Kaluom v. Stolt Offshore, Inc., No. 06-40396.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtGarwood
Citation504 F.3d 511
PartiesJenggi KALUOM, Individually, and on behalf of those similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. STOLT OFFSHORE, INC.; et al., Defendants, Stolt Offshore, Inc., Defendant-Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 06-40396.
Decision Date10 October 2007
504 F.3d 511
Jenggi KALUOM, Individually, and on behalf of those similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
STOLT OFFSHORE, INC.; et al., Defendants,
Stolt Offshore, Inc., Defendant-Appellee.
No. 06-40396.
United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.
October 10, 2007.

[504 F.3d 512]

James Thomas Liston, Francis Isadore Spagnoletti (argued), Spagnoletti & Co., Houston, TX, for Kaluom.

Ralph E. Kraft, Jessica Ann Devitt, Kraft, Gatz & Devitt, Lafayette, LA, William Peter Maines (argued), Fulbright & Jaworski, Houston, TX, for Defendant-Appellee.

[504 F.3d 513]

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Before GARWOOD, WIENER, and CLEMENT, Circuit Judges.

GARWOOD, Circuit Judge:


Plaintiff-appellant Jenggi Kaluom (Kaluom) appeals from the order and final judgment entered by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Galveston Division, on February 6, 2006, granting defendant-appellee Stolt Offshore Inc. (Stolt)'s motion for summary judgment and dismissing Kaluom's suit with prejudice. We agree with the district court that the voyage requirements set out in 46 U.S.C. §§ 10301 and 10501 apply to those foreign vessels encompassed by penalty wage statutes 46 U.S.C. §§ 10313 and 10504. Accordingly, because the foreign vessel on which Kaluom worked was not embarked on one of the voyage types described by sections 10301 and 10501, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS BELOW

Kaluom is a Malaysian national employed by Malaysian crewing company PPSB.1 PPSB assigned Kaluom to work aboard the DLB 801, a foreign vessel documented under foreign laws. From September 18, 2002 to November 27, 2002, while the DLB 801 was performing subsea pipeline laying operations on the United States' outer continental shelf, Kaluom worked aboard the DLB 801, first as a rigger but later as a pipe facing machine (PFM) operator. On November 27, 2002, while the DLB 801 was working in the Gulf of Mexico, Kaluom was injured in an accident and had to be airlifted to a hospital in Galveston, Texas.

On October 21, 2004, Kaluom brought suit against defendant-appellee Stolt, a Louisiana corporation with its principal place of business in the Southern District of Texas. Kaluom asserted a penalty wage claim for himself and on behalf of others similarly situated, under 46 U.S.C. §§ 10313 and 10504.2 Kaluom contended that Stolt "manned, victualed and navigated the [DLB 801], and employed the vessel master," and that Stolt failed to pay him the balance of wages owed to him under United States labor laws. Kaluom received wages at a Malaysian pay rate but contends that he should have been paid based on United States labor laws because the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) mandates overtime as well as a minimum hourly wage that is higher than its Malaysian counterpart.

On November 4, 2005, Stolt moved for summary judgment, contending inter alia that the penalty wage statutes Kaluom relied on, 46 U.S.C. §§ 10313 and 10504, could not be read in isolation from 46 U.S.C. §§ 10301 and 10501, which articulate specific voyage prerequisites to applying Chapters 103 and 105 of Title 46 of the United States Code. Stolt argued that, in light of 46 U.S.C. §§ 10301 and 10501, Kaluom could not rely on 46 U.S.C. §§ 10313 and 10504's penalty wage provisions because the DLB 801 was on neither a foreign or intercoastal voyage, as articulated by section 10301, nor a coastwise voyage, as described by section 10501.3

504 F.3d 514

On December 21, 2005, Kaluom responded to Stolt's motion for summary judgment, asserting that penalty wage statutes 46 U.S.C. §§ 10313 and 10504 "appl[y] once a foreign vessel is in a harbor of the United States, regardless of the type of voyage that the vessel is engaged in."

