Legal News

The Deepwater Horizon Opinion is here: careful, thoughtful and detailed

This week, Judge Barbier released his opinion in the Deepwater Horizon litigation.  His 150+ page opinion defies easy description, but in very brief: Judge Barbier concludes the reason for the blowout was not the cement, it was the drilling process chosen principally by BP.  The most egregious fault on BP was in failure to perform … Read More »

In Naquin v. EBI, Fifth Circuit concludes a plaintiff can be both a Jones Act seaman and a Longshoreman

Larry Naquin was a repair supervisor for Elevating Boats.  His job consisted of supervising repairs on EBI’s liftboats while they were docked shore-side, including inspections, cleaning, painting, and repairing parts.  Two or three times a week, he would work while the vessels were being moved.  Every once in a while, he would repair a vessel … Read More »

Additional terms in indemnification agreement limits the duty to defend and indemnify to damages relating to workmanship of seller’s product

Weeks Marine, Inc. v. Standard Concrete Products, Inc. 12-20610, (5th Cir. 12/6/2013). John Johnson Jr., a construction worker, was allegedly injured when he fell while working on a reconditioning project on the I-10 Mississippi River Bridge.  Johnson filed suit in Alabama state court against several entities, including Standard Concrete, his employer, and Weeks Marine, the … Read More »

Not so fast – Removal of Jones Act claims hits a hurdle

In a prior post, we noted that Jones Act claims may be removable–or at any rate, the general maritime law portions would be.  That analysis has hit its first hurdle in Barry v. Shell Oil Co.  There, Judge Zainey granted plaintiff’s motion to remand after defendant’s removed based on the amended venue statute (28 U.S.C. 1441).  … Read More »

Eastern District agrees: General Maritime Law claims, including those part of Jones Act claims, are removable

Duncan & Sevin recently was successful in a motion in front of Judge Kurt Engelhardt of the Eastern District of Louisiana in which Judge Engelhardt allowed removal of the plaintiff’s general maritime law claims (i.e., maintenance and cure and unseaworthiness) based on the recent amendment to the removal statute by Jurisdiction and Venue Clarification Act … Read More »

Texas Supreme Court clarifies contractual liability exclusion

Ewing Construction Co. Inc., v. Amerisure Insurance Company, 2014 WL 185035 (Tex. 2014) The Texas Supreme Court recently rendered an important opinion regarding two questions certified by the Fifth Circuit regarding the interpretation of the “contractual liability exclusion” typically found in commercial general liability (“CGL”) insurance policies.  Ewing Construction v. Amerisure arose out of a … Read More »

Underwriters must be named in the MSA to invoke defense and indemnity provisions of MSA, says Fifth Circuit

Duval v. Deepwater  BHP Billiton Petroleum Deepwater, Inc. (oil exploration company) entered a Master Service Agreement with Deep Marine Technology, Inc., who was to provide offshore construction support vessels. BHP also contracted with Wood Group/Deepwater Specialists to provide offshore services. A Wood Group employee, Glenn Duval, was allegedly injured in a personnel basket transfer between … Read More »

Federal court in Texas allows removal of general maritime law claim pursuant to amended removal statute

Mark Ryan went into cardiac arrest during drilling operations to control a damaged well that was blowing gas off the coast of Port Harcout, Nigeria.  Ryan subsequently passed away.  Ryan’s widow, Jonnie Ryan, filed suit in state court in Harris County, Texas alleging, among other claims, claims under the Death on the High Seas Act, … Read More »

E.D.La. court denies recovery of Jones Act nonpecuniary wrongful death damages and punitive damages.

In Ainsworth v. Caillou Island et al, E.D. La. C/A No. 13-0688, Tracy Ainsworth filed suit as the parent and natural tutrix of Veronika Bumgarner, the surviving daughter of decedent Vernon Bumgarner, a Jones Act seaman.  Plaintiff sought recovery of loss of society damages, punitive damages, and the decedent’s lost wages.  The defendants moved to strike … Read More »

Removal of Jones Act claim sticks based on ancillary arbitration claim

On June 11, 2013, in Gautreaux v. Tassin Intl., Inc., E.D. La. C/A No. 12-2987, 2013 WL 2635173 Judge Morgan held that a cross claim concerning the validity of a foreign arbitration clause could effectively bind plaintiff’s maritime claims, brought in state court, to a federal district court.  The Judge held that Louisiana law did … Read More »