Plaintiff injured his arm while working at the Employer’s “Docksider” facility. The Docksider was constructed as a deck barge in 1972. Twenty-seven years later it was converted to a stationary floating transfer facility. It receives electricity from a generator on shore. Further, the Docksider is held in place by two welded I-beam brackets. It can move vertically to account for the tide and waves, but it cannot transport people or materials. Following his injury, Plaintiff instituted an action against the Employerunder the Jones Act, 42 U.S.C. § 30104, and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (“LHWCA”), 33 U.S.C. § 905(b).
The Eastern District of Louisiana dismissed Plaintiff’s claims with prejudice. It determined that the Docksider was not a “vessel” under the Jones Act or the LHWCA. The Docksider’s use for transportation on water was only theoretical. Since 1999, the Docksider has been permanently moored. Considering the fact that Employer does not plan to move the Docksider, that it gets electricity from an on-shore generator, and that it would require an eight-man crew a full day to remove the Docksider from its moored position, the Docksider is not considered a “vessel.”
Poolson v. Malley Repairs, Inc., No. 09-7105, 2011 WL 6000873, slip op. (E.D. La. Nov. 30, 2011).
(Note: I originally published this post on Navigable Waters: A Maritime, Longshore and Defense Base Act Blog.)