On February 6, 2006, the district court granted Stolt's motion for summary judgment and entered a final judgment dismissing with prejudice "[a]ny and all" of Kaluom's claims. The court reasoned:

"The DLB 801 was engaged in a pipeline installation project in the Gulf of Mexico during the period of Kaluom's assignment. The vessel's originating port was in Fourchon, Louisiana, and there is no evidence that the ship went to any other port, nor is there any evidence that it engaged in a foreign, intercoastal or coastwise voyage . . . . The requirement of a foreign, intercoastal or coastwise voyage is a prerequisite to the application of the penalty wage provisions. See 46 U.S.C. § 10301, 10501. If a ship is not engaged in one of the specified voyages, the penalty wage provisions do not protect the seamen on those vessels. A plain reading of the statute compels this result, and to read the statute in any other way would be erroneous."4

On March 8, 2006, Kaluom timely filed a notice of appeal.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

This court reviews both the grant of summary judgment and a district court's statutory construction de novo. Lincoln Gen. Ins. Co. v. Aisha's Learning Ctr., 468 F.3d 857, 858 (5th Cir.2006); FTC v. Nat'l Bus. Consultants, Inc., 376 F.3d 317, 319 (5th Cir.2004). Summary judgment is appropriate "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." FED.R.CIV.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986).

DISCUSSION

Kaluom contends the district court misinterpreted 46 U.S.C. §§ 10313 and 10504 when it concluded that, before those statutory provisions may apply to a foreign vessel, the vessel must be on one of the voyage types specified in 46 U.S.C. §§ 10301 (foreign or intercoastal voyages) and 10501 (coastwise voyage). Kaluom does not seriously challenge the district court's finding that the DLB 801 was not on a foreign, intercoastal, or coastwise voyage, and he admits that for seamen serving on American vessels, the penalty wage statutes only apply if the voyage requirements are met. Kaluom nevertheless argues on appeal that there is no voyage

504 F.3d 515

prerequisite for seamen serving on foreign vessels when those vessels are in United States harbors.

Kaluom brought suit under two penalty wage provisions: 46 U.S.C. §§ 10313 and 10504. Sections 10313 and 10504 both make clear that they apply "to a seaman on a foreign vessel when in a harbor of the United States." 46 U.S.C. § 10313(i); id. § 10504(e). Kaluom asserts that in his case, because the DLB 801 is a foreign vessel,5 we should read sections 10313 and 10504 independently of 46 U.S.C. §§ 10301 and 10501's voyage requirements. He bases this argument in large part on the fact that Chapters 103 and 105 of Title 46 are generally inapplicable to foreign vessels. Kaluom contends that the penalty wage statutes' plain language, legislative intent, and legislative history support his view of the correct construction of penalty wage statutes 46 U.S.C. §§ 10313 and 10504. We disagree with Kaluom and decline to read sections 10313 and 10504 in the independent manner he advocates.6

I. The statutory text

"[T]he starting point for interpreting a statute is the language of the statute itself." Consumer Prod. Safety Comm'n v. GTE Sylvania, Inc., 447 U.S. 102, 100 S.Ct. 2051, 2056, 64 L.Ed.2d 766 (1980). "Absent a clearly expressed legislative intention to the contrary, that language must ordinarily be regarded as conclusive." Id. We consider the text of 46 U.S.C. §§ 10313 and 10504 in turn.

A. 46 U.S.C. § 103137

Subsections (e) and (f) of 46 U.S.C. § 10313 set out a seaman's entitlement to

504 F.3d 516

"one-half of the balance of wages earned and unpaid at each port at which the vessel loads or delivers cargo during the voyage" and to the balance of wages due the seaman at "the end of a voyage." Subsection (g) indicates that failure to adhere to subsection (f)'s provision for wages at a voyage's end leads to penalty wages: "When payment is not made as provided under subsection (f) of this section without sufficient cause, the master or owner shall pay to the seaman 2 days' wages for each

504 F.3d 517

day payment is delayed." 46 U.S.C. § 10313(g).

46 U.S.C. § 10301(a) states that Chapter 103 of Title 46 (sections 10301-10321) applies to vessels that are on a foreign voyage — a voyage "between a port in the United States and a port in a foreign country (except a port in Canada, Mexico, or the West Indies)" — or an intercoastal voyage — a voyage "between a port of the United States on the Atlantic Ocean and a port of the United States on the Pacific Ocean." See id. § 10301(a)(1)-(2). Subsection 10301(c), however, states that "[u]nless otherwise provided, this chapter [chapter 103] does not apply to a foreign vessel." Id. § 10301(c).

Kaluom asserts that 46 U.S.C. § 10313(i) indicates that section 10313's penalty wage provision, but not section 10301's requirement of a foreign or intercoastal voyage, applies to foreign vessels. Subsection 10313(i) states: "This section applies to a seaman on a foreign vessel when in a harbor of the United States." Id. § 10313(i).

