The ill-fated Carnival Cruise ship Triumph has been docked in Mobile, Alabama while investigators piece together the cause of the fire that left the ship adrift in the Gulf of Mexico. The Coast Guard announced Monday afternoon that a leaking fuel-oil return line running from one of the ship’s engines was the cause of the fire but it is not known what caused the leak.
After four days of aimlessly drifting, the ship was towed to a port in Mobile where all passengers were provided travel to New Orleans and Houston. Litigation has already been filed by several passengers relying on maritime law to cover their experience. In addition to claims by passengers, however, the Jones Act is the federal law that governs claims that seamen and cruise ship employees may have for injuries they sustained in the course of their service on the vessel. Many of the workers aboard a vessel such as Triumph are employed to perform the same tasks as hotel and restaurant workers on land. These types of industries are often injury prone due to the nature of the work.
The reported conditions onboard the ship include health and safety hazards for crewmembers continuing to work in the scope of their employment. Passengers reported slippery walkways, lack of food and potable water and sewage soaked carpets. Carnival has not announced plans for compensation for the crew, nor disclosed what injuries staff members might have suffered.
The Jones Act lawyers at Doyle Raizner LLP have handled a number of claims against the cruise industry for created an unsafe work environment for cruise ship workers.
Doyle Raizner has filed a Jones Act suit against Houston-based Technip USA, Inc. The company is an offshore seismic company.
The plaintiff’s injuries resulted from a fall while descending a stairwell from the life raft deck to the fast rescue boat deck. The stairwell was poorly maintained and improperly constructed. The plaintiff was employed by Technip at the time of his injuries and was a Jones Act seaman more or less permanently assigned to the vessel of his employer.
Technip was negligent in creating the dangerous conditions that proximately resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries. The vessel was not reasonably safe and, therefore, unseaworthy. Technip has also denied maintenance and cure payments to the plaintiff. The plaintiff is requesting Technip pay damages in relation to the charges of negligence, unseaworthiness and wrongful denial of maintenance and cure.
The offshore injury attorneys at Doyle Raizner stand behind this client in their fight against a company attempting to shirk its responsibilities to their employee.
Doyle Raizner has filed a Jones Act suit against Kirby Marine on behalf of an injured seaman. The seaman was injured while on Kirby’s vessel offshore near the coast of Texas.
The case falls under the Jones Act and maritime law due to the employment of the injured party as a seaman permanently assigned to the vessel and/or fleets of vessels of his employers. The case is also brought under general maritime law for denial of maintenance and cure. Maintenance refers to the responsibility of a shipowner to provide medical care to an injured seaman until he has reached maximum medical care. Cure is the obligation of a shipowner to pay for medications and medical devices necessary to improve the injured seaman’s condition.
Kirby was negligent by failing to provide a safe working environment for their crew, which resulted in the dangerous conditions leading to the seaman’s injuries. Kirby’s vessel was unseaworthy due to the lack of non-skid surfacing on the vessel, which caused the seaman to fall down stairs.
Doyle Raizner stands with the injured seaman against Kirby to recover the maintenance and cure and other damages owed to the seaman.
Doyle Raizner has filed a Jones Act lawsuit against Helix Energy Solutions on behalf of a seaman who suffered a serious injury to his hand while working aboard a pipe-laying vessel in the Gulf of Mexico on February 17, 2010. Unfortunately, the vessel was not properly maintained by Helix, leading to unsafe working conditions. As a result, the seaman slipped and fell down a staircase, causing him to severely injure his left hand.
On June 25, 2012, Doyle Raizner filed a maritime lawsuit on behalf of a Jones Act seaman who was seriously injured in the course of his job earlier this year. The seaman’s injury was the result of his employer’s failure to maintain safe working
conditions on the jack-up rig that the seaman worked on in the Gulf of Mexico.
Doyle Raizner is proud to represent this Jones Act seaman, who suffered serious leg injuries in an accident that was entirely preventable, had his employer kept a safe work environment.
In the aftermath of the BP oil rig explosion and spill, the Obama administration placed a moratorium on oil drilling. Since then, the moratorium may have officially been lifted, but the permitting process for rigs has grinded almost to a halt.
