The Jones Act and Indemnity Under an MSA and LOIA

Julius P. Hebert Jr. and Brian J. Marceaux - Friday, August 07, 2015

Plaintiff, an employer of Max Welders, was working as the borrowed employee of Wild Well, a subsidiary of Superior, when he sustained injuries while welding on an offshore platform. Plaintiff filed suit against all defendants under, inter alia, the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. 30104. Superior and Wild Well filed a cross-claim for indemnity from Max Welders pursuant to a Master Service Agreement (MSA) or, in the alternative, Vessel Boarding, Utilization, and Hold Harmless Agreement (VBA) between Superior and Max Welders. The court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants on the Jones Act claims because it found that plaintiff was not a Jones Act seaman. The court also affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to Max Welders on indemnity because 1) the MSA was void under Louisiana law and 2) the VBA did not apply to plaintiff’s work.

The Terrebonne Parish Courthouse History

Julius P. Hebert Jr. and Brian J. Marceaux - Monday, July 20, 2015

Check this video out for a brief legal history of the Terrebonne Parish Courthouse. 

Swayze v. State Farm Mutual Auto. Ins. Co. 2014-C-1899 - City Court Jurisdiction

Julius P. Hebert Jr. and Brian J. Marceaux - Friday, July 10, 2015

The issue this matter presented for the Louisiana Supreme Court's review centered on the “amount in dispute” which determined subject matter jurisdiction of a city court with a jurisdictional limit of $30,000. After filing suit, plaintiff settled with the tortfeasor and the tortfeasor’s liability insurer for $25,000, plaintiff’s claim against her uninsured motorist insurer was the only claim left. The issue to be determined was whether following the dismissal of the settling defendants, the city court had jurisdiction over plaintiff’s claim against her uninsured motorist insurer to the full extent of that court’s $30,000 jurisdictional limit. Put another way, the issue in this case was whether the settlement amount counted toward the city court’s jurisdictional limit. The Court held that it did not: because the $25,000 settlement amount no longer constituted part of the “amount in dispute,” the city court’s jurisdiction over the uninsured motorist claim was to the full extent of its $30,000 jurisdictional limit. Therefore, the appellate court’s decision was reversed, and the case was remanded to the court of appeal for further consideration.

Liability for Hearing Loss as a Result of Noise - Louisiana Supreme Court Addresses the Issue

Julius P. Hebert Jr. and Brian J. Marceaux - Tuesday, June 30, 2015

NO. 2013-C-2878 CONSOLIDATED WITH NO. 2013-C-2981 -  Arrant v. Graphic Packaging International, Inc.

This case presented a res nova issue for the Louisiana Supreme Court: whether gradual noise induced hearing loss caused by occupational exposure to hazardous noise levels was a personal injury by accident or an occupational disease, or both, under the Louisiana Workers' Compensation Act ("LWCA"), thereby entitling the defendant employer to immunity from suits in tort under the exclusivity provisions of the LWCA. Interpreting the Act and mindful of the clear legislative purpose behind the workers' compensation scheme, the Louisiana Court found occupational noise-induced hearing loss fell squarely within the parameters of the LWCA, either the pre-1990 definition of “accident” or the post-1975 definition of “occupational disease.” As such, the Court concluded the defendants were entitled to immunity from suits in tort under the LWCA. Accordingly, the court of appeal properly reversed the judgment of the district court and dismissed the plaintiffs' claims.

Immunity and/or Limitation of Liability/Rights

Julius P. Hebert Jr. and Brian J. Marceaux - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

If a claim or lawsuit is brought against you, Louisiana law has numerous immunity statutes that either grant total immunity or limitation of liability. It is advisable that if there is a claim against you or you are sued, consult an attorney concerning whether you may be immune or have limited liability, whether it is personal injury, commercial, corporate, limited liability company, or otherwise.

By example, a property owner was not held liable for injuries to a person who was riding a lift that broke at the property owner’s camp. The court held there was no be liability because the property owner was entitled to Recreational Immunity.

If you have questions on your liability, please contact Hebert & Marceaux for an appointment.

This is for information only and not legal advice. An attorney should be consulted on a particular case or situation.

Commercial/Corporate/Limited Liability Company/Contracts/Litigation/Employer/ Employee/Insurance/Construction Leases/Agreements/Rights.

Julius P. Hebert Jr. and Brian J. Marceaux - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Businesses have a myriad and variety of legal issues and requirements. Typically, people are involved with corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, and sole proprietorships. Contractual and agreement issues frequently occur. Collection of debt is another common issue. Relationships and rights among partners, shareholders, directors, officers, members, managers, employers, employees, creditors, and third parties frequently arise. You may protect your business by well written legal documents such as articles of organization, by-laws, operating agreements, contracts, mortgages, leases, and security interests.

Did you know Louisiana has laws that may also protect your business rights such as the Oil Field Lien Act, Private Works Act, Public Works Lien Act, contract law, open accounts, unjust enrichment, unfair trade practices, lease laws, mortgages, security interests, etc.? Did you know an employer can prevent an employee from competing and soliciting against its business? Yes, if properly drafted, Louisiana law allows an employer and employee to agree that the employee will not compete against or solicitation his employer.

If you are a business, make sure you have appropriate insurance coverages. A consultation with Hebert and Marceaux, LLC can enlighten you and advise you on insurance risks that you need to discuss with your insurance agent.

