News Flash – SCOTUS To Hear Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act Injury Case

The U.S. Supreme Court just agreed to hear the case of Pacific Operations Offshore, LLP v. Valladolid. Links to docket, briefs, and opinion below, courtesy of SCOTUSBLOG, here. My earlier post on the Ninth Circuit's opinion is here. As to why SCOTUS took the case? As noted in my earlier post, there was a plain circuit split between the Ninth, Third and Fifth Circuit Courts of Appeal. The court granted review for this question presented: The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, 43 U.S.C., §§ 1331-1356 (OCSLA), governs those who work on oil drilling platforms and other fixed structures beyond state maritime boundaries. Workers are eligible for compensation for "any injury occurring as the result of operations conducted on the outer Continental Shelf." 43 U.S.C. § 1333(b) (2006). When an outer continental shelf worker is injured on land, is he (or his heir): (1) always eligible for compensation, because his employer's operations on the shelf are the but for cause of his injury (as the Third Circuit holds); or (2) never eligible for compensation, because the Act applies only to injuries occurring on the shelf (as the Fifth Circuit holds); (3) sometimes eligible for compensation, because eligibility for benefits depends on the nature and extent of the factual relationship between the injury and the operations on the shelf (as the Ninth Circuit holds)? Great way to highlight a circuit split. Stay tuned.

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