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Supreme Court to hear workers compensation, arbitration cases

The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in two cases. In Pacific Operations Offshore, LLP v. Valladolid [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will consider when an outer continental shelf worker, injured on land, is eligible for compensation under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) [43 USC §§ 1331-1356 text]. The OCSLA governs those who work on oil drilling platforms and other fixed structures beyond state maritime boundaries, and workers are eligible for compensation for "any injury occurring as the result of operations conducted on the outer Continental Shelf." Juan Valladolid worked for Pacific Operations Offshore, stationed primarily on an offshore drilling platform, but was killed on the grounds of Pacific Operations' onshore oil processing facility when he was crushed by a forklift. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] "that the OCSLA workers' compensation provision ... applies to any injury resulting from operations on the outer continental shelf, regardless of the location of the injury. An injury is 'the result of' outer continental shelf operations if there is a substantial nexus between the injury and the operations." There is a circuit split on this issue.

In Stok & Associates v. Citibank [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will determine whether, under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) [9 USC §§ 1-14], a party should be required to demonstrate prejudice after the opposing party waived its contractual right to arbitrate by participating in litigation, in order for such waiver to be binding and irrevocable. Stok & Associates filed suit against Citibank, which sought to compel arbitration pursuant to an arbitration clause in their contract. The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit found [opinion, PDF] that Citibank had not waived its right to arbitration. There is also a circuit split on this issue.

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