Asignacion v. Rickmers Genoa Schiffahrts
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
2014 AMC 713 (2014)
Lito Martinez Asignacion (plaintiff) was a Filipino seaman working on a vessel owned by Rickmers Genoa Schiffahrts (Rickmers) (defendant), a German corporation. Asignacion and Rickmers had entered into a standard maritime-employment contract under Philippine law that specified that any disputes or claims arising from Asignacion’s employment would be resolved through arbitration in the Philippines. Asignacion was burned and severely injured while working in the engine room of the vessel when it was docked in the port of New Orleans. Asignacion filed suit in state court against Rickmers under maritime law. Rickmers filed an exception to the suit seeking to enforce the arbitration clause in the employment contract. The court granted the exception, stayed Asignacion’s litigation, and ordered arbitration to proceed in the Philippines. The Philippine arbitration panel held that United States law should not apply and that Asignacion was only entitled to benefits of $1,870 based on his level of disability. Asignacion filed a motion asking that the arbitration award be set aside as against United States public policy. Rickmers removed the action to federal district court and filed a motion to enforce the arbitration award.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Zainey, J.)
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