Court pursuant to the federal removal statutes, see 28 U.S.C. § 1441 3 and 28 U.S.C. § 1446, and the removal provision of the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 9 U.S.C. § 201, et seq. District Court noted two competing policy considerations: the first being the policy in favor of compelling arbitration; the second, being the policy which calls on courts to protect “a party’s right to pursue statutory remedies” as a matter of “public policy.” Court held that the appropriate remedy was to sever the Panamanian choice-of-law provision in accordance with Paragraph 9 (severance clause) of the agreement at issue, and compel arbitration.
The district court severed the choice of law provision and compelled arbitration.