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Jones Act - Table of Contents
The Jones Act - Cases, Decisions and Opinions- Statutory Language
Merchant Seaman Protection and Relief 46 USCS Appx section 688 (2002) Title 46.
[Chapter 46 United States Code (USCS) Appx section 688 is commonly referred to the Jones Act. Often, the cite "46 USCS Appx section 688 " may be clarified as (The Jones Act).]
section 688. Recovery for injury to or death of seaman
(a) Application of railway employee statutes; jurisdiction. Any seaman who shall suffer personal injury in the course of his employment may, at his election, maintain an action for damages at law, with the right of trial by jury, and in such action all statutes of the United States modifying or extending the common-law right or remedy in cases of personal injury to railway employees shall apply; and in case of the death of any seaman as a result of any such personal injury the personal representative of such seaman may maintain an action for damages at law with the right of trial by jury, and in such action all statutes of the United States conferring or regulating the right of action for death in the case of railway employees shall be applicable. Jurisdiction in such actions shall be under the court of the district in which the defendant employer resides or in which his principal office is located.
[The Jones Act provides statutory protection of injured seamen. Prior to the enactment of the Jones Act, injured offshore workers were protected by common law only. The Jones Act allows qualifying seamen the same protections afforded to U.S. railroad employees under the F.E.L.A. (Federal Employees' Liabilities Act). The Jones Act canonized many common law maritime principles, such as maintenance and cure.]
(b) Limitation for certain aliens; applicability in lieu of other remedy.
(1) No action may be maintained under subsection (a) or under any other maritime law of the United States for maintenance and cure or for damages for the injury or death of a person who was not a citizen or permanent resident alien of the United States at the time of the incident giving rise to the action, if the incident occurred—
(A) while that person was in the employ of an enterprise engaged in the exploration, development, or production of offshore mineral or energy resources--including but not limited to drilling, mapping, surveying, diving, pipelaying, maintaining, repairing, constructing, or transporting supplies, equipment or personnel, but not including transporting those resources by a vessel constructed or adapted primarily to carry oil in bulk in the cargo spaces; and
(B) in the territorial waters or waters overlaying the continental shelf of a nation other than the United States, its territories, or possessions. As used in this paragraph, the term "continental shelf" has the meaning stated in Article I of the 1958 Convention on the Continental Shelf.
(2) The provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not be applicable if the person bringing the action establishes that no remedy was available to that person—
(A) under the laws of the nation asserting jurisdiction over the area in which the incident occurred; or
(B) under the laws of the nation in which, at the time of the incident, the person for whose injury or death a remedy is sought maintained citizenship or residency.
Jones Act Table of Cases
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In Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, No. 16-466 (June 19, 2017), the U.S. Supreme Court held that a state court does not generally have specific personal jurisdiction to entertain class-action claims by non-resident plaintiffs against a company headquartered outside of the forum state (here Bristol-Myers Squibb was not based in California). In future class action claims against nationwide corporate defendants, it appears that the U.S. Supreme Court is generally requiring piecemeal litigation in each state where a plaintiff was injured, instead of allowing for a single consolidated class action in a single state court lawsuit.