Erzsebet Kovacs v. Carnival Corporation

[B]Case Name: [/B][I]Erzsebet Kovacs v. Carnival Corporation
[/I][B]Date Decided: [/B]December 21, 2009
[B]Court: [/B]U.S.D.C. Southern District of Florida
[B]Judge: [/B]Judge Huck
[B]Citation: [/B]2009 WL 4980277 (S.D.Fla.)[B]Background:
[/B]The matter before this Court was Plaintiff’s (Kovacs), Motion to Remand. The underlying action involved whether the Court is required to use Panamanian law in arbitrating a Seaman’s Wage Act claim made by the plaintiff.

[/B]Did this Court remand the Seaman’s Wage Act claim?

[/B]Defendants, Carnival Corporation, conceded that Panamanian law did not provide seaman with a reasonable equivalent to the rights provided by the Seaman’s Wage Act.

Moreover, Carnival agreed that it would be inappropriate to arbitrate a Seaman’s Wage Act claim using Panamanian law because it would effectively deprive the claimant of the rights provided by the Seaman’s Wage Act, in violation of public policy.

As such, Carnival stipulated to the application of U.S. law for Kovac’s claim.

This Court found, in fact, that Panamanian law does not provide a seaman with an equivalent of rights provided under the Act. Moreover, this Court found it would be inefficient and improper to split Kovac’s Jones Act and/Seaman’s Wage Act claim and then compel arbitration of Kovac’s nonstatutory claims for unseaworthiness and failure to provide maintenance and cure.

This Court granted Kovac’s motion to remand.

The Seaman’s Wage Act provides that the master, at the end of each voyage, shall pay each seaman their wages within 24 hours after the cargo has been discharged or within 4 days after seaman has been discharged. [/B]

[B]Failure to do so, without sufficient cause, gives the seaman a right to recover 2 days of wages for [I]each day payment is delayed[/I]. [/B]

[B]Steve Gordon [/B]