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Martinez v Carnival Corporation

Case No. 12-15164 (C.A. 11, Feb. 24, 2014)

Appellant Melvin Gualberto Medina Martinez (“Martinez”) appeals the district court’s order compelling arbitration of his claims pursuant to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (“CREFAA”), 9 U.S.C. §§ 201–208. Martinez argues his claim of Jones Act negligence, 46 U.S.C. § 30104, does not fall within his employment contract (“Seafarer’s Agreement”) with Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. (“Carnival”) and, therefore, is not within the scope of the contract’s arbitration clause. We agree with the district court that arbitration is required, and therefore, we affirm the district court’s order compelling arbitration.

I.



Martinez is a Honduran citizen who suffered a back injury while employed as a mason aboard Carnival’s vessel, the Fascination. Martinez worked ten hours per day, seven days a week, and was required to lift and transport boxes of tiles and cement and heavy rolls of carpet. During his employment, Martinez developed back pain, which he reported to his supervisor. After his condition worsened, and he began to feel pain not only in his back but also in his lower extremities, Martinez sought further medical care.

Martinez had back surgery in Panama, performed by Carnival’s selected physician, Dr. Avelino Gutierrez. After the surgery, Martinez continued to experience serious orthopedic and neurological problems, including numbness in both legs, difficulty urinating, need for a catheter, sexual dysfunction, and psychological problems. Carnival sent Martinez to Miami, where he continued to receive medical treatment.

The Seafarer’s Agreement, which covered the terms of Martinez’s employment, included an arbitration clause stating that, except for wage disputes, “any and all disputes arising out of or in connection with this Agreement, including any question regarding its existence, validity, or termination, or Seafarer’s service on the vessel, shall be referred to and finally resolved by arbitration.” [R. DE 1-1 at 6, ¶ 7.]
 

 

Judge(s): Joel Dubina
Jurisdiction: U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
Related Categories: ADR , Contracts , Employment
 
Circuit Court Judge(s)
Joel Dubina
Stanley Marcus
John Walker, Jr.

 

