April 16, 2019
WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR
THE NINTH CIRCUIT
Brian Newton worked for petitioner Parker Drilling Management
Services on drilling platforms off the California coast.
Newton was paid for his time on duty but not for his time on
standby, during which he could not leave the platform. Newton
filed a class action in state court, alleging, as relevant
here, that California's minimum-wage and overtime laws
required Parker to compensate him for his standby time.
Parker removed the action to Federal District Court. The
parties agreed that Parker's platforms were subject to
the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), which provides
that all law on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) is federal
law, administered by federal officials; denies States any
interest in or jurisdiction over the OCS; and deems the
adjacent State's laws to be federal law only "[t]o
the extent that they are applicable and not inconsistent
with" other federal law, 43 U.S.C. §1333(a)(2)(A).
The District Court concluded that the state laws relevant
here should not be applied as federal law on the OCS because
the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), a comprehensive
federal wage-and-hour scheme, left no significant gap in
federal law for state law to fill. It thus granted Parker
judgment on the pleadings. The Ninth Circuit vacated and
remanded. It held that state law is "applicable"
under the OCSLA if it pertains to the subject matter at
issue, a standard satisfied by California wage-and-hour laws.
It also held that those state laws were not
"inconsistent" with federal law because they were
not incompatible with the federal scheme.
1. Where federal law addresses the relevant issue, state law
is not adopted as surrogate federal law on the OCS. Pp. 3-14.
(a) After this Court held that the Federal Government has
exclusive jurisdiction over the entire continental shelf,
see, e.g., United States v. Louisiana, 339 U.S. 699,
705, Congress enacted the Submerged Lands Act, which ceded
certain offshore lands to the coastal States, and passed the
OCSLA, which affirmed the Federal Government's exclusive
control over the OCS. Pp. 3-4.
(b) Newton argues that state law is "applicable" on
the OCS whenever it pertains to the subject matter at issue
and that it is "inconsistent" only if it would be
pre-empted under ordinary preemption principles. Parker
counters that state law is not "applicable" absent
a gap in federal law that needs to be filled and that state
law can be "inconsistent" with federal law even if
it is possible to satisfy both sets of laws. Parker's
approach is more persuasive. This Court reads the
statute's words" 'in their context and with a
view to their place in the overall statutory
scheme.'" Roberts v. Sea-Land Services,
Inc., 566 U.S. 93, 101. The Court's pre-OCSLA
decisions made clear that federal law controlled the OCS in
every respect, and the OCSLA reaffirmed that role. Taken
together, the OCSLA's provisions convincingly show that
state laws can be "applicable and not inconsistent"
with federal law under §1333(a)(2)(A) only if federal
law does not address the relevant issue. The OCSLA makes
apparent "that federal law is 'exclusive' . . .
and that state law is adopted only as surrogate federal
law." Rodrigue v. Aetna Casualty & Surety
Co., 395 U.S. 352, 357. It borrows only certain state
laws, which are then declared to be federal law and
administered by federal officials. It would thus make little
sense to treat the OCS as a mere extension of the adjacent
State, where state law applies unless it conflicts with
federal law. That type of pre-emption analysis applies only
where overlapping, dual state and federal jurisdiction makes
it necessary to decide which law takes precedence. But
federal law is the only law on the OCS and there is no
overlapping state and federal jurisdiction, so the reference
to "not inconsistent" state laws presents only the
question whether federal law has already addressed the
relevant issue. If so, state law on the issue is
inapplicable. Pp. 5-8.
(c) This interpretation is supported by several other
considerations. Pp. 8-14.
(1) Newton's interpretation-that the choice-of-law
question on the OCS is the same as it would be in an adjacent
State-would deprive much of the OCSLA of any import,
violating the" 'cardinal principle' of
interpretation that courts 'must give effect, if
possible, to every clause and word of a statute.'"
Loughrin v. United States, 573 U.S. 351, 358. Pp.
(2) This Court's interpretation is consistent with the
federal-enclave model and the historical development of the
statute. The OCSLA treats the OCS as "an upland federal
enclave." Rodrigue, supra, at 366. Generally,
when an area in a State becomes a federal enclave, "only
the [state] law in effect at the time of the transfer of
jurisdiction continues in force" as surrogate federal
law, James Stewart & Co. v. Sadrakula, 309 U.S.
94, 100, provided that the state law does not conflict with
"federal policy," Paul v. United States,
371 U.S. 245, 269. Going forward, state law presumptively
does not apply to the enclave. See Sadrakula, supra,
at 100. As originally enacted, the OCSLA both treated the OCS
as a federal enclave and adopted only the "applicable
and not inconsistent" laws of the adjacent State in
effect as of the Act's effective date. This suggests
that, like the general enclave rule, the OCSLA sought to make
all OCS law federal yet also "provide a sufficiently
detailed legal framework to govern life" on the OCS.
Shell Oil Co. v. Iowa Dept. of Revenue, 488 U.S. 19,
27. Providing a sufficient legal structure to accomplish that
purpose eliminated the need to adopt new state laws. The
OCSLAs text and context thus suggest that state law is not
adopted to govern the OCS where federal law is on point. The
later amendment of the OCSLA to adopt state law on an ongoing
basis confirms the connection between the OCSLA and the
federal enclave model. Pp. 9-11.
(3) This Court's interpretation accords with precedent
construing the OCSLA. In Rodrigue, supra, at
352-353; Chevron Oil Co. v. Huson, 404 U.S. 97; and
Gulf Offshore Co. v. Mobil Oil Corp., 453 U.S. 473,
the Court viewed the OCSLA as adopting state law to fill in
federal-law gaps. Pp. 11-14.
2. Under the proper standard, some of Newton's present
claims can be resolved, though others have not been analyzed
by the Ninth Circuit. Some claims are premised on the
adoption of California law requiring payment for all standby
time. Because federal law already addresses this issue,
California law does not provide the rule of decision on the
OCS. To the extent Newton's OCS-based claims rely on that
law, they necessarily fail. Likewise, to the extent his
OCS-based claims rely on the adoption of California's
minimum wage, the FLSA already provides for a minimum wage,
so the state minimum wage is not adopted as federal law and
does not apply on the OCS. Pp. 14- 15.
881 F.3d 1078 and 888 F.3d 1085, vacated and remanded.
THOMAS, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.
Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), 67 Stat. 462, 43
U.S.C. §1331 et seq., extends federal law to
the subsoil and seabed of the Outer Continental Shelf and all
attachments thereon (OCS). Under the OCSLA, all law on the
OCS is federal law, administered by federal officials. The
OCSLA denies States any interest in or jurisdiction over the
OCS, and it deems the adjacent State's laws to be federal
law "[t]o the extent that they are applicable and not
inconsistent with" other federal law. §
1333(a)(2)(A). The question before us is how to determine
which state laws meet this requirement and therefore should
be adopted as federal law. ...