Vasquez v. YII Shipping Co., Ltd., 2012 WL 6114840 (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, December 10, 2012). Free copy available here.
Who is affected? Ocean carriers, and others invoking the maritime law of the U.S. in litigation to sue a defendant in the U.S. court where that defendant has traits that may indicate that neither that defendant nor its actions in the matter which is the subject of the complaint are legally attributable to the U.S.
Sometimes a defendant sued in a U.S. court can have the case against it dismissed on grounds that the defendant has nothing substantial to do with the location where the court sits or to the circumstances that comprise the case and controversy before that court.
A “whistle-blower” case against a railroad in federal court and a similar state court case against a motor carrier in state court provide an occasion for employers and employees among railroads and motor carriers to understand federal versus state law rules; and to identify what sort of claims have access to an administrative agency versus which provide access directly to a lawsuit in federal court for money damages in front of a jury.
Six basic points about federal “whistle-blower” or “anti-retaliation” statutes:
1. Employees of both railroads and motor carriers have access to well-defined “whistle-blower” or “anti-retaliation” remedies under federal law. (There are federal “whistle-blower” statutes in aviation too, but you can only cover so much in one blog post.)