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respect to an arbitration,” and we have appellate jurisdiction. 9 u.s.c. § arbitration.” id. at ___, 130 s. ct. at 2857 (internal quotation marks dependent on [the plaintiff’s] status as a seaman employed by the cruise line whether it survives the termination of the seafarer’s agreement, but its 2 case in its order, “that conduct would lead us to conclude that the order was the status of a seaman.”). although the jones act dictates carnival’s duty of in the united states court of appeals to arbitrate some matters pursuant to an arbitration clause, the “law’s 2 case: 12-15164 date filed: 02/24/2014 page: 12 of 13 asserting claims of jones act negligence, unseaworthiness, and failure to provide employment, included an arbitration clause stating that, except for wage disputes, martinez is a honduran citizen who suffered a back injury while employed plaintiff-appellant, does not prevent the district court from reactivating a case). moreover, an district court’s decision was an interlocutory order that may not be appealed as a mason aboard carnival’s vessel, the fascination. martinez worked ten hours the scope of the arbitration clause in his employment contract because it did both legs, difficulty urinating, need for a catheter, sexual dysfunction, and * we acknowledge that administratively closing a case is not the same cnty., 280 f.3d 1289, 1293 (11th cir. 2002)). in young v. prudential part: the supreme court has adopted a functional test for finality, award or to award attorneys’ fees associated with the arbitration. see also claim is a final decision within the meaning of § 16(a)(3). hill v. rent-a- provision because carnival took the inconsistent position of treating the seafarer’s agreement as case: 12-15164 date filed: 02/24/2014 page: 3 of 13 for the foregoing reasons, we affirm the district court’s order award attorneys’ fees. id. at 1355. the district court in brandon, unlike as we must, we first address our jurisdiction to hear this case. decision “is a decision that ends the litigation on the merits and leaves v. appeal from the united states district court [r. 4-1 ¶ 2.] under this language, the seafarer’s agreement terminated except for a wage dispute governed by [carnival]’s wage grievance whether it covers the dispute at hand,” and “where the presumption is not “[p]arties can agree to arbitrate ‘gateway’ questions of ‘arbitrability,’ whether the case, in all practicality, is finished. in this case, the district case: 12-15164 date filed: 02/24/2014 page: 10 of 13 connection with this agreement, including any question regarding its mgmt. co. v. kohlberg, kravis, roberts & co., 566 f.3d 979, 984 (11th cir. f.3d 1296, 1298 (11th cir. 2001) (per curiam) (stating that a “closed” case “any and all disputes arising out of or in connection with this agreement, including matters to resolve. id. at 1353. our court even noted that in most cases conclude that the parties agreed to arbitrate the very issue of “arbitrability” s. ct. at 519, 521 (internal quotation marks omitted) (determining that an after his injury, martinez filed suit against carnival in florida state court, agreement as terminated. thus, equitable estoppel does not apply. see sea byte, inc. v. hudson closed the case. notably, the district court’s order did not stay the marine mgmt. servs., inc., 565 f.3d 1293, 1304 (11th cir. 2009) (stating that equitable estoppel (“[i]n order to recover damages under the jones act, [a plaintiff] must have with the district court that arbitration is required, and therefore, we affirm the martinez argues the district court erred in compelling arbitration corp.-ala. v. randolph, 531 u.s. 79, 86, 121 s. ct. 513, 519 (2000) no. 12-15164 court order compelling arbitration and staying the proceedings before the case: 12-15164 date filed: 02/24/2014 page: 5 of 13 policy and procedure, any and all disputes arising out of or in cir. 2013) (per curiam) (holding that the district court order compelling court not only administratively closed the case, but it also denied all pending not directly apply to this case, see id. § 1 (“[n]othing herein contained shall apply to contracts of psychological problems. carnival sent martinez to miami, where he continued to circuit judges. 2847, 2857 (2010) (internal quotation marks omitted). when parties agree all the claims before it was a final and appealable decision). is final when it disposes of all the issues framed by the litigation and leaves assigned vessel if seafarer disembarks the vessel for any reason, worsened, and he began to feel pain not only in his back but also in his lower requiring arbitration pursuant to the agreement does not include claims that because the seafarer’s agreement terminated before this dispute arose. though it dismissed the case on the merits because the order had remanded “we review the district court’s interpretation of [an] arbitration clause thus, affirmed. 8 to arbitrate disputes about contract termination. in this case, the district motion to compel, dismissed as moot all other motions, and administratively appealable decision. we are unpersuaded. on the vessel, shall be referred to and finally resolved by arbitration.” [r. de 1-1 extremities, martinez sought further medical care. his claim. martinez is incorrect. carnival’s assertion that the arbitration provision survives with it. id. § 208. the slight distinction between an administratively closed case and a arise from shoreside medical negligence. the “clear and unmistakable” language of the contract indicates that the versus unambiguous language suggests viability. the provision states in relevant result of the performance of contractual duties.” doe v. princess cruise case: 12-15164 date filed: 02/24/2014 page: 2 of 13 (internal quotation marks omitted). yet, a party may not appeal “an dismissed case does not resolve the question of finality. what matters is ___, 130 s. ct. at 2783 (internal quotation marks omitted). because parties nothing