Jones Act Case Study: Cristo Andrade v Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.

Case Name: Cristo Andrade v Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.
Date Decided: July, 14, 2009
Court: U.S.D.C. Southern District of Florida
Citation: 2009 WL 2045686 (S.D. Fla.)

Background:
Plaintiff, Cristo Andrade (“Andrade”), is an injured seaman who worked for defendant, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (“Royal”). Andrade sued Royal for Jones Act negligence, unseaworthiness, failure to provide maintenance and cure, and for lost wages. Defendant removed the case pursuant to the Convention, because plaintiff had entered into an employment agreement containing an arbitration clause.

Both parties litigated in state court for five months. Royal removed the action on the basis of an arbitration clause Andrede was bound to. Andrede filed a motion to remand contending because the action was litigated in state court, Royal waived its right to remove the action pursuant to the arbitration clause.

Issue: Will the court grant plaintiff’s motion to remand?

Held:
The New York Convention states that “where the subject matter of an action or proceeding in State court relates to an arbitration agreement or award falling under the convention, the defendant… may at any time before trial thereof, remove such action”.

Defendants removed this case after litigating in state court and before trial was even noticed.

Plaintiff asserts litigation was a waiver of the right to arbitration. This Court held that the unambiguous language of the Convention allows removal into the state court litigation.

Accordingly Andrede’s motion to remand was denied.

Comment:
The arbitration clause the plaintiff entered into was subject to the New York Convention. Under the Convention, a defendant, at any time, may remove a claim pursuant to a right to arbitration, prior to the start of a trial
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Steve Gordon
http://www.offshoreinjuries.com