Filipino seaman's case against Louisiana company sent back to lower courts

By Takesha Thomas | Dec 11, 2018

A district court has sent a case against a Louisiana ship management company back to a lower court after a Filipino seaman who was permanently injured filed a claim against them.

On Nov. 19, the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Louisiana remanded Mervy Lloyd Mongaya's motion against AET MCV Beta LLC. The court's also denying AET's motion to dismiss citing a lack of jurisdiction. 

Attorneys for Mongaya had filed two lawsuits against AET in September 2018 seeking redress for alleged defamatory statements and a separate suit for a temporary and permanent restraining order to enjoin AET from maintaining its motion for injunctive relief before the Islands High Court.

AET had argued claims against them should be dismissed and instead should be heard in the Philippines based on a mandatory arbitration clause in Mongaya's contract.


Court sends injured Filipino seaman's case back to lower court   morguefile

Mongaya, a citizen of the Philippines, entered into a Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Contract of Employment with AET in March 2016. His employment contract contains both an arbitration clause and a choice of law provision. However, neither the vessel owner nor the vessel operator were signatories to his contract, according to the filing. 

While aboard the M/T Eagle Texas in August 2016, a vessel registered in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Mongaya allegedly sustained severe head injuries aboard the ship while off the coast of Florida. Mongaya claims to have been permanently paralyzed from the chest down as a result of his injuries.

Mongaya sued the vessel owner and several others for negligence, unseaworthiness and maintenance and cure for his injuries in March 2017 in the Marshall Islands High Court. According to the filing, the Marshall Island High Court granted the vessel owner a motion to stay in August 2017 because attorneys for Mongaya failed to include the vessel owner in his arbitration claim. Mongaya appealed and in August, the Marshall Island Supreme Court ruled that Mongaya must include all defendants in the arbitration, including the vessel owner. 

According to court documents, Mongaya also sued AET in Louisiana court based on the “Louisiana Personal Injury Action” seeking damages. To avoid detention of its vessel, AET "agreed to provide security for Mongaya’s claims in the amount of $9.5 million."

AET in turn filed a suit against Mongaya in September describing Mongaya’s action of filing the repetitious Louisiana Personal Injury Action and demanding $9.5 million in security as "extortion." Attorneys for Mongaya filed a counterclaim against AET for defamation. 

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