Category - Maritime


A “Tug” May Be a “Tow,” Says U.S. Fifth Circuit

A “tugboat” may be a “tow” if it receives extra motive power from another vessel, according to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Fifth Circuit announced this rule in the context of interpreting an insurance policy, although the court actually determined that an assisting tug was not the tow of a lead tug. …


Indemnity Agreement Not Inferred in Oilfield Contract

Indemnity agreements will not be easily inferred in the absence of a written contract, the First Circuit Court of Appeal recently reminded. In Walton v. Guidry, 2017-0784 (La. App. 1 Cir. 1/4/18), responsibility for payment of benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act hinged on whether an indemnification agreement existed between the nominal …


U.S. Fifth Circuit Refines Test for Maritime Contract Determination

The U.S. Fifth Circuit recently announced a new, simpler test for determining whether a contract is maritime. Since 1990, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has applied the multi-factor test found in Davis & Sons, Inc. v. Gulf Oil Corp., 919 F.2d 316 (5th Cir. 1990), in determining whether a contract is maritime and …


Payment of State Settlement Extends Time for Filing Occupational Disease Claim Under LHWCA

In a case of first impression, the Benefits Review Board determined that payment of settlement proceeds under a state compensation act extends the time for filing a claim for occupational disease benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. The claimant worked as a welder in the 1970s for the employer, and then worked …


Offshore Floating Tension Leg Platform Not a Vessel

An offshore floating tension leg platform is not a vessel, according to the U.S. Fifth Circuit’s recent decision in Baker v. Director, OWCP, 15-60634 (5th Cir. 8/19/16). The issue in Baker involved whether a worker injured during the construction of an offshore platform was entitled to benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.  …


Plaintiff Cannot Be Compensated for Help Managing His Damage Award

A Louisiana federal judge recently rebuffed a plaintiff’s attempt to extend the range of available damages to include an award for “financial management” damages in a Jones Act claim.  The opinion contains little factual information, but the plaintiff apparently was 27 years old at the time of the injury and had reached maximum medical improvement …


Louisiana Third Circuit Awards Attorney’s Fees Even After Maintenance and Cure Paid

The Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal recently decided an apparently novel issue under maritime law.  The Third Circuit held that an employer that arbitrarily delays paying maintenance and cure is liable for the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees, even those incurred after the payment of maintenance and cure, if the employer pays the benefits conditionally and …


P&I Policy Requires a Vessel, the Fifth Circuit Reminds

A P&I policy generally requires a causal connection between a vessel and a resulting injury for coverage, according to a recent decision from the U.S. Fifth Circuit. On March 22, 2016, the Fifth Circuit handed down another decision in the Naquin v. Elevating Boats litigation, which arises out of an accident in 2009.  In 2014, …


Contract to Salvage a Platform Covered Under LOIA

A contract for salvaging a fixed oil and gas platform in the Gulf of Mexico on the Outer Continental Shelf that supported a decommissioned well requires the application of the Louisiana Oilfield Indemnity Act (“LOIA”), according to a recent U.S. Fifth Circuit decision.  In the same decision, the Fifth Circuit found a maritime employment exclusion …


OCSLA Covers Auto Accident, Says Benefits Review Board

The Benefits Review Board, the appellate arm overseeing the administration of the Longshore Act and its extensions, recently examined an important U.S. Supreme Court decision involving injuries related to offshore oil and gas production. The Board found coverage under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (“OCSLA”) for an offshore worker injured in an accident while …


Longshore Divisions Moving into the Future

The Longshore divisions of the United States Department of Labor have updated their procedures to incorporate current technology and law.  A few months ago, the Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation, the agency that administers the Longshore Act, implemented a procedure for online filing of almost all required documents.  Forms and other documents may …


ALJ Cannot Alter an LHWCA Settlement Agreement

An ALJ cannot vary the terms of an agreed settlement application submitted by the parties, the Benefits Review Board held.  “Section 8(i) of the Act and its implementing regulations do not give an administrative law judge the authority to alter a complete Section 8(i) settlement submitted by the parties.  Rather, the administrative law judge’s options …


Benefits Review Board Decides New Second Injury Fund Issue

The Benefits Review Board recently determined an employer’s liability under Section 8(f) in cases in which a claimant sustains successive aggravating injuries to the same body part.  Initially, the Board upheld the ALJ’s determination that the claimant sustained three distinct work injuries, all to his back.  The claimant initially injured his back in 1999.  After …