Legal News

McBride Plaintiffs Request Supreme Court Review – UPDATED – Cert Denied

UPDATED The Supreme Court denied certiorari. It is likely, after more courts look at the issue, the Supreme Court will resolve the circuit split. We have previously reported on the ongoing saga of McBride, et al v. Estis Well Services, LLC, 768 F.3d 382 (5th Cir. 2014) and the availability of punitive damages under general … Read More »

Texas Supreme Court clarifies: When an MSA gives a party additional insured rights, the MSA can limit those rights

The litigation that seeped to the surface after the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon has not yet entered its cleanup phase, but today, the Texas Supreme Court issued a ruling that addresses one important part of it. Transocean and BP had a “knock-for-knock” contract, where Transocean agreed to defend and indemnify BP for injuries to … Read More »

Ninth Circuit CAFA Removal Decision Causes Headaches for Plaintiffs in Darvon Litigation

In Corber v. Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit struck a blow against a tactic that has become common among Plaintiffs in pharmaceutical and medical device litigation. No. 13-56306, 2014 WL 6436154 (9th Cir. Nov. 18, 2014). The Corber Plaintiffs filed suit alleging injuries caused by the ingestion of … Read More »

Supreme Court clarifies removal under Class Action Fairness Act: Plausible allegations of amount in controversy enough

What showing must a defendant first make upon removing a case to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA)? Does a “short, plain statement” plausibly alleging the amount in controversy suffice, or is the removing defendant required to produce evidence with the notice of removal to meet its burden? In Dart Cherokee Basin … Read More »

Federal decision finds no negligence or unseaworthiness, but does find punitive damages for arbitrary/capricious denial of M&C

On June 20, 2008, Jones Act plaintiff Willie Meche claims he hurt his back while he was lifting a hatch cover on a vessel owned and operated by Key Energy Services.  He filed suit in the Western District of Louisiana in front of Judge Haik.  The case went to trial in 2013 and is currently … Read More »

Contractual language sticks: ‘bareboat charter’ language in contract precludes recovery from BP, despite allegations BP actually controlled details of the work

A recent decision by the U.S. Fifth Circuit highlights how clear language in a charter party can help preclude a charterer’s liability. In Barron v. BP America Production Co., 2014 WL 4851804 (5th Cir. Oct. 1, 2014), the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a dismissal of the plaintiff’s Jones Act, unseaworthiness, and general … Read More »

Fifth Circuit Issues New Opinion Regarding Application of “Contractual Liability Exclusion” Common in Most CGL Policies

In Crownover v. Mid-Continent Casualty Co., 2014 WL 5473084 (5th Cir. Oct. 29, 2014), the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently granted a motion for reconsideration and withdrew and reversed an earlier opinion.  The suit arose out of the Crownover’s contract with Arrow Development, Inc. (“Arrow”) for the construction of a new home in … Read More »

An Expensive Wrist Sprain: Louisiana 3rd Circuit Upholds $300,000 in Punitive Damages for Arbitrary and Capricious Refusal to Pay Maintenance and Cure

In Stermer v. Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., 2014 WL 2515387 (La. App. 3d Cir. June 4, 2014), plaintiff was employed as a cook aboard an inland towing vessel on the Mississippi River. Ms. Stermer alleged that she had sustained injuries to her wrist and ankles when the vessel she was aboard bumped into its tow, causing her to … Read More »

What does it mean to be “in the service of the vessel”? – Dize v. Association of Maryland Pilots – UPDATED

A Jones Act seaman is someone who spends 30% or more of his or her time in the service of the vessel.  The Supreme Court has been asked to answer what “in the service of the vessel” actually means – is it time contributing to the navigation and operation of the vessel, or does it … Read More »

McBride v. Estis arrives: punitive damages not available for Jones Act unseaworthiness

The Fifth Circuit released its opinion in McBride v Estis today, the long-awaited decision regarding punitive damages.  It tips the scales at 73 pages.  The Court, in a close decision, reverses the panel opinion and concludes punitive damages are not available for a Jones Act seaman, whether it is a claim for wrongful death or for personal … Read More »