Plaintiff filed a lawsuit for injuries that he allegedly sustained working aboard a vessel. Plaintiff claimed he was a Jones Act seaman and filed suit against his employers, Nordic Underwater Services and AMI Consulting Engineers. He pleaded in the alternative a claim for benefits under the LHWCA. Nordic’s LHWCA carrier is American Longshore Mutual Association (ALMA). MEL Underwriters is Nordic’s maritime employer’s insurer. MEL Underwriters voluntarily paid maintenance and cure to Loveall even though it disputed Loveall’s status as a Jones Act seaman. Neither the MEL Underwriters nor the longshore carrier were a party to the case. MEL Underwriter requested and was granted leave to Intervene and file its Third Party Complaint against the longshore carrier. The longshore carrier who moved to dismiss the intervention and third party demand arguing that MEL Underwriters improperly intervened and the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over MEL Underwriters’ claim against them. The court agreed, noting that MEL Underwriters may potentially benefit from an adverse ruling on seaman status. However, MEL Underwriters’ interest in the main demand was indirect, solely economic in nature, and completely tangential to the main demand. This was borne out by the fact that MEL Underwriters insinuated itself into this case not to assert a claim against any existing party but rather to pursue a new independent claim against a non-party, the longshore carrier. Judge Zainey commented, “Simply, MEL Underwriters was an interloper in the case and the intervention was not proper.” The court granted the longshore carriers motion to dismiss the intervention. (Loveall, et al v. Nordic Underwater Services, Inc., et al, USDC EDLA, August 19, 2016 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110656).

Download decision here.