JUSTICE POWELL delivered the opinion of the Court.
This case requires us to determine whether federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over personal injury and indemnity cases arising under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, 67 Stat. 462, as amended, 43 U. S. C. § 1331 et seq. (1976 ed. and Supp. III). We also consider whether the rule of Norfolk & Western R. Co. v. Liepelt, 444 U.S. 490 (1980), that the jury be instructed that personal injury damages awards are not subject to federal income taxation, is applicable to such a case.
Respondent, Mobil Oil Corp., contracted with petitioner, Gulf Offshore Co., for the latter to perform certain completion operations on oil drilling platforms offshore of Louisiana. As part of the agreement, petitioner promised to indemnify Mobil for all claims resulting directly or indirectly from the work. While the work was in progress in September 1975, the advent of Hurricane Eloise required that workers be evacuated from oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
Steven Gaedecke was an employee of petitioner working on an oil drilling platform above the seabed of the Outer Continental Shelf. As the storm approached, a boat chartered
Gaedecke brought this suit for damages in the District Court of Harris County, a Texas state court, alleging negligence by Mobil and the boatowner. Mobil filed a third-party complaint for indemnification against petitioner.
In submitting the case to the jury, the trial court denied a request by petitioner to instruct them that personal injury damages awards are not subject to federal income taxation and that they should not increase or decrease an award in contemplation of tax consequences. The jury found Mobil negligent and awarded Gaedecke $900,000 for his injuries. The jury also found, however, that Gaedecke sustained his injuries while performing work subject to the contract of indemnification. Based on the two verdicts, the trial judge entered judgment against petitioner in the amount of $900,000.
The Texas Court of Civil Appeals affirmed. 594 S.W.2d 496 (1979). It held that the Texas state courts had subject-matter
We granted certiorari to resolve a conflict over whether federal courts have exclusive subject-matter jurisdiction over suits arising under OCSLA
The general principle of state-court jurisdiction over cases arising under federal laws is straightforward: state courts may assume subject-matter jurisdiction over a federal cause of action absent provision by Congress to the contrary or disabling incompatibility between the federal claim and state-court
In considering the propriety of state-court jurisdiction over any particular federal claim, the Court begins with the presumption that state courts enjoy concurrent jurisdiction. See California v. Arizona, 440 U.S. 59, 66-67 (1979); Charles Dowd Box Co. v. Courtney, 368 U. S., at 507-508. Congress, however, may confine jurisdiction to the federal courts either explicitly or implicitly. Thus, the presumption of concurrent jurisdiction can be rebutted by an explicit statutory directive, by unmistakable implication from legislative history, or by a clear incompatibility between state-court jurisdiction and federal interests. See ibid.; Claflin, supra, at 137. See also Garner v. Teamsters, 346 U.S. 485 (1953) (grievance within jurisdiction of National Labor Relations Board to prevent unfair labor practice not subject to relief by injunction in state court).
No one argues that Congress explicitly granted federal courts exclusive jurisdiction over cases arising under OCSLA. Congress did grant United States district courts "original
OCSLA declares the Outer Continental Shelf to be an area of "exclusive federal jurisdiction." 43 U. S. C. § 1333 (a) (1). Chevron Oil Co. v. Huson, 404 U.S. 97, 100 (1971).
OCSLA extends the "Constitution and laws and civil and political jurisdiction of the United States" to the subsoil and seabed of the Outer Continental Shelf and to "artificial islands and fixed structures" built for discovery, extraction, and transportation of minerals. 43 U. S. C. § 1333 (a) (1). All law applicable to the Outer Continental Shelf is federal law, but to fill the substantial "gaps" in the coverage of federal law, OCSLA borrows the "applicable and not inconsistent" laws of the adjacent States as surrogate federal law.