more for the court to do but execute the judgment.” green tree fin. case: 12-15164 date filed: 02/24/2014 page: 7 of 13 case: 12-15164 date filed: 02/24/2014 page: 8 of 13 order of the district court compelling the parties to arbitrate and dismissing a district court order compelling arbitration and dismissing a plaintiff’s a.k.a. carnival cruise lines, inc., nothing more to decide, and it effectively and functionally has issued a 3 therefore, is not within the scope of the contract’s arbitration clause. we agree back injury which was preventing him from doing his job. existence, validity, or termination, or seafarer’s service on the vessel, (“crefaa”), 9 u.s.c. §§ 201–208. martinez argues his claim of jones act not on the district court’s label, but rather, on the effect of the district court’s omitted). in doe, we held that claims arising under the jones act “are district court to resolve after it compelled arbitration. _____________ rather than dismissed the case). validly formed and enforceable arbitration agreement is ambiguous about further merits determinations to the arbitrator.2 nothing for the district court to do but execute the judgment.”). “end[ed] the litigation on the merits and [left] nothing more for the [district] 2009); pitney bowes, inc. v. mestre, 701 f.2d 1365, 1368 (11th cir. 1983), order. see thomas, 594 f.3d at 829. when the district court compels administrative closure is not dispositive of finality. however, our focus is iii. approach, looking not to the form of the district court’s order, but to its physician, dr. avelino gutierrez. after the surgery, martinez continued to the case, its order was more akin to a stay of the proceedings; thus, the dismissal, but rather, whether the district court’s order, on the record before decision with respect to an arbitration.” 9 u.s.c. § 16(a)(3). a final ii. would provide shoreside medical care for injuries martinez sustained while by ray haluch, ___ u.s. ___, 134 s. ct. 773. in brandon, we determined d. c. docket no. 1:12-cv-22293-uu such as whether the parties have agreed to arbitrate or whether their 3 concerning the scope of arbitral issues should be resolved in favor of see thomas v. blue cross & blue shield ass’n, 594 f.3d 823, 829 (11th cir. arbitration was a final appealable decision even though the order closed granite rock co. v. int’l bhd. of teamsters, 561 u.s. 287, ___, 130 s. ct. this agreement shall automatically terminate without notice 6 the seafarer’s agreement, which covered the terms of martinez’s substance of the district court’s order, we held that it was not final even on the job. accordingly, we conclude that martinez’s dispute with carnival u.s. ___, 134 s. ct. 773, 779 (2014); green tree, 531 u.s. at 86, 121 s. ct. including but not limited to unscheduled personal leave, illness or district court’s order compelling arbitration. 5 f.3d 1351, 1366 (11th cir. 2008). case: 12-15164 date filed: 02/24/2014 page: 6 of 13 de novo.” hemispherx biopharma, inc. v. johannesburg consol. invs., 553 all pending motions and did not retain jurisdiction to confirm the arbitration for the eleventh circuit essentially argues that because the district court simply granted the motion to permissive policies in respect to arbitration counsel that any doubts the seafarer’s agreement’s arbitration clause does not expressly state shall be referred to and finally resolved by arbitration . . . . case. see brandon, jones, sandall, zeide, kohn, chalal & musso, p.a. v. terminated when it stopped paying his wages but as not terminated for the purpose of arbitrating applies only when a party adopts a position that is contrary to an earlier position). the district court in the present case, acknowledged that it still had other 11 can agree to arbitrate the very question of arbitrabililty, they can also agree rebutted.” id. at ___, 130 s. ct. at 2858–59. when martinez disembarked from the cruise ship to seek treatment for his experience serious orthopedic and neurological problems, including numbness in new voyage. appellant melvin gualberto medina martinez (“martinez”) appeals the per day, seven days a week, and was required to lift and transport boxes of tiles our court has applied the same test for finality, see, e.g., w.r. huff asset court did not err in refusing to determine whether the agreement had injury, for more than one full voyage. this agreement shall also lines, ltd., 657 f.3d 1204, 1218 (11th cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks where “there is clear and unmistakable evidence that they did so.” id. at district court’s order compelling arbitration of his claims pursuant to the emp’rs ins. of wausau v. bright metal specialties, inc., 251 f.3d 1316, parties intended for just such a dispute to be decided by arbitration and not any question regarding its existence, validity, or termination, or seafarer’s service (“seafarer’s agreement”) with carnival cruise lines, inc. (“carnival”) and, dubina, circuit judge: in a prior case, we addressed the finality of an administratively closed as dismissing a case. see fla. ass’n for retarded citizens, inc. v. bush, 246 functionally final and appealable decision because it left nothing more for ______________ closed the case because the district court explicitly retained jurisdiction to though chapter 1 of the federal arbitration act, which includes 9 u.s.c. § 16, does pending motions, and closed the case for administrative purposes. martinez then agreement. arbitration and disposes of all pending motions, it leaves the court with 1321 (11th cir. 2001) (“[g]enerally speaking, a decision of the district court compelling arbitration. martinez had back surgery in panama, performed by carnival’s selected part of the case, but “in substance,” left unresolved whether the plaintiff was terminate without notice immediately upon seafarer being unfit or case: 12-15164 date filed: 02/24/2014 page: 4 of 13 ___, 134 s. ct. at 779. carnival corporation, not arise under the seafarer’s agreement. he asserts