Harrington v. Atlantic Sounding Co., No. 07-4272, involved a personal injury action arising out of injuries sustained by plaintiff-seaman. The court of appeals vacated the district court's order denying defendants' motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, to stay the district court action and compel arbitration, holding that section 6 of the Federal Employer's Liability Act did not apply to seamen's arbitration agreements, and thus the arbitration agreement was not unenforceable as a matter of law, and the district court's finding that the arbitration agreement was unenforceable due to unconscionability was erroneous.
As the court wrote: "Plaintiff-Appellee Frederick J. Harrington, Jr., ("Harrington") filed this action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Nina Gershon, Judge), against Defendants-Appellants Atlantic Sounding Co., Inc., Weeks Marine, Inc. (Atlantic Sounding's corporate parent), and the vessel MV CANDACE (collectively, "Defendants") pursuant to the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. § 688, seeking recovery for injuries sustained while he was employed as a seaman on the CANDACE. Defendants sought to dismiss the complaint or, in the alternative, to compel arbitration and to stay the district court action, pursuant to a post-injury arbitration agreement between the parties. Harrington opposed Defendants' motion, arguing that the arbitration agreement, which he signed in return for cash advances against his claim, was unenforceable as the result of intoxication and lack of mental capacity, and because the agreement was unconscionable."
Full Text of Harrington v. Atlantic Sounding Co., No. 07-4272