The OCSLA plan is not inimical to state-court jurisdiction over personal injury actions. Nothing inherent in exclusive federal sovereignty over a territory precludes a state court from entertaining a personal injury suit concerning events occurring in the territory and governed by federal law. Ohio River Contract Co. v. Gordon, 244 U.S. 68 (1917). See 16 U. S. C. § 457 (personal injury and wrongful-death actions involving events occurring "within a national park or other place subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, within the exterior boundaries of any State" shall be maintained as if the place were under the jurisdiction of the State). Cf. Evans v. Cornman, 398 U.S. 419, 424 (1970) (residents of an area of exclusive federal jurisdiction within a State are "subject to the process and jurisdiction of state courts"). "The judiciary power of every government looks beyond its own local or municipal laws, and in civil cases lays hold of all subjects of litigation between parties within its jurisdiction, though the causes of dispute are relative to the laws of the most distant part of the globe." The Federalist No. 82, p. 514 (H. Lodge ed. 1908) (Hamilton), quoted in Claflin v. Houseman, 93 U. S., at 138. State courts routinely exercise subject-matter jurisdiction over civil cases arising from events in other States and governed by the other States' laws. See, e. g., Dennick v. Railroad Co., 103 U.S. 11 (1881). Cf. Allstate Ins. Co. v. Hague, 449 U.S. 302 (1981). That the location of the event giving rise to the suit is an area of exclusive federal jurisdiction rather than another State, does not introduce any new limitation on the forum State's subject-matter
Section 1333 (a) (3) provides that "adoption of State law as the law of the United States shall never be interpreted as a basis for claiming any interest in or jurisdiction on behalf of any State for any purpose over the seabed and subsoil of the outer Continental Shelf, or the property and natural resources thereof or the revenues therefrom." Petitioner argues that state-court jurisdiction over this personal injury case would contravene this provision. This argument again confuses the political jurisdiction of a State with its judicial jurisdiction. Section 1333 (a) (3) speaks to the geographic boundaries of state sovereignty, because Congress primarily was concerned in enacting OCSLA to assure federal control over the Shelf and its resources. See n. 7, supra. The language of the provision refers to "any interest in or jurisdiction over" real property, minerals, and revenues, not over causes of action. Indeed, opponents of OCSLA urged Congress to extend the political boundaries of the States seaward over the Shelf, at least for some purposes. See 99 Cong. Rec. 7230 (remarks of Sen. Ellender), 7232 (remarks of Sen. Long) (1953). The Senate Report explains that § 1333 (a) (3) was intended to make plain that the adoption of state law as federal law cannot be the basis for a claim by the State "for participation in the administration of or revenues from the areas outside of State boundaries." 1953 S. Rep., at 23.
We do not think the legislative history of OCSLA can be read to rebut the presumption of concurrent state-court jurisdiction, given Congress' silence on the subject in the statute
The operation of OCSLA will not be frustrated by state-court jurisdiction over personal injury actions. The factors generally recommending exclusive federal-court jurisdiction over an area of federal law include
Allowing personal injury and contract actions in state courts will advance interests identified by Congress in enacting OCSLA. A recurring consideration in the deliberations leading to enactment was "the special relationship between the men working on these [platforms] and the adjacent shore to which they commute to visit their families." Rodrigue v. Aetna Casualty Co., 395 U. S., at 365. Allowing state-court jurisdiction over these cases will allow these workers, and their lawyers, to pursue individual claims in familiar, convenient, and possibly less expensive fora. See Chevron Oil Co. v. Huson, 404 U. S., at 103 (state statute of limitations applies to personal injury actions arising under OCSLA).
In summary, nothing in the language, structure, legislative history, or underlying policies of OCSLA suggests that Congress intended federal courts to exercise exclusive jurisdiction over personal injury actions arising under OCSLA. The Texas courts had jurisdiction over this case.
The Court of Civil Appeals held that petitioner was not entitled to an instruction cautioning the jury that personal
Our first task is to determine the source of law that will govern whether such an instruction must be available in an OCSLA case. OCSLA, as discussed above, mandates that state laws apply as federal laws "[t]o the extent that they are applicable and not inconsistent with this subchapter or with other Federal laws." 43 U. S. C. § 1333 (a) (2). In any particular case, the adjacent State's law applies to those
To apply the statutory directive a court must consider the content of both potentially applicable federal and state law. Subsequent to the decision of the Texas court, as noted above, we held in Liepelt, supra, that a defendant in an FELA case is entitled to an instruction that damages awards are not subject to federal income taxation.
