Advertising Disclosure Email Disclosure

Jones Act and general maritime claims are not removable on their own.

January 1, 2019
Whittaker v. Vane Line Bunkering, Inc., et. al., 18-539, USDC for the Northern District of New York, Nov. 27, 2018

This action involved an underlying lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Ulster County (state court), in which the plaintiff alleged violations of the Jones Act (46 U.S.C. § 30104), the General Maritime Law (including the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, 33 U.S.C. § 905(b)), New York Labor Law § 200, and common law negligence claims. The defendants subsequently removed the action to the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, claiming diversity jurisdiction and “original and exclusive jurisdiction…pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1333 because the Complaint alleges in rem claims against the vessels DBL-25 and Ruby M.” In turn, the plaintiff filed a motion to file and serve a second amended verified complaint and to vacate the notice of removal. In his proposed second amended verified complaint, the plaintiff no longer included the vessels in the case caption and no longer asserted the “vessel negligence” claims. In deciding the motion, the federal court explained that Jones Act claims and general maritime claims are not removable on their own, such claims may be removed to federal court if joined with a claim that presents a federal question under Section 1331. As such, because the “vessel negligence” in rem claims were no longer being asserted by the plaintiff, the federal court no longer had exclusive federal jurisdiction. As such, the federal court remanded the case to state court “[o]ut of respect for the limited jurisdiction of the federal courts and the rights of the states.” 

 

Case Law Alerts, 1st Quarter, January 2019

Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Copyright © 2019 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, all rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm.

Affiliated Attorney

(856) 675-3606
cjdicicco@mdwcg.com

Practice Areas

Before you send this email please note:

You are attempting to send email, through a link on our website, to an attorney of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin or an employee in our firm. Please note that your email may not be treated as confidential and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely upon the transmission of an email through this website if you are seeking to enter into such a relationship. Until such time as we have agreed to represent you, no information in your email will be treated as confidential. Please contact us directly by telephone at 1.800.220.3308 if it is your intent to seek legal counsel with our firm or convey confidential information.

If it is still your intent to send this email, knowing that it may not be treated as confidential, you may accept our terms of agreement by pressing "OK". If you choose not to accept these terms of agreement you may navigate away from this page by pressing "Cancel."