TAMPA — The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida has granted a motion to dismiss a lawsuit involving injuries suffered by the captain of a shipping vessel.
Judge James D. Whittemore dismissed the case on the grounds that the matter should be heard in state court, stating the state court can consider the factual issues and is well-equipped to apply federal maritime law.
In 2016, plaintiffs Emerald Marine Holdings LTD, Bluewave Investments LTD and Bluewave Marine Holdings LTD filed an action in federal court to determine what obligation they had to defendant Capt. David Anderson.
Anderson had sent a demand letter to the companies seeking compensation for injuries he suffered while employed as a captain of one of Emerald Marine Holdings's ships.
The plaintiffs sought to force a judgment of jurisdiction and responsibility because Anderson filed a lawsuit in Pinellas County Circuit Court, according to court records.
The plaintiffs asserted that the Anderson had waived his right to have a hearing in state court when he signed his contract, and because the incident occurred in international waters, it was a federal matter.
Whittemore did not agree that Anderson waived this right and insisted that it was an issue for the state court to decide.
Whittmore then considered several other factors surrounding the case, including whether it would be uneconomical to proceed with the case in federal court. He declared the state as the proper venue.
“Resolving all of Anderson’s claims in state court is more effective remedy than a piecemeal determination of some of his claims against some of the parties in federal court,“ Whittmore wrote in his decision. “Stated differently, it is more effective to have all of his claims considered by the state court. This factor weighs in favor of dismissal.”
Whittemore remanded the case back to state court and closed the federal case.