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Wright v. Universal Maritime Service Corp.

November 16, 1998

CEASAR WRIGHT, PETITIONER V. UNIVERSAL MARITIME SERVICE CORPORATION ET AL.


Case Below: 121 F. 3d 702

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

Syllabus

OCTOBER TERM, 1998

WRIGHT v. UNIVERSAL MARITIME SERVICE CORP.

NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued. The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader. See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U. S. 321, 337.

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

WRIGHT v. UNIVERSAL MARITIME SERVICE CORP. et al.

Certiorari To The United States Court Of Appeals For The Fourth Circuit

No. 97-889.

Argued October 7, 1998

Decided November 16, 1998

Petitioner Wright, a longshoreman, was subject to a collective-bargaining agreement (CBA) and a Longshore Seniority Plan, both of which contained an arbitration clause. When respondents refused to employ him following his settlement of a claim for permanent disability benefits for job-related injuries, Wright filed this suit, alleging discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The District Court dismissed the case without prejudice because Wright had failed to pursue the arbitration procedure provided by the CBA. The Fourth Circuit affirmed.

Held: The CBA's general arbitration clause does not require Wright to use the arbitration procedure for alleged violation of the ADA. Pp. 4-11.

(a) The Fourth Circuit's Conclusions that the CBA arbitration clause encompassed a statutory claim under the ADA and was enforceable bring into focus the tension between two lines of this Court's case law. Compare, e.g., Alexander v. Gardner-Denver Co., 415 U. S. 36, 49-51, with, e.g., Gilmer v. Interstate/Johnson Lane Corp., 500 U. S. 20, 26. However, it is unnecessary to resolve the question of the validity of a union-negotiated waiver of employees' statutory rights to a ...


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