Monthly eNewsletter from the IADC

U.S. Supreme Court Rules on State vs Federal OCSLA Jurisdiction

In June, the Supreme Court vacated the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in the Parker Drilling Management Services, Ltd. V. Newton case. The case hinged on whether or not California’s wage laws were applicable to time spent on “standby” on rigs on the outer continental shelf. In 2018, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that offshore workers were entitled to minimum wage and overtime laws of the adjacent state. However, in the unanimous ruling, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote, “All law on the OCS is federal, and state law serves a supporting role, to be adopted only where there is a gap in federal law’s coverage.” Under the Offshore Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), structures attached to the continental shelf more than three nautical miles from the coast are under federal control and therefore governed by federal law.