Plaintiff worked for a company which performed both onshore and offshore sandblasting and painting. His employer contracted with a third party to undertake the sandblasting and painting of an offshore platform. Plaintiff and his crew worked on this project for two-and-a-half months. During that time, Plaintiff slept and ate on board the M/V Howard McCall, stored equipment on the vessel, and used the vessel as a work platform. Plaintiff was also injured on the vessel: he fell as he was exiting the wheelhouse. After a trial, the jury determined that Plaintiff was a Jones Act seaman, and he awarded maintenance and cure totaling $8,580.00 and $9,754.00 respectively.
The first question presented to Louisiana’s Third Circuit was whether Plaintiff was a Jones Act seaman. As for the legal backdrop, the court simply quoted four (4) pages of the Supreme Court’s decision in Chandris, Inc. v. Latsis, 515 U.S. 347, 368-72 (1995). From there, the Third Circuit noted that the only evidence presented to the jury regarding Plaintiff’s seaman status was Plaintiff’s testimony. Taken as a whole, the court found no manifest error in the jury’s finding that Plaintiff was a Jones Act seaman.
(Note: I originally published this post on Navigable Waters: A Maritime, Longshore and Defense Base Act Blog.)