Pacific Operators Offshore LLP v. Valladolid will be argued at the Supreme Court on October 11, 2011. At issue are the coverage provisions for workers’ compensation benefits under one of many overlapping schemes that are dedicated to that issue. In this instance the relevant statute is the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). The continental shelf is that area within United States territorial waters that lies at least three miles from the United States coastline.
The operative provision of this statute provides that it applies to cases of death or disability “resulting from any injury occurring as the result of operations conducted on the outer Continental Shelf for the purpose of exploring for, developing, removing, or transporting by pipeline the natural resources, or involving rights to the natural resources, of the subsoil and seabed of the outer Continental Shelf.” The question before the Court is how broadly the words “occurring as the result of operations conducted on the outer Continental Shelf” in connection with these injuries should be read.