Suazo v. NCL (Bahamas), Ltd., No. 14-15351 (11th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
The Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, T.I.A.S. No. 6997, 21 U.S.T. 2517, requires signatory states to recognize written arbitration agreements “concerning a subject matter capable of settlement by arbitration.” In this appeal, the court addressed an issue of first impression for the Circuit: whether a cruise ship employee who is injured on the job, and whose employment contract contains an arbitration agreement governed by the New York Convention and Chapter 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. 201, can bar arbitration by showing that high costs may prevent him from effectively vindicating his federal statutory rights in the arbitral forum. The court concluded that it need not definitely answer this question because, even if the court were to assume that plaintiff could raise a cost-based (public policy) defense in response to NCL's motion to compel arbitration, on this record he has plainly failed to establish that the costs of arbitration would preclude him from arbitrating his federal statutory claims. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court’s order compelling the parties to arbitrate. However, the court denied defendant's motion for sanctions.