Removal of General Maritime Law Case joined with Jones Act Claim - Case of First Impression - Wells v. Abe's Boat Rentals, Inc.

Wells v. Abe's Boat Rentals, Inc., et al., Civil Action No. H-13-1112, 2013 WL 3110322 (S.D. Tex. June 18, 2013) Messrs. Hale and Cass, in a case of first impression in the United States, removed a case in which they defended a platform owner/operator being sued by a seaman under the general maritime law, which was also joined with Jones Act and general maritime law negligence and unseaworthiness claims against the seaman’s employer. Plaintiff moved to remand the entire case, but the District Court provided the relief sought by Deutsch Kerrigan’s client, finding the general maritime law claims were removable under the amended removal statute and maintaining jurisdiction over the general maritime claims against the platform owner/operator, while severing the claims against the Jones Act employer and remanding those claims to state court. This case has been subsequently cited by parties and courts all over the United States in the simmering dispute over the removability of general maritime law claims.