Clayton Hogue v. Pride Offshore Inc

[B]Case Name: [/B][I]Clayton Hogue v. Pride Offshore, Inc.
[/I][B]Date Decided: [/B]August 27, 2009
[B]Court: [/B]U.S.D.C. Eastern District of Louisiana
[B]Judge: [/B]Court Barbier
[B]Citation: [/B]2009 WL 2762820 (E.D.La.)[B]Background:
[/B]Plaintiff, Clayton Hogue (“Hogue”), filed this action against defendant, Pride Offshore (“Pride”), under the Jones Act alleging he suffered a shoulder injury while employed by Pride. Hogue filed this action under diversity jursidction.

After filing his initial complaint, Hogue filed a first supplemental and amended complaint deleting his reference to diversity jurisdiction and stated the court’s jurisdiction fell under Jones Act, general maritime law, and Admiralty.

Hogue designated the matter as a non-jury trial and removed the jury trial request. Pride, in their answer, asserted a demand for jury trial but did not address Hogue’s designation of the matter as a non-jury trial.

The action was currently set before a jury trial but the court asked, at a pre-trial conference, both parties submit a brief in support of their positions whether this case should proceed before a jury.

[/B]Did this Court find that this action shall be tried in front of a jury?

[/B]Hogue argued that Pride did not have a right to trial by jury because he properly pled Admiralty jurisdiction, and when Pride filed its answer, no right to trial existed.

Pride countered claimed a constitutional right to jury because the [I]original complaint [/I]in the matter was filed before diversity jurisdiction and that Hogue may not deprive them of this right unless the requirements of FRCP 39 are met.

This Court considered whether Hogue could amend his complaint to request that the matter proceed as a non-jury trial.

This Court ultimately found, that because Hogue filed his amended complaint, with no jury demand, prior to Pride’s answer then Hogue had made a clear pleading of an admiralty claim.

Accordingly, this Court ordered this action proceed without a jury as pleaded by the plaintiff.

This area of law, whether a subsequently pleaded amended complaint, by the plaintiff,* could* proceed without a jury although a jury had been demanded in the original complaint. This Court found in favor of the plaintiff because the amended complaint, taking away the jury trial and diversity jurisdiction claim. [/B]

[B]Steve Gordon [/B]