We are pleased to announce that the maritime injury attorneys at Morrow & Sheppard LLP recently won a significant appellate case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. While the federal district court dismissed our client’s claims without a trial, the appellate judges on the Fifth Circuit unanimously agreed that the trial court’s decision relied on numerous mistakes of law. As a result, our client will be entitled to move forward with his claim and seek just compensation for the injuries he sustained while working offshore.
Dangerous Hydraulic Tank Plug and Rope Swing Cause Severe Injuries
The key facts of the case, as alleged in our client’s complaint and recited by the Fifth Circuit, are as follows:
On May 27, 2015, our client was working as a mechanic’s helper on a fixed offshore platform owned by Energy XXI GOM, L.L.C. (“Energy XXI”) and operated by Wood Group USA, Incorporated (“Wood Group”). Although our client had experience working on other platforms, he was new to the type of platform crane involved in the accident. In order to drain the crane tank as part of his duties, our client was required to access a workspace below the tank through a grating panel. After our client finished draining the tank, the grating panel fell, hitting his shoulder and foot and causing serious injuries. In order to leave the platform, our client was required to use a swing rope transfer rather than a safer basket transfer, and this exacerbated his foot injuries.
We sued Energy XXI and Wood Group on behalf of our client, seeking full compensation under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). Despite our client’s testimony and the clear law governing the case, the trial court ruled that Energy XXI and Wood Group were entitled to a judgment in their favor without a trial. Our attorneys appealed, and the Fifth Circuit ruled that our client’s case should move forward.
Winning Results for Injured Offshore Worker
In overruling the district court, the Fifth Circuit cited several key court decisions and legal principles favoring our client. For example, in disagreeing that our client lacked justification for seeking compensation, the appellate court stated:
Under Louisiana law [the law governing the case], “[a]s a general rule, ‘the owner or operator of a facility has the duty of exercising reasonable care for the safety of persons on his premises and the duty of not exposing such persons to unreasonable risks of injury or harm. . . .’” “This duty extends to employees of independent contractors.”
The court also found it “significant” that Louisiana follows a rule known as “pure comparative fault.” This rule entitles accident victims to at least a partial financial recovery regardless of their level of fault in the accident (assuming it is less than 100 percent).
Morrow & Sheppard LLP | Experienced Advocates for Injured Offshore Workers
If you or a loved one has been injured offshore, the maritime injury lawyers at Morrow & Sheppard LLP can help. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, please call (800) 489-2216 or contact us online. With offices in Houston, we represent workers and families throughout Texas and nationwide.