Jones Act and General Maritime Torts
Navigating maritime tort suits is perhaps one of the most treacherous areas of practice for lawyers. When you are injured at sea or in inland navigable waterways, depending on the circumstances, state law, federal statutory law (like the Jones Act, the “Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act” (LHWCA), the “Death on the High Seas Act” (DOHSA), the “Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act” (OCSLA), to name a few), and the “General Maritime Law” (a creature of federal common law) all can come into play.
Generally speaking, maritime workers will fall into one of two categories: (1) the master or member of the crew of a “vessel” in navigation, which implicates the Jones Act; or (2) offshore platform or dockside worker, which implicates the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act. Both of these statutory schemes were designed to protect maritime workers’ rights; however, both have differing standards, implications and pitfalls for the unwary plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney. Moreover, general maritime principles apply to lawsuits of passengers of vessels in navigation as well, not just maritime workers. As with Jones Act or LHWCA lawsuits, these passenger lawsuits require a skilled and experienced maritime lawyer, who is familiar with the peculiar standards of law that apply in the maritime realm.
Our firm brings such experience and skill to the table. In particular, our newest addition, Marc J. Mandich, practiced for six years in the maritime defense bar in one of the largest port cities in the country, New Orleans, Louisiana. He has been involved in countless state and federal maritime tort and maritime contract lawsuits and helped shape maritime legal standards in the most influential federal maritime jurisdiction in the country, the United States Fifth Circuit, including in the areas of contractual “defense and indemnity,” federal maritime “removal jurisdiction,” and the right to a jury trial in federal “admiralty” court.