Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

A Choice-of-Law Clause Pointing to a Particular State’s Law Includes Federal Law Because Federal Law Is as Much a Part of State Law as Local Law Is (Good Quote)

World Fuel Services Trading, DMCC v. Hebei Prince Shipping Co., Ltd., 783 F.3d 507 (4th Cir. 2015):

Florida law resolves the issue in favor of DMCC because Florida law must be deemed to include United States law -- by case law or by statute. The Supreme Court has long stated that “ ‘a fundamental principle in our system of complex national polity’ mandates that ‘the Constitution, laws, and treaties of the United States are as much a part of the law of every state as its own local laws and Constitution.’ ” Fidelity Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass’n v. de la Cuesta, 458 U.S. 141, 157, 102 S.Ct. 3014, 73 L.Ed.2d 664 (1982) (quoting Hauenstein v. Lynham, 100 U.S. 483, 490, 25 L.Ed. 628 (1879)). A choice-of-law provision directing us to the laws of Florida thus encompasses federal statutory law, including the FMLA. See Atkinson v. General Elec. Credit Corp., 866 F.2d 396, 398–99 (11th Cir.1989) (concluding, based in part on Fidelity Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass’n, that “Georgia law includes federal law” where a choice-of-law provision selected “the laws of the State of Georgia” but was silent as to federal statutory law’s applicability). Accordingly, the General Terms’ choice-of-law provision authorizes DMCC to pursue a maritime lien under the FMLA.

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