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Media Alerts - Alberts v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.- 11th Circuit
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September 1, 2016
  Alberts v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.- 11th Circuit
Headline: Eleventh Circuit finds that a seaman's work traveling to or from a foreign country constitutes "performance . . . abroad" under the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards ("Convention").

Area of Law: Arbitration/Maritime Law.

Issue: Whether a seaman's work traveling to or from foreign countries constitutes "performance . . . abroad" under the Convention.

Extended Summary: Robert Alberts ("Alberts"), a United States citizen, worked as the lead trumpeter on a Royal Caribbean, Ltd. ("Royal Caribbean") passenger cruise ship. His two employment agreements with Royal Caribbean contained the same arbitration clause, requiring all disputes to be resolved exclusively through binding arbitration pursuant to the Convention. After becoming ill, Alberts sued Royal Caribbean under various causes of action based on the alleged failure to provide him with an adequate medical exam and attend to his complaints. The district court granted Royal Caribbean's motion to compel arbitration. In affirming, the Eleventh Circuit initially found that Albert's employment agreements satisfied three of the four jurisdictional requirements to compel arbitration under the Convention. The court's opinion focused on the fourth requirement, whether the contract "envisage[d] performance . . . abroad." Deciding an issue of first impression, the Eleventh Circuit concluded that performance abroad included a seaman's work traveling to or from a foreign country. The court also found that based on this definition, "performance . . . abroad" had a reasonable relation with a foreign state and the arbitration clause was enforceable.

To view the full opinion: Text

Panel: William Pryor, Jill Pryor, and Richard L. Voorhees (United States District Judge for the Western District of North Carolina, sitting by designation).

Argument: July 13, 2016

Date of Issued Opinion: August 23, 2016

Docket Number: 15-14775

Decided: Affirmed

Case Alert Author: Marina Gonzalez and Martha Ferral

Counsel:
Phillip Parrish for Appellant Robert Alberts
James Norford Hurley for Appellee Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.

Author of Opinion: Circuit Judge William Pryor

    Posted By: Gary Kravitz @ 09/01/2016 02:06 PM     11th Circuit  

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