Category Archives: Maintenance and Cure

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.

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 »

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 »

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 »

Fifth Circuit affirms summary judgment on maintenance and cure: palliative, not curative

In Alario v. Offshore Service Vessels, LLC the Fifth Circuit affirmed Judge Fallon’s grant of summary judgment for the defendant vessel owner.  Michelle Alario filed suit against her Jones Act employer, alleging negligence, unseaworthiness, and entitlement to maintenance and cure when she fell out of her bunk and injured her shoulder.  The district court (Judge Fallon) granted … Read More »

Louisiana, Washington district courts divide sharply on punitive damage for arbitrary and capricious denial of maintenance and cure

Following the Supreme Court’s opinion in Atlantic Sounding v. Townsend, nary a Jones Act seaman’s complaint is filed without the plaintiff alleging his entitlement to punitive damages because his or her employer has willfully, wantonly, arbitrarily and capriciously deprived him or her of punitive damages. Along with the plaintiffs’ demands, defendants have dusted off their defenses … Read More »

Jones Act seaman suffers rare hat trick, losing on Jones Act negligence, unseaworthiness, and maintenance and cure, all on summary judgment

James Lett was an engineer and Jones Act seaman for Omega Protein, Inc.  He alleged he was injured over the course of a few days in September of 2008 when he used a needle gun in the engine room to remove paint and rust.  Thanks to the too-small tool, the cramped quarters, and Omega’s failure … Read More »

Coleman v. Omega: Summary Judgment on Jones Act Negligence and Unseaworthiness; then Denial of Maintenance and Cure for Willful Misconduct

In Joseph Coleman v. Omega Protein Inc., Joseph Coleman, a Jones Act seaman, filed suit against Omega Protein Inc. for unseaworthiness, negligence, and maintenance and cure following an accident onboard the F/V MISSISSIPPI SOUND.  Duncan & Sevin represented Omega Protein Inc. Mr. Coleman alleged he injured in an accident between 2:00 am and 3:00 am … Read More »