Jonathan was employed by Global Industries as a dispatcher. Jonathan would be sent to various offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, where he would perform dispatching duties.
Jonathan had been employed by Global for five years, when he was sent to work on the ENSCO 87 jack up rig. Seven months in to his stint on this rig, Jonathan was walking in the Company Man's office when he stepped in a puddle of water, causing his left knee to buckle back. Jonathan caught himself before falling by grabbing a nearby desk.
The ENSCO 87 was owned by Ensco Offshore Company, and operated by Apache Corporation.
In this incident, Jonathan re-injured his left knee (Jonathan injured his left knee five years before in a motorcycle accident requiring an ACL / MCL / meniscus tear surgery at that time). Since this incident, Jonathan had two knee surgeries.
Shortly after this incident, Jonathan began receiving Longshore indemnity checks from the LWCC, and the Longshore insurance carrier also paid for all of Jonathan's medical treatment.
Jonathan contacted our law firm to advise him on his legal options, as Jonathan did not understand the inter-play between Longshore workers compensation, Jones Act claims, and Third Party Maritime claims. After reading the free maritime books we gave him, Jonathan hired us.
We evaluated Jonathan's situation, and concluded Jonathan had important and valuable legal rights that he was not obtaining through the Longshore system (and nobody volunteered to tell him this information before he came to us). We filed an offshore rig injury lawsuit on behalf of Jonathan in Harris County, Texas against Global, Ensco and Apache. Harris County is a proper place for Jonathan's claim because Ensco and Apache have major operations here in Houston, Texas.
The claims against Global were based on the Jones Act. The claims against Ensco and Apache were based on third party maritime law.
All of the companies hired lawyers and they tried to move the case out of Houston and in to Louisiana (for various reasons this would benefit the companies). Our lawyers fought this through research and legal filings. We won, and the Houston Judge ordered that the case would remain in Houston.
The companies claimed Jonathan was not a Jones Act seaman, therefore he could not take advantage of that favorable law, based on the fact Jonathan was not permanently assigned to a fleet of vessels under common ownership or control. Therefore, they argued, Jonathan could only bring a 905b claim against the owner and operator of the jack up rig, Ensco and Apache (and no claim against Global). A 905b claim is much, much more difficult to win than a Jones Act claim, so we fought this issue on Jonathan's behalf.
We hired many experts in the case to support Jonathan's claims: maritime liability expert, life care planner, vocational rehabilitation counselor, and economist. We took twelve depositions of company witnesses who worked on the rig. We established that the companies were aware, prior to Jonathan's injury, of a leak in the ceiling that caused water to periodically accumulate on the floor.
We proved Jonathan's injury claims by obtaining and presenting all of his medical bills and lost wage records.
The company attorneys argued their clients were not liable, that Jonathan's injuries were based on his 2005 motorcyle injury which required left knee surgery, and that Jonathan could return to work offshore. The companies relied heavily on evidence that Jonathan saw a doctor for his left knee a month prior to this incident, and that Jonathan re-filled a prescription for Hydrocodone for left knee pain three days before this incident.
We mediated the case and obtained a settlement of $600,000. Attorney fees are $240,000 and case expenses are $25,000. Jonathan will not have to pay back any part of the Longshore lien (payments made to Jonathan and to his doctors), which is approximately $100,000, based on an 8(i) and/or 33(g) resolution that our law firm negotiated.
Dispatcher Injured On Ensco Jack Up Rig; Knee Injury; Surgical
$600,000 Settlement; attorneys' fees were $240,000 and expenses were $25,000.