Kaluom's argument against applying a voyage requirement fails. When construing a statutory provision, we first consider the statute as a whole before turning to the particular provision at issue. See In re Universal Seismic Associates, Inc., 288 F.3d 205, 207 (5th Cir.2002) (when interpreting statutes, this circuit looks to the plain language of the statute, "`reading it as a whole and mindful of the linguistic choices made by Congress'" (quoting Whatley v. Resolution Trust Corp., 32 F.3d 905, 909 (5th Cir.1994))). Section 10313 is part of Chapter 103, and 46 U.S.C. § 10301 clearly dictates that Chapter 103 applies only to those vessels that meet the foreign or intercoastal voyage requirement. 46 U.S.C. § 10301(a). Section 10313's penalty wage provision is accordingly limited by the foreign or intercoastal voyage requirement described in section 10301...

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12 practice notes
  • Hernandez v. City of Corpus Christi, Civil Action No. C–10–186.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • May 17, 2011
    ...by temporal proximity between the protected activity and the adverse employment action when they occur “very close” in time. Washburn, 504 F.3d at 511. Here, Plaintiff filed her EEOC charge of discrimination in September 2008, and her EEOC Charge was released in June 2009 (approximately nin......
  • Powell v. Global Marine, LLC, Civil Action No. 08-3842.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Louisiana)
    • December 4, 2009
    ...does not apply to seamen on vessels that are "engaged in coastwise commerce." Id. § 10504(d)(1); see also Kaluom v. Stolt Offshore, Inc., 504 F.3d 511, 517 (5th Cir.2007) (holding that § 10301 and § 10501 limit the application of the double-wage Here, the parties agree that the MACARTHUR st......
  • HERNANDEZ v. CITY of CORPUS CHRISTI, CIVIL ACTION NO. C-10-186
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Texas
    • May 17, 2011
    ...proximity between the protected activity and the adverse employment actionPage 36when they occur "very close" in time. Washburn, 504 F.3d at 511. Here, Plaintiff filed her EEOC charge of discrimination in September 2008, and her EEOC Charge was released in June 2009 (approximately nine mont......
  • In re Southern Scrap Material Co., LLC, No. 07-30470.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • August 25, 2008
    ...Id. at 1965. Furthermore, this Court reviews a district court's statutory construction de novo. See Kaluom v. Stolt Offshore, Inc., 504 F.3d 511, 514 (5th Cir.2007); see also Kemp v. G.D. Searle & Co., 103 F.3d 405, 407 (5th Cir.1997) ("Questions of statutory interpretation are questions of......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
12 cases
  • Hernandez v. City of Corpus Christi, Civil Action No. C–10–186.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • May 17, 2011
    ...by temporal proximity between the protected activity and the adverse employment action when they occur “very close” in time. Washburn, 504 F.3d at 511. Here, Plaintiff filed her EEOC charge of discrimination in September 2008, and her EEOC Charge was released in June 2009 (approximately nin......
  • Powell v. Global Marine, LLC, Civil Action No. 08-3842.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Louisiana)
    • December 4, 2009
    ...does not apply to seamen on vessels that are "engaged in coastwise commerce." Id. § 10504(d)(1); see also Kaluom v. Stolt Offshore, Inc., 504 F.3d 511, 517 (5th Cir.2007) (holding that § 10301 and § 10501 limit the application of the double-wage Here, the parties agree that the MACARTHUR st......
  • HERNANDEZ v. CITY of CORPUS CHRISTI, CIVIL ACTION NO. C-10-186
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Texas
    • May 17, 2011
    ...proximity between the protected activity and the adverse employment actionPage 36when they occur "very close" in time. Washburn, 504 F.3d at 511. Here, Plaintiff filed her EEOC charge of discrimination in September 2008, and her EEOC Charge was released in June 2009 (approximately nine mont......
  • In re Southern Scrap Material Co., LLC, No. 07-30470.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • August 25, 2008
    ...Id. at 1965. Furthermore, this Court reviews a district court's statutory construction de novo. See Kaluom v. Stolt Offshore, Inc., 504 F.3d 511, 514 (5th Cir.2007); see also Kemp v. G.D. Searle & Co., 103 F.3d 405, 407 (5th Cir.1997) ("Questions of statutory interpretation are questions of......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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