that the language and the rights that [the plaintiff] derives from that employment status.” id. at decision that “ends the litigation on the merits.” ray haluch, ___ u.s. at defendant-appellee. the arbitration clause would survive the termination of the seafarer’s at 6, ¶ 7.] advisors, inc. v. makarewicz, 122 f.3d 936, 939 (11th cir. 1997). carnival developed back pain, which he reported to his supervisor. after his condition final.” id. at 1354. thus, even under the analysis utilized in brandon, the 16(a)(3). see also montero v. carnival corp., 523 f. app’x 623, 625 (11th immediately upon seafarer’s unscheduled disembarkation of the termination of the agreement, his claim for medical negligence falls outside the court. see id. at ___, 130 s. ct. at 2783.3 martinez also contends carnival is equitably estopped from enforcing the arbitration when a district court “rule[s] on all the relief requested,” and “close[s]” the 1221. see also o’boyle v. united states, 993 f.2d 211, 213 (11th cir. 1993) appeals, sitting by designation. indeed, both parties conceded at oral argument that there were no other issues for the clearly arose out of or in connection with the seafarer’s agreement and is court to do but execute the judgment.” green tree, 531 u.s. at 86, 89, 121 [r. 4-1 ¶ 7.] clearly, the parties contemplated some circumstances in which medpartners, inc., 312 f.3d 1349 (11th cir. 2002) (per curiam), abrogated the pertinent question we address in this case is not whether the case: 12-15164 date filed: 02/24/2014 page: 13 of 13 care, that duty extends to martinez only because he was employed by that the district court order was not final even though it administratively the court to do but execute the judgment. accordingly, we conclude that the agreement covers a particular controversy.” rent-a-center, w., inc. v. 1 is final if it “ends the litigation on the merits and leaves nothing for the court adequate maintenance and cure. in his jones act claim, martinez alleged that the melvin gualberto medina martinez, 9 and looks to the practical effect of the district court’s order, not to its form. court to do but execute the judgment. the district court granted carnival’s the federal arbitration act provides that a party may appeal “a final subject to arbitration. district court’s administrative closure is the functional equivalent of a receive medical treatment. examining what the district court has done, and has reiterated that a decision although the district court did not dismiss the case, the court’s order left all terminated because the question of termination has remained in dispute and thus, the order effectively martinez also argues that even if the arbitration provision survives the court is an interlocutory order that cannot be appealed. am. express fin. there is a “federal policy favoring arbitration of labor disputes.” compelling arbitration was a non-appealable interlocutory order, not a final at 519; catlin v. united states, 324 u.s. 229, 233, 65 s. ct. 631, 633 (1945). interlocutory order . . . compelling arbitration.” 9 u.s.c. § 16(b)(3).1 case: 12-15164 date filed: 02/24/2014 page: 9 of 13 before marcus, dubina, and walker,* convention on the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards motions as moot and compelled arbitration. the district court’s order was a unable to serve in his or her stated position at the commencement of a fund of the int’l union of operating eng’rs & participating emp’rs, ___ insurance co. of america, 671 f.3d 1213 (11th cir. 2012), looking to the employment of seamen . . . .”), the jurisdictional issue is evaluated under the framework of 9 center, inc., 398 f.3d 1286, 1288 (11th cir. 2005). in contrast, a district arbitration. the district court granted the motion, dismissed as moot all other u.s.c. § 16 because the crefaa incorporates the provisions of chapter 1 that do not conflict district court order in the present case would be final because it disposed of iv. 2010) (“in making [§ 1291 finality] determinations, ‘we take a functional actual effect.’” (quoting birmingham fire fighters ass’n 117 v. jefferson (february 24, 2014) _____________ omitted). courts apply the presumption of arbitrability “only where a in determining whether a dispute arises out of a contract, “the focus is medical treatment aboard the vessel or ashore, contemplated that carnival on whether the tort or breach in question was an immediate, foreseeable jackson, 561 u.s. 63, ___, 130 s. ct. 2772, 2777 (2010). thus, a court may negligence, 46 u.s.c. § 30104, does not fall within his employment contract 13 agreement, which specifically reference carnival’s obligation to provide and cement and heavy rolls of carpet. during his employment, martinez 12 carnival as a seaman under the contract. in addition, the terms of the us, ended the litigation on the merits and left nothing more for the district under § 16(b)(3). carnival removed the case to the federal district court and filed a motion to compel honorable john walker, jr., united states circuit judge for the second circuit court of timely appealed. order compelling martinez to arbitrate his claims was “a final decision with carnival contends that we lack jurisdiction because the district court’s order proceedings, nor did it contemplate any further action on this case. for the southern district of florida 4 [publish] the termination provision of the seafarer’s agreement between 7 case: 12-15164 date filed: 02/24/2014 page: 11 of 13 physician chosen and paid by carnival negligently performed his back surgery. martinez and carnival states, in relevant part: entitled to relief. id. at 1215. compel and closed the case for administrative purposes, but did not dismiss case: 12-15164 date filed: 02/24/2014 page: 1 of 13 ______________ to do but execute the judgment.” ray haluch gravel co. v. cent. pension i. termination of the seafarer’s agreement is not inconsistent with treating the seafarer’s 10


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