Article-Jone Act Overview By State

Please see Article Below

This would be much easier to read if it were broken into paragraphs.

[B]The below was part of what our search engine optimizer person asked us to create to “draw” traffic to our firm’s website. They turn around and “publish” it everywhere. There were many different topics. So, it is little bit “business getting” oriented. Believe me there was a lot I took out about how great our firm is to “mellow” it for a member post. But, I thought that the informative stuff was good for ya’ll to know, so I am posting it. HERE IT IS:[/B]

The Jones Act is a Federal Law. That is, it is substantively the same in all fifty (50) states including D.C., Guam and all other United States Territories. However, the “Savings to Suitors” clause in the United States Constitution gives the absolute right to a seaman to file suit in a state court regardless of diversity among the parties to the lawsuit. The practical effects of a state court filing are procedural rather than substantive. Maritime work has never been easy. It has never been without risk, and that is as true now as it has ever been. While the concept of maintenance and cure has been in place for hundreds of years, the federal government eventually decided that it was necessary to formalize and standardize employee protections.

The result was the Merchant Marine act of 1920 or the Jones Act. If you have suffered an offshore injury in the course and scope of employment of your work, then you may recover compensation for your injuries under the Jones Act. Before there were interstates, airlines and even railroads, maritime workers formed the foundation of commerce, trade and industry throughout the world. Today’s seamen are part of an ancient tradition and a profession that has been in place as long as civilization. The Jones Act formally codified in federal maritime law protections for injured workers that had been established for centuries. It allows workers who have been injured in their work on US flagged vessels, through the negligence of a ship-owner, captain or fellow employee, a federally recognized protection to recover compensation for damages. For families and individuals who may be facing expensive medical bills, rehabilitation, lost wages, diminished earning potential and, in the most serious cases, funeral expenses, the protections of the Jones Act are crucial.
The “Savings to Suitors Clause” [/I]

As Discussed above, the Jones act is federal law. The reason the Congress did this is so there would be uniformity (comity) among the states in application of the law. However, seaman are afforded very special protection. For example, if a person lives in Louisiana and they get hit in Louisiana while driving their car by a truck and the truck driver/owner lives in Mississippi, then the case will be in federal court because there is “diversity of citizenship” (the party on one side of the lawsuit [the plaintiff] is from a different state than the party on the other side [the defendant]=”diversity of citizenship”) and, therefore, if the amount in controversy is above $75,000.00, the case will remain in Federal Court. This is true even if, initially, the plaintiff sued in a state court because the defendant would simply “remove” it to federal court. However, a Jones Act plaintiff is not subject to this “removal” and has an absolute right to choose their forum.

The problem that this presents to the typical practitioner is that they are wholly unfamiliar and “afraid” of state courts they are not licensed in because they are not familiar with the Rules of Civil Procedure in that particular state. Also, only a very small percentage of lawyers actually are licensed in Federal Court and an even smaller percentage actually practice regularly in Federal Court. Hence, they are also “scared” of Federal Court. What this practically means is that if a Jones Act plaintiff hires just any lawyer, they are, in essence, sealing their fate because the lawyer does not consider ALL the potential venues that the case could be filed. This is not a good thing and, therefore, an injured seaman should only hire a Jones Act Law Firm that has lawyers that are familiar with almost all states’ Rules of Civil Procedure and certainly with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Being timid is not the kind of lawyer that you want representing you.

I Wish You Calm Seas

Try That…I hope it helps and if you have any questions about it, please feel free to PM me.

I Wish You Calm Seas