Manuel v. P.A.W. Drilling & Well Service, Inc

[B]Date Decided[/B]: Mar 2nd, 1998
[B]Decided By[/B]: U.S. Court Of Appeals, Fifth Circuit (federal)
[B]Court[/B]: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
[B]Citation[/B]: Manuel v. P.A.W. Drilling & Well Service, Inc., 135 F.3d 344, 1998 AMC 1390 (5th Cir. 1998)
Arbie Manuel began working as a floorhand aboard the workover rig, Rig 3, for P.A.W. Drilling & Well Service, Inc. in June of 1995. Rig 3 was bolted on top of a barge for over two years and carried to different worksites by tugboats because the rig had no motor power of its own. The barge itself did not contain any steering mechanisms, navigational devices, bilge pumps, or crew quarters, except for a small shed in which the crew changed clothes. The crew that worked aboard Rig 3 would be transported to the rig each day by a small boat and each evening the boat would return the men to land where they would sleep in lodgings provided by P.A.W. Manuel worked for P.A. W. for two months before suffering an injury when he and a fellow worker attempted to pick up a joint of tubing that had fallen from the barge.

He filed suit against P.A.W. and its insurer under the Jones Act and the general maritime law. Both parties filed motions for summary judgment pertaining to Manuel’s status as a seaman. The court ruled in favor of P.A.W and dismissed Manuel’s claims because he did not qualify as a seaman because Rig 3 did not qualify as a vessel in navigation. Manual filed a timely appeal. Read More…