Ten oil rigs have left the Gulf of Mexico in recent months for distant oil fields in South America and Africa. Of the rigs still under contract to operate in the gulf, sixty percent are idle, according to the Financial Times. Idle tug boats, helicopters and other equipment involved in maritime cargo and personnel transfers cost their owners money every day. Others involved in the oyster and shrimp industries still await a positive outcome for claims arising from the BP oil spill.
Some commentators are pointing the finger at the Department of the Interior for mismanagement of the permitting process. Both shallow-water and deepwater permits are tracking well below historical levels.
Oil Rigs Relocating
The lack of drilling activity in the Gulf has caused many oil rigs to leave for greener pastures – rigs are leaving in record numbers for oil fields in South America and Africa. Consequently, U.S. workers on these rigs are also leaving for these foreign waters in an attempt to earn the paycheck their families desperately need.
Tragically, some of the U.S. workers leaving for South America and Africa will be injured on the high seas while drilling for oil. Fortunately though, working outside of U.S. waters does not leave a rig worker without remedies. The Jones Act may allow an American oil rig worker to hold his employer liable for injuries the worker sustains because of the employers negligence.
Generally, injured workers may make claims for personal injury, which can include compensation for lost wages and medical bills. Moreover, the family of a deceased rig worker can bring a wrongful death claim in the unfortunate event that a loved one is killed while working
On August 19, 2011, a Harris County jury unanimously confirmed WesternGeco Resources, Inc. as responsible for living expenses (maintenance) and medical care (cure) for an injury to the medic onboard its seismic vessel M/V GILIVAR off the shore of Equatorial Guinea in 2006. In addition to confirming that WesternGeco was responsible for maintenance and cure payments, WesternGeco was required to pay damages for unreasonable denial.
The jury rejected the claims by WesternGeco (a Houston-based subsidiary of Schlumberger) that it did not exercise any control over the operations or crewmembers onboard the vessel, the jury found in the first reported instance responsible as a “borrowing employer” for a crewmember placed and paid by a third-party contractor, Wadleigh, Inc.
Doyle Raizner represented the Plaintiff in his maritime and Jones Act claims.
On May 17, 2011, Doyle Raizner filed a martime lawsuit on behalf of a Jones Act seaman injured in the course of his job in February 2011. The seaman’s injury was the result of the dangerous and unseaworthy condition of the vessel that he was serving on. To make matters worse, his employer did not comply with the Jones Act provisions requiring it to pay for maintainance and cure until the seaman had recovered from his on-the-job injury.
Doyle Raizner LLP secured an award in arbitration in favor of our client, a Jones Act seaman who fell from a compressor during loading operations aboard a supply barge which was working with the dredge Weeks Venture. On October 28, 2010, a panel of arbitrators appointed by the American Arbitration Association issued an award in favor of the seaman, who suffered a broken wrist and lumbar spine injuries from the accident, which he suffered while serving as a Leverman/Deck Captain working with the dredging vessel. The arbitrators found that the seaman’s employer, Weeks Marine, was guilty of negligence under the Jones Act due to its failure to provide fall protection, eliminate a trip hazard caused by a hose that was coiled and placed on top of the compressor, and follow its own safety manual.
The award came after four years of fighting by Weeks Marine, which attempted to avoid any responsibility for the incident. Weeks Marine’s excessive dispute and delay included two appeals the company made to the Texas Supreme Court, an attempt to obtain an injunction halting the seaman’s medical treatment, and other tactics found to be unconscionable and deceptive.
“We are pleased that after so many attempts to evade responsibility in this case that Weeks Marine has been held accountable for its actions, and our client can finally have justice in his case,” said Patrick Dennis. Mr. Dennis served as lead counsel for the arbitration.
The panel found that the seaman had sustained $924,184.90 in compensatory damages. This amount was reduced based upon a finding that the seaman was 50% contributorily negligent. Doyle Raizner was proud to hold Weeks Marine accountable and enforce the rights of our client.
Doyle Raizner LLP is proud to announce that a settlement in two Jones Act claims was reached with Chet Morrison on behalf of two seamen who were injured in March 2008 when the Jillian Morrison exploded off of the coast of Louisiana. As a result, the seamen suffered from spinal injuries and post traumatic stress disorder. The agreement, which involves a confidential sum of money, recognizes that Chet Morrison failed to take proper precaution in the storage of explosive gas aboard the vessel.
Both cases were pending in Harris County District Court. One was before the Honorable Bill Burke in the 189th District Court, and the other was before the Honorable Sharon McCally in the 334th District Court.