In Ward v. Ehw Constructors, (USDC WDWA, December 22, 2016) the issues before the court were seaman status and punitive damages for failure to pay maintenance and cure. In May 2012, the U.S. Department of Defense awarded Defendants a contract to build an explosives-handling wharf. The project utilized several floating structures, including the Ringer II, which was an un-crewed floating platform comprised of interlocking flexi-floats. Each group of flexi-floats was held in place with anchors or "spuds" then maneuvered at the worksite either by tug or deck wenches. Support skiffs were also used to transport materials and laborers.
In Mount v. Keahole Point Fish, LLC, et al, the district court considered the applicability of the United State Coast Guard Commercial Diving Operations regulations to the vessels at issue and thus the viability of the Plaintiff's claims for negligence per se and unseaworthiness per se based upon alleged violations of those regulations, as set forth in Kernan v. American Dredging Co., 355 U.S. 426 (1958).
In Gaylor v. Canal Barge Co., Inc., Judge Helen Berrigan of the Eastern District of Louisiana considered a plaintiff's contributory negligence in relation to his Jones Act and unseaworthiness claims. No. 14-2398, slip op. (Sept. 11, 2015).
The Fifth Circuit in Glaze v. Higman Barge Lines, Inc., 611 Fed. App'x 227 (2015), considered the issue of whether an employer's safety manual requirement of performing a job safety analysis ("JSA") creates a legal duty to an employee.
In Calvin Howard, et al v. Offshore Liftboats, LLC, No. 13-4811, Judge Susie Morgan of the Eastern District of Louisiana examined the issue of punitive damages under the Jones Act. slip op. (E.D.La. November 20, 2015). In this case, plaintiffs filed suit against their employer alleging negligence under the Jones Act and seeking punitive damages. Plaintiffs also sued a non-employer third party under general maritime law for negligence and unseaworthiness, as well as for punitive damages. Both defendants brought a motion to dismiss the punitive damage claims.