At Hebert & Marceaux, LLC, we can help you with your legal business formation, legal consulting, and litigation. Our advice to businesses is to become legally proactive, which helps avoid litigation.

Call Hebert & Marceaux, LLC today to consult on your legal business needs, phone (985) 876 4324 for an appointment.

This is for information only and not legal advice. An attorney should be consulted on a particular case or situation.

Divorces/Family Law/Separation/Child Support/Child Custody/Community Property/Domestic Abuse/Rights

Julius P. Hebert Jr. and Brian J. Marceaux - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

In a divorce, these are the normal issues that occur:

Divorce (fault or non-fault), spousal support (alimony), child support, child custody, community property, and domestic abuse.

In 2014, the legislature passed a law that allows a lawsuit for domestic abuse (cause of action). General, special, and exemplary damages may be awarded upon proof that injuries resulted from the wanton and reckless acts from domestic abuse that result in serious bodily injury or severe emotional or mental distress injuries.

If you are in need of a divorce, please contact Hebert & Marceaux for an appointment by calling (985) 876 4324.

This is for information only and not legal advice. An attorney should be consulted on a particular case or situation.

Personal Injury/Automobile/Motor Vehicle/Maritime Vessel/Drilling Rig/Boats/Motorcycle/18 Wheeler – Wrecker and/or Accidents/Rights/Workers Compensation

Julius P. Hebert Jr. and Brian J. Marceaux - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

In a personal injury case, if you are injured, generally, three things must be proven in all cases:

  1. Liability (fault, negligence, unseaworthiness);
  2. If you can prove liability then you must prove that your injuries are caused and/or aggravated by that liability;
  3. The damages amounts that you are entitled to; and
  4. A fourth issue may be whether you are comparatively at fault. This is an issue that would be raised by the defendants where they claim you bear some or all of the fault for causing the accident.

Damages include, but are not limited to, property damage, loss of use/value of vehicle (auto), medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, physical pain and suffering, mental pain and suffering, disability, etc. You might also be entitled to mental anguish and emotional distress damages if you view an event causing an injury to another person or you come upon the scene of an event soon thereafter.

Seamen are entitled to maintenance and cure as an additional remedy. Land based employees are limited to workers’ compensations against employers except in limited situations. Workers’ Compensation is a non-fault scheme. An employee can have both a workers’ compensation claim and third party negligence claim, i.e., in an auto/truck wreck while you are in the course and scope of your employment.

If you are injured, call Hebert & Marceaux for an appointment at (985) 876-4324.

This is for information only and not legal advice. An attorney should be consulted on a particular case or situation.

Successions/Wills/Powers of Attorney/Living Wills/Elder Law/Rights

Julius P. Hebert Jr. and Brian J. Marceaux - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Under Louisiana law, a succession is the transmission of a deceased person’s property to others upon the death of that person. If one dies without a Will, the succession is known as “Intestate.” If one dies with a Will, the succession is known as “Testate.”

If one does not have a Will, Louisiana law provides who will inherit the deceased person’s property. In other words, the law determines how the deceased person’s property will be distributed. But if you want to distribute your property different from the law, you need a Will. A Will can be written where it allows the deceased person to decide how his/her property is going to be distributed. This is not without certain conditions.

Questions often arise about what occurs to property co-owned by a deceased person and his/her spouse, known as community property, as well as the deceased spouse’s separate property, if any. There is a law known as “usufruct” and it is a succession-related issue and an estate planning tool.

A Power of Attorney is a mandate of authority by a principal over the principal’s affairs to an agent. In other words, the agent has authority to act on the principal’s behalf.

Be careful with powers of attorney and who and what you authorize. When one gives a power of attorney, you are giving authority to another person known as the agent. Unless drafted with appropriate covenants, the power of attorney becomes effective immediately. To stop the immediate effectiveness Louisiana law allows a power of attorney to be set up conditionally. In turn, the power of attorney does not become effective until the Principal becomes incapable of managing his or her own affairs. Be careful to whom, for what, and how much authority you grant to an agent.

Confusion exists sometimes between a Will and a Living Will. A Living Will is different from a Will. A Living Will allows you to make pre-determined health care related decisions. It is different from a “Will” that gives your property to others.

What happens upon death? Upon death the law provides that a written succession must be opened for the deceased person (in the majority of cases). A succession is still necessary if one has a Will. If there is a Will, it must be presented to and accepted by the Court. The property then is distributed according to the Will. If there is no Will, it is distributed according to law. However, liabilities/debts and estate expenses are part of the succession. Some successions do not require administration while others do. An inventory or Sworn Detailed Descriptive List of the deceased person’s property and liabilities at time of death must be prepared. Louisiana does not have inheritance taxes. However, on estates over a certain amount, Federal estate taxes may be owed. Common succession terms are heir(s), legatee(s), intestate, testate, administrator, executor, probate, usufruct, donation, collection, reduction, forced heirship, estate taxes, and property.

The ultimate objective is to have the court render a written judgment and place the accepting heirs/legatees in possession and ownership of the deceased person’s property, subject to payment of debts and expenses.

At Hebert & Marceaux, you can consult us to plan your estate and/or to handle the deceased person’s succession. Common estate planning tools include powers of attorney, living Wills, Wills, or no Wills. If you have any questions on Successions, Wills, Estate Planning, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, or Living Wills, please contact Hebert & Marceaux for an appointment by calling (985) 876-4324.

This is for information only and not legal advice. An attorney should be consulted on a particular case or situation.