Luis Beltran Flores v. Predco Services Corp., et al

[B]Date Decided[/B]: Mar 11[SUP]th[/SUP], 2011
[B]Decided By[/B]: New Jersey District Court (Federal)
[B]Court[/B]: United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
[B]Citation[/B]: 2011 WL 883640
Luis Beltran Flores (“Flores”) worked as a seaman on board the commercial fishing vessel, the [I]M/V CAPTAIN LINWOOD[/I] (“the Vessel”). Flores sustained serious bodily injury while the Vessel was fishing in Texas waters. Specifically, his right arm was torn off above the elbow.
On January 3, 2007 Flores brought suit in Texas state court against Predco Services Corp. (“Predco”) asserting products liability and maritime tort claims. In his complaint, Flores alleged that Predco designed and manufactured a winch that caused his injuries. In response, Predco filed a Motion to Dismiss arguing the state court lacked personal jurisdiction to hear the case. Predco argued that it did not have sufficient contacts in the state of Texas such that the state court could assert jurisdiction.
The state court denied Predco’s motion, but following an appeal, the Texas Court of Appeals reversed and dismissed Flores’ complaint on February 11, 2010. Flores’ filed a motion for rehearing which the Court of Appeals denied on March 18, 2010.
Flores then filed a similar complaint in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey on March 12, 2010. Therein, Flores asserted the district court had jurisdiction pursuant to the Jones Act.
Before the Court is Predco’s Motion to Dismiss the district court suit. Predco argues that Flores’ claim is time-barred because he failed to bring the suit in a court of competent jurisdiction within the three-year statute of limitations. Flores counters that he is entitled to equitable tolling of the limitations period and should be allowed to proceed.
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