Plaintiffs filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court following the death of Employee, who was murdered while performing aid work in Pakistan. The Employer provided Defense Base Act (“DBA”) insurance coverage to Employee, and Employee’s beneficiaries received DBA death benefits since January 26, 2009–over two-and-a-half years prior to filing suit. When this fact was brought to the judge’s attention, the action was dismissed on the grounds that the “DBA insurance is the exclusive civil remedy” for Employee’s death.
Aggrieved by the result, Plaintiffs filed a litany of motions, one of which claimed that there was newly discovered evidence that the DBA did not apply. Specifically, Plaintiffs alleged that the DBA applies only to contracts, and not to cooperative agreements such as the one entered into between the Employer and the United States Agency for International Development (“USAID”). The new “evidence” included “USAID directives, regulations, and policies.” The Employer countered that all of this “evidence” was available throughout the litigation, and it could have been presented prior to the entry of the Order dismissing Plaintiffs’ suit.
The court agreed. All of the “newly discovered evidence” was available on the Internet, and reasonable diligence could have uncovered the information prior to the entry of the dismissal Order. Further, the court found no manifest injustice here because Plaintiffs receive their full remedies under the law (i.e. DBA death benefits). Finally, even if the Plaintiffs had presented their cooperative agreement argument prior to the entry of the dismissal Order, the case still would have been dismissed because the DBA is an exclusive remedy.
Vance v. CHF Int’l, No. RWT 11-3210, slip op. (D. Md. Oct. 19, 2012).
(Note: I originally published this post on Navigable Waters: A Maritime, Longshore and Defense Base Act Blog.)