Recently, attorney Lee J. Bloomfield, presented a seminar entitled: “Don’t Miss the Boat: Basics of Maritime Personal Injury Law in 45 Minutes”
From the seminar papers, we are producing a blog series. This post is the third post, in this series. This post will cover the topic: The Jones Act (Procedure).
Jones Act Procedure
Jones Act cases can be filed in federal court, either on the law side or on the admiralty side. If brought on the law side, the plaintiff can ask for a jury trial. If brought on the admiralty side, there is no jury trial. Cases are brought in admiralty by designating in the complaint that it is brought pursuant to Rule 9(h) of the FRCP. A Jones Act case can also be brought in state court pursuant to the Savings to Suitors Clause of 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). This gives a plaintiff the right to pursue an in personam maritime claim in a state court in a civil action with a jury. Such suits filed in state court may not be removed even where there is diversity. Fields v. Pool, 182 F.3d 353 (5th Cir. 1999); Lewis v. Lewis & Clark Marine, Inc., 531 U.S. 438 Offshore, Inc. (2001).
As the Jones Act incorporates by reference the FELA, the three (3) year statute oflimitations prescribed by that act is also applicable to Jones Act cases.
The next post, of our serices will cover the Jones Act (Unseaworthiness).