849 F.2d 951 (5th Cir. 1988), 87-3445, Crowley Maritime Corp. v. Panama Canal Com'n

Docket Nº:87-3445.
Citation:849 F.2d 951
Party Name:CROWLEY MARITIME CORPORATION, et al., Plaintiffs, and Jan C. Rolstad, Intervenor-Appellant, v. PANAMA CANAL COMMISSION, Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:July 18, 1988
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Page 951

849 F.2d 951 (5th Cir. 1988)



Jan C. Rolstad, Intervenor-Appellant,



No. 87-3445.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

July 18, 1988

Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc Denied Aug. 30, 1988.

Page 952

Robert N. Windes, Lee M. Peacocke, New Orleans, La., for intervenor-appellant.

John L. Haines, Jr., Office of General Counsel, Francis M. Kirk, Panama Canal Com'n., Miami, Fla., for defendant-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Before WISDOM, GEE, and JONES, Circuit Judges.

EDITH H. JONES, Circuit Judge:

Appellant Rolstad appeals the dismissal on limitations grounds of his motion to intervene in a suit against appellee Panama Canal Commission (the "Commission"). We AFFIRM.


In May 1982, while employed on a barge owned by Crowley Maritime Corporation and operated by Puget Sound Tug & Barge Company, Rolstad suffered leg injuries during a mooring operation in the Panama Canal outside the Canal's locks. Rolstad, Crowley, and Puget Sound filed administrative claims against the Commission in May 1984, all of which were denied the same month. The three parties could not challenge the Commission's findings in court because the accident occurred outside the locks. Crowley and Puget Sound thereafter settled with Rolstad.

Congress amended the Panama Canal Act in 1985 to permit claimants in accidents outside the locks to sue the Commission as long as "the action is brought within one year after the date on which the Commission mails to the claimant written notification of the Commission's final determination with respect to the claim, or within one year after December 23, 1985, whichever is later." 22 U.S.C. Sec. 3776 (1988 Supp.). Crowley and Puget Sound filed a complaint against the Commission on August 12, 1986, seeking approximately $909,000 for "maintenance and cure payments, settlement of claim, attorneys' fees and other expenses[.]"

Rolstad was not a party to this complaint and did not file a motion to intervene until March 24, 1987. A magistrate granted Rolstad's motion, despite the Commission's argument that the statute of limitations had expired on December 23, 1986. The district court agreed with the Commission and dismissed Rolstad's intervention on May 12, 1987. Rolstad then filed a motion on May 29, 1987, requesting that the court's order

be amended to include the expression of opinion that the "order involves a controlling question of law as to which there is substantial ground for difference of opinion and that an immediate appeal from the order may...

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