The plaintiff, a Senior Wildlife Enforcement Agent employed by the State of Louisiana, alleged that he was injured in a vessel due to a number of deficiencies in the boat and its operation. He sought remedies under the Jones Act. The State responded to the plaintiff’s petition with a number of exceptions, and it sought a declaration that the plaintiff’s injuries fell within the exclusive province of Louisiana’s Workers’ Compensation Act. The Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Third Circuit, agreed. It concluded that the plaintiff was not entitled to pursue his claim under the Jones Act. Louisiana’s workers’ compensation laws prevent state employees from making federal claims for injuries sustained at work. Not only does this include Jones Act claims, it also includes “any other statutorily created remedy.” The Third Circuit’s opinion creates a state circuit split because it arrived at a contrary conclusion than a recent Fourth Circuit opinion. Fulmer v. Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries, 10-88 (La. App. 4 Cir. 10/6/10), — So.3d —-. The Fulmer court determined that it was not the intent of Louisiana’s Workers’ Compensation Act to deprive an employee of the right to seek a federal remedy in state court.
(Note: I originally published this post on Navigable Waters: A Maritime, Longshore and Defense Base Act Blog.)