Supreme Court rules against oil drilling platform workers

Court Watch

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday against workers on oil drilling platforms off California who argued they should be paid for the off-work time they spend on the platform, including sleeping.

The high court said that federal law applies to the workers and doesn’t require them to be paid for nonworking time spent at their work location on the Outer Continental Shelf. The workers had argued that California law, which would require them to be compensated for that time, should apply.

Justice Clarence Thomas said in an opinion that “federal law is the only law” that applies on the Outer Continental Shelf and “there has never been any overlapping state and federal jurisdiction there.” The question, he said, was whether federal law addressed the question of off-work time spent on the oil rig. He said it did and didn’t require the workers to be paid.

The case before the Supreme Court involved Brian Newton, who worked on drilling platforms off California’s coast near Santa Barbara from 2013 to 2015. Like others living and working on the platform, he worked 14-day shifts, spending 12 hours working and 12 hours off work but on standby, where he could not leave the platform.

In 2015, Newton filed a class action lawsuit arguing that his former employer, Parker Drilling, was violating California law by, among other things, failing to pay workers for the time they spent on standby, including the time they spent sleeping.

In making their ruling, the justices had to grapple with a 1953 law called the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. It says federal law applies on the Outer Continental Shelf. But the law also says the laws of the adjacent state are federal law to the extent they are “applicable and not inconsistent” with other federal law. If “federal law applies to a particular issue, state law is inapplicable,” Thomas wrote.

Related listings

  • Estranged husband, girlfriend in court for missing mom case

    Estranged husband, girlfriend in court for missing mom case

    Court Watch 06/01/2019

    A missing mother of five's estranged husband and his girlfriend are set to make their first court appearances in Connecticut after being charged with evidence tampering and hindering prosecution .Fotis Dulos and Michelle Troconis are scheduled to be ...

  • Texas’ high court keeps execution drug supplier secret

    Texas’ high court keeps execution drug supplier secret

    Court Watch 04/12/2019

    A supplier of Texas’ execution drugs can remain secret under a court ruling Friday that upheld risks of “physical harm” to the pharmacy, ending what state officials called a threat to the entire U.S. death penalty system.The decisio...

  • Texas bans clergy from executions after Supreme Court ruling

    Texas bans clergy from executions after Supreme Court ruling

    Court Watch 04/04/2019

    Texas prisons will no longer allow clergy in the death chamber after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the scheduled execution of a man who argued his religious freedom would be violated if his Buddhist spiritual adviser couldn’t accompany him.Eff...

New Rochelle, New York Personal Injury Lawyers

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact Kommer, Bave & Ollman, LLP, in New Rochelle, New York, immediately. We can answer all your questions and work with you to determine if you have the grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. The attorneys at our firm are determined to resolve even the most difficult of cases. We will work closely with you to determine the best course of action to get your claim or case resolved in the most efficient way possible. We will fight for your right to compensation! No one should have to suffer a financial burden from the result of another person’s carelessness. The attorneys at Kommer, Bave & Ollman, LLP will aggressively fight to ensure that justice is served on your behalf.

Business News

New York Adoption Lawyers Rosin Steinhagen Mendel is a law firm dedicated to serving our clients in New York City. >> read
Chicago Work Accident Lawyers at Krol, Bongiorno & Given have been a leader in the field of workers' compensation law. >> read