Jones Act Doesn't Preempt State

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Supreme Court of Texas ruled that a state law respecting a procedural framework for claims for personal injury allegedly caused by silica and asbestos is not preempted by the federal law regarding claims for personal injury of crewmembers (the Jones Act).  In the instant case, the plaintiff alleged injury from asbestos and silica while employed by defendant corporation aboard a vessel.  He brought suit in state court under the Jones Act.  Plaintiff failed to comply with certain procedural requirements of the state law and the defendant moved to have the case transferred to another court in accordance with the state law. 

Plaintiff opposed the transfer, arguing that the Jones Act preempted the state law.  The court hearing the motion agreed with the plaintiff and the defendant appealed.  The Texas Supreme Court reversed, holding that while the Jones Act prevails on substantive issues, state procedural law is not preempted.  In re Global Santa Fe Corporation, No. 07-0040 (Texas, December 5, 2008).

(Source: Holland & Knight)

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