Sivanandi v. NCL Limited

[B]Date Decided[/B]: Apr 15th, 2010
[B]Decided By[/B]: Florida Southern District Court (federal)
[B]Court[/B]: U.S.D.C. S.D. Florida
[B]Citation[/B]: Sivanandi v. NCL Ltd., 2010 WL 1875685 (S.D. FL 2010)
Sivanandi, plaintiff, was employed by NCL, Ltd (“NCL”) as an assistant line cook aboard its vessel. While he working he slipped and fell on two separate occasions. As a result of the two falls, plaintiff had to have knee surgery and presently walks with a cane and a limp while experiencing continued knee pain. He filed his complain in state court but the defendant’s removed the case due to the U.S. Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards (“Convention”) and its enabling legislation.

Once the claim was removed, the defendant moved to dismiss the claim and to compel arbitration pursuant to an arbitration provision in the employment contract. The language of this provision requires the plaintiff to submit his claims to arbitration proceedings in India or the Bahamas and to apply Bahamian law.

Sivanandi opposes the arbitration arguing that it is against public policy to mandate Bahamian law apply and to do so would preclude him from pursuing his Jones Act claim pursuant to U.S. law. Further, he seeks to remand the case on three grounds: 1) a Jones Act claim is not removable, 2) the arbitration provision is an impermissible forum selection clause, and 3) the arbitration provision constitutes an impermissible prospective waiver of his statutory right to pursue a Jones Act Claim. Read More…