Quimbee logo with url
From our private database of 14,500+ case briefs...

SeaWorld of Florida, LLC v. Perez

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
748 F.3d 1202 (D.C. Cir. 2014)


SeaWorld of Florida, LLC (SeaWorld) (defendant) operated a theme park that offered shows featuring killer whales. SeaWorld had several killer whales, including one named Tilikum. Tilikum was known to have aggressive tendencies and had previously killed a trainer while at a marine park in British Columbia. A substantial number of SeaWorld’s other killer whales had recorded instances of dangerous behavior, including biting trainers, lunging at trainers, and pulling trainers into the water. SeaWorld had protocols for working with the killer whales. For instance, trainers were prohibited from performing waterwork with Tilikum, which involved working in water deeper than the trainers’ knees. On February 24, 2010, Dawn Brancheau, a SeaWorld trainer, was interacting with Tilikum during a drywork show, which involved working from a platform submerged only a few inches below the water. Tilikum grabbed Brancheau and pulled her into the water, causing her to drown. After Brancheau’s death, SeaWorld required all trainers working with Tilikum to work from a distance or behind a barrier. SeaWorld also prohibited waterworks with all other killer whales. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigated Brancheau’s death. U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez (Secretary) issued a citation against SeaWorld for violating the general-duty clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (Act), 29 U.S.C. §§ 651-78, by exposing employees to the recognized hazard of working with killer whales without providing adequate protection. The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) found that working with killer whales was hazardous and that the Secretary had proposed feasible abatement procedures, such as requiring physical barriers. The OSHRC accordingly found that SeaWorld had violated the general-duty clause of the Act by not using these procedures before Brancheau’s death. SeaWorld petitioned for review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Rogers, J.)

Dissent (Kavanaugh, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 269,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,500 briefs, keyed to 195 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.