Category Archives: Admiralty/Maritime

Punitive damages allowed for unseaworthiness claim

In Tabingo v. American Triumph LLC, No. 92913-1, 2017 WL 959551 (Wash. Mar. 9, 2017), the Washington State Supreme Court determined a Jones Act seaman could maintain a claim for punitive damages under the General Maritime Law for unseaworthiness.

U.S. 5th Circuit revisits the issue of what is a maritime contract

In Larry Dorion Inc. vs. Specialty Rental Tools and Supply, 849 F.3d 602 (5th Cir. 2017), the Fifth Circuit for the first time decided whether a contract to preform flow-back services on an off-shore natural gas well was a maritime contract. The plaintiff argued maritime law applied while plaintiff’s employer argued Louisiana state law applied.

Eastern District of Louisiana Finds Jones Act Employer Does Not Receive Benefit of Write Downs Negotiated by Third-Party Financier with Plaintiff’s Medical Providers

In Howard v. Offshore Liftboats, LLC, C/A 13-4811, 2016 WL 232252 (E.D. La. Jan. 1, 2016), plaintiff filed suit against Offshore Liftboats (OLB) claiming injuries arising from a failed personnel basket transfer and demanding payment of maintenance and cure. A dispute arose between OLB and the plaintiff as to the cost of the medical care … Read More »

Duncan & Sevin Attorneys Win Summary Judgment on McCorpen Defense

Kelley Sevin and Tripp DuBose recently obtained summary judgment before Judge Jane Triche Milazzo of the Eastern District of Louisiana on behalf of a Jones Act employer dismissing a seaman’s claims for maintenance and cure pursuant to the McCorpen doctrine. Under McCorpen v. Central Gulf S.S. Corp., 396 F.2d 547 (5th Cir. 1968) and its … Read More »

Cal Dive v. Schmidt – Oral argument heard on upsetting an allegedly fraudulent settlement

Andrew Schmidt received a multi-million dollar settlement after a diving accident accident where he reported a brain injury. According to Mr. Schmidt, he was unable to do anything more than lie down for more than two to three hours a day. The life-care plan involved 24/7 care. Surveillance produced nothing for two and a half … Read More »

Recent case supports significant damages awards in Texas

Williams v. Diamond – $8.5m compensatory damages award to Jones Act seaman from Texas jury, affirmed by Texas First Circuit Willie Williams was working on a Diamond Offshore rig on January 7, 2008. Trying to repair elevators on the rig, he suddenly felt pain in his back. He got off the rig, and now seven … Read More »

Jefferson v. Baywater and Meche v. Key Energy – M&C back in the spotlight

Two recent Louisiana federal court decisions demonstrate the importance of investigating and documenting a Jones Act seaman’s medical conditions. Failure to properly investigate a seaman’s medical claim may leave a Jones Act employer vulnerable to the kind of maintenance award handed down in Jefferson v. Baywater Drilling, LLC, CIV.A. 14-1711, 2015 WL 365526 (E.D. La. … Read More »

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 »

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 »

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 »