But Congress was not silent. It incorporated for this case the applicable law of Louisiana, but only "[t]o the extent [it is] not inconsistent" with federal law. The statute does not distinguish between federal statutory and judge-made law. It would seem then that if Louisiana law is "inconsistent," Liepelt controls. Doubt arises, however, because in OCSLA Congress borrowed a remedy provided by state law and thereby "specifically rejected national uniformity" as a paramount goal. Chevron Oil v. Huson, 404 U. S., at 104. In Chevron, we held that Louisiana rather than federal common law provided the federal statute of limitations for personal injury damages actions under OCSLA. We recognized that "Congress made clear provision for filling the `gaps' in
We need answer this question only if Louisiana law would not require that the instruction be given upon timely request. The court below never addressed this question
Affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded.
JUSTICE STEWART took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
JUSTICE BLACKMUN, with whom JUSTICE BRENNAN and JUSTICE MARSHALL join, concurring in part and concurring in the result.
I join the Court's opinion as to Parts I and II, and I concur in the decision to remand this case for further proceedings as
As the Court makes clear, ante, at 488, the Texas Court of Civil Appeals on remand must determine, first, what Louisiana law requires as to this form of instruction, and, second, whether that state rule is "inconsistent" with OCSLA or "other Federal laws." 43 U. S. C. § 1333 (a) (2). The Court acknowledges, and I agree, that the choice-of-law provision contained in OCSLA creates "[d]oubt," ante, at 487, as to whether Congress intended state law or federal law to govern the grant of this instruction. As I understand OCSLA, the purpose of incorporating state law was to permit actions arising on these federal lands to be determined by rules essentially the same as those applicable to actions arising on the bordering state lands. Congress apparently intended to provide a kind of local uniformity of result, regardless of whether the action arose on shelf lands or on neighboring state lands. I would read the statute, thus, to encourage use of state law, and I would permit the state court to weigh, as an initial matter and only if the Louisiana rule differs from the Liepelt rule, whether Congress' desire for local uniformity outweighs any perceived need, as a matter of federal common law, for the instruction. I do not find it self-evident that Liepelt created a general "federal common-law rule" that so greatly "furthers strong federal policies of fairness and efficiency in litigation of federal claims," ante, at 486, 487, as to require its application in cases governed by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. In my view, this question was not settled in Liepelt, and it remains open for future adjudication.
Congress was not unaware, however, of the close, longstanding relationship between the Shelf and the adjacent States. See 1953 S. Rep., at 6. This concern manifested itself primarily in the incorporation of the law of adjacent States to fill gaps in federal law. See Rodrigue v. Aetna Casualty Co., 395 U.S. 352, 365 (1969). It should be emphasized that this case only involves state-court jurisdiction over actions based on incorporated state law. We express no opinion on whether state courts enjoy concurrent jurisdiction over actions based on the substantive provisions of OCSLA.
We also reject respondents' contention that we are foreclosed from deciding the issue because petitioner did not introduce any evidence about the effect of taxation on Gaedecke's future earnings. No evidentiary predicate is required to instruct a jury not to consider taxes.
The overwhelming weight of authority supports retroactive application of this decision. See O'Byrne v. St. Louis Southwestern R. Co., 632 F.2d 1285 (CA5 1980); Flanigan v. Burlington Northern Inc., 632 F.2d 880 (CA8 1980); Lang v. Texas & Pacific R. Co., supra; Crabtree v. St. Louis-San Francisco R. Co., 89 Ill.App.3d 35, 411 N.E.2d 19 (1980). Other cases have applied Liepelt retroactively without comment. Cazad v. Chesapeake & Ohio R. Co., 622 F.2d 72 (CA4 1980); Seaboard Coast Line R. Co. v. Yow, 384 So.2d 13 (Ala. 1980). But see Ingle v. Illinois Central Gulf R. Co., 608 S.W.2d 76 (Mo. App. 1980), cert. denied, 450 U.S. 916 (1981).
"`We take judicial notice of the "tax consciousness" of the American public. Yet, we also recognize, as did the court in Dempsey v. Thompson, 363 Mo. 339, 251 S.W.2d 42 (1952), that few members of the general public are aware of the special statutory exemption for personal injury awards contained in the Internal Revenue Code.
"`"[T]here is always danger that today's tax-conscious juries may assume (mistakenly of course) that the judgment will be taxable and therefore make their verdict big enough so that plaintiff would get what they think he deserves after the imaginary tax is taken out of it."
"`II Harper & James, The Law of Torts § 25.12, at 1327-1328 (1956).'" Liepelt, supra, at 497.
None of the Court's reasoning was directed particularly at FELA.