Category Archives: Personal Injury

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 »

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 »

Louisiana Appellate Court voids seaman’s release executed before first doctor visit, finding seaman lacked “full understanding and knowledge” of his rights.

In Rudolph v. D.R.D. Towing Company, LLC,  Mr. Rudolph, who worked for D.R.D Towing aboard the M/V RUBY E, allegedly sustained injuries when the M/V MARTIN CHALLENGER collided with his vessel.  — So.3d —, 2012 WL 1415135, No. 11-CA-1074(La.App. 5 Cir. 4/24/12).  Three days after the incident, before receiving medical treatment or legal advice, Mr. … Read More »

Two Recent Louisiana Eastern District General Damage Rulings – Trend or Aberration?

Louisiana’s Eastern District, in Raynes v. McMoran Exploration Company and Smith v. Ledet Towing Company has recently allowed two significant general damage awards in Jones Act cases involving back injuries requiring significant surgical intervention. In Raynes v. McMoran, the plaintiff, a worker on a fixed production platform owned by McMoran,  was injured when his left foot … 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 »

Fifth Circuit cuts with a thin knife, ruling the jury committed error when it concluded a railroad worker’s arthritis was caused by his work

“For nearly 40 years,” the Fifth Circuit explained, “Harold Huffman worked for the Union Pacific Railroad.”  In one of the growing list of injury-over-time suits, Mr. Huffman filed suit against Union Pacific under FELA, claiming he suffered from osteoarthritis to his knee as a result of his forty years of hard work.  After the jury found Union Pacific was … 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 »

Eastern District of Louisiana clarifies bareboat charter’s duties

Stewart et al v. Lester J. Plaisance, Inc. et al, E.D.La. February 27, 2011 The Eastern District of Louisiana (Judge Berrigan) held that a charterer could be found negligent for a defective condition onboard a vessel that causes injury despite the charterer not having operational control at the time of the accident.  In Stewart et … Read More »