Lance Campbell v Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd

[B]Case Name: [/B][I]Lance Campbell v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
[/I][B]Date Decided: [/B]September 8, 2009
[B]Court: [/B]U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
[B]Judge: [/B]Judge DeMoss, Judge Prado
[B]Citation: [/B]2009 WK 2870096 (C.A.5(Tex.)[B]Background:
[/B]Plaintiff, Lance Campbell, (“Campbell”) a ballet dancer for defendant, Royal Caribbean Cruises (“Royal Caribbean”).

Campbell was hired to perform on Royal Caribbean’s cruise ship. Prior to embarking, Campbell participated in on-shore rehearsals for his performances.

During one of those performances Campbell was injured and filed a complaint pursuant to the Jones Act. A district court found that Campbell did not qualify as a “seaman” under the Jones Act because the ship had not yet begun its journey when the injury occurred.

Campbell appealed the district court’s finding.

[/B]Did the district court err in ruling that Campbell was not a “Seaman” under the Jones Act because he was injured prior to the journey of the ship?

[/B]This* Court found that the district court did not err in determining that Campbell was not a “seaman” under the Jones Act.

The District court relied on a Supreme Court two-part test, set forth in [I]Chandris Inc. v Latsis [/I](515 U.S. 347 (1995)).

First, an employee’s duties must “contribute to the function of the vessel or to the accomplishment of its missions”.

Second, a "seaman must have a connection to a vessel in navigation that is substantial in terms of both its duration and its nature.

This Court declined to expand Jones Act coverage to those who simply [I]intend [/I]to serve as seaman. Campbell failed to show that he had a "connection to a vessel in navigation that is substantial in terms of both its nature and duration.

Accordingly the lower court’s rulings were affirmed.

The Court relied on previous Supreme Court and Fifth Circuit precedent in refusing to extend the coverage of the Jones Act. [/B]

[B]The Supreme Court in [I]Desper v. Starved Rock Ferry Co.[/I] (342 U.S. 187 (1952), concluded that a worker who suffered injuries ewhile completing land-based work on preparation for placing boats in the water and serving as a boat operator was not a seaman.[/B]

[B]Moreover, the Fifth Cirtuit, in [I]Ramos v. Delmar Systems Inc. [/I](750 F.2d 389 (5th ir. 1985) held that an employee who suffered an injury before the employer [I]actually assigned him to a particular vessel [/I]or group of vessel was not a seaman.[/B]

[B]Steve Gordon