Duet v. Falgout Offshore, LLC

[B]Date Decided[/B]: May 5th, 2010
[B]Decided By[/B]: Louisiana Eastern District Court (federal)
[B]Court[/B]: E.D. Louisiana
[B]Citation[/B]: Duet v. Falgout Offshore, LLC, 2010 WL 1817766 (E.D. LA 2010)
Glenn Duet (Duet) was a captain on a supply boat, the M/V Minnie Falgout. He was employed by Falgout Offshore, LLC (Falgout) and Minnie Falgout, LLC (Minnie). While working aboard the vessel, Duet slipped and fell on a slippery petroleum-based substance on the deck and sustained injuries; the third time Duet has sustained injuries aboard the M/V Minnie Falgout this way. When Duet was injured, his vessel was alongside an offshore platform owned by Nabors Offshore Corp., a third-party defendant.

Duet filed suit against the defendants alleging that his injuries were the result of negligence for failing to furnish a safe workplace. He later amended his original complaint so that he could characterize his claim as one in admiralty under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(h) seeking monetary damages, maintenance and cure, attorney fees, and compensatory damages. In response to the plaintiff’s claims, Falgout filed an answer and counter-claim against Duet. Also, Falgout filed a third-party complaint against Nabors.

Never in Duet’s amended complaint and Falgout’s counter-claim, answer, or third-party claim did either party request a jury trial. Third-party defendant Nabors, however, demanded a trial by jury on all issues in its answers to the third-party complaint and the amended complaint. Duet filed a motion to strike the jury trial demand alleging that the matter is purely maritime, no diversity of jurisdiction exists, and that he pled the matter as proceeding under Rule 9(h). In response, Nabors argues that Duet’s claims are governed by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). While Duet’s injuries occurred on the vessel, Nabors argues that it was a combination of vessel and platform-activities that caused his injuries thus OCSLA governs and therefore Nabors is entitled to make its jury demand. Read More…