Permanently Moored Casino Riverboat Not A Vessel In Navigation For Jones Act Purposes
JOHN HOWARD, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. SOUTHERNILLINOIS RIVERBOAT CASINO CRUISES, INC., doing business as PLAYERS ISLANDCASINO, Defendant, Third-Party Plaintiff-Appellant, v. TRIANGLE ENTERPRISES,INC., doing business as TRIANGLE INSULATION AND SHEET METAL COMPANY, Third-PartyDefendant-Appellant.
Nos. 02-3818 & 02-3819
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT
364 F.3d 854; 2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 6919
Defendant casino owner and third party defendant insulation company appealed an order from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, which denied their motions for summary judgment on plaintiff workers’ negligence action under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C.S. app. § 688 (a), and which certified for interlocutory review the question of whether the Act applied to workers on a permanently moored riverboat casino.
Workers on a permanently moored riverboat casino were exposed to chemicals in the course of their employment and sued the owner under the Act. The owner filed a third party claim against the company, and both defendants filed motions for summary judgment, which were denied. On interlocutory review, the court held although the riverboat was capable of cruising on the river, was licensed as a passenger vessel with the U.S. Coast Guard, and left its moorings once a year for Coast Guard mandated propulsion tests, the riverboat did not in fact transport passengers, was connected to land-based utilities, and maintained its status as vessel merely to comply with state gambling regulations. Therefore, using a pragmatic approach, the court held that the riverboat was not a vessel in navigation and, consequently, the workers were not seamen under the Act and could not bring claims under the Act.
The court reversed the order and remanded the case with instructions to enter judgment in favor of defendant and third party defendant.
Collateral Source Rule Does Not Apply Where Insurance Company Has The Right To Subrogate Even If Subrogation Not Actually Claimed
DAFYDD HOFFMAN, ET AL., Plaintiffs, ANDREW MARIANO,Plaintiff – Appellant, v. HALCOT SHIPPING CORP., ET AL., Defendants, HALCOTSHIPPING CORP.; ZODIAC MARITIME AGENCIES, LTD., Defendants-Appellees.
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
93 Fed. Appx. 658; 2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 6241
April 1, 2004, Filed
Appellant boat operator sued appellee shipping company to recover for injuries sustained in an accident involving the shipping company’s oceangoing tanker. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana found the shipping company at fault, but reduced the award in half due to the employer’s fault and denied recovery of medical expenses that were paid under the employer’s health plan. The boat operator sought review.
At the time of the incident only one other boat operator and one deck hand were working for the employer’s water taxi service. The boat operator was injured when he attempted to untie a vessel by himself in response to an emergency call. On appeal, the court reversed the 50 percent reduction of the award based on the employer’s fault. A vessel owner did not owe a duty to maintain a standby crew for all of its available vessels. However, the court upheld the district court’s refusal to permit the boat operator to recover medical expenses already paid by his employer’s insurer. Although the collateral source rule prohibited reduction of a tort recovery by the amount of such benefits, there was an exception where an insurer had the right to subrogate against the tortfeasor who injured the plaintiff. This exception applied even if the subrogated party did not appear to assert its subrogation rights. The shipping company introduced evidence of the subrogation right by introducing the plan summary. Thus, the subrogation exception to the collateral source rule was properly applied to prevent the boat operator from recovering medical expenses paid by his employer’s insurer.
The court affirmed that part of the district court’s judgment denying the boat operator recovery of medical expenses paid by his employer’s insurer. The court reversed the district court’s judgment insofar as it reduced the boat operator’s recovery based on his employer’s fault. The court vacated this part of the judgment and remanded the case for entry of judgment reflecting this change.
Where U.S. Defendant Joined In Action Against Greek Shipping Company U.S. Law Would Be Applied To Avoid Unworkable Application Of Two Different Maritime Laws
STAVROS ANDROUTSAKOS, as Guardian Ad Litem for EliasAndroutsakos, an incapacitated person, Plaintiff, vs. M/V PSARA, her engines,tackle, apparel and equipment, CHEVRON USA, INC., a Pennsylvania Corporation,PSARA SHIPPING CORPORATION, a Liberian Corporation, Defendants.
Case No. 02-1173-KI
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF OREGON
2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8214
April 29, 2004, Decided
Defendant, a Liberian shipping company, filed a motion for application of Greek law and for dismissal of plaintiff’s tort action. Plaintiff moved for application of U.S. law.
Plaintiff, a Greek citizen, sustained injuries after he was struck in the head by a mooring line on the deck of a ship owned by the company. The ship was docked at a U.S. port. The ship sailed under the flag of Greece and the company’s board of directors was made up of Greek citizens. Plaintiff, through his guardian, brought a tort action against the company and defendant domestic corporation. In granting plaintiff’s motion to apply U.S. law, the court held that the presence of the domestic corporation in the action as an alleged joint tortfeasor had to be considered in applying the appropriate factors to the choice of law analysis. The court held that the location of the injury pointed toward the application of U.S. law and was an important consideration. However, the court also held that the law of the flag and the domicile of plaintiff indisputably pointed to the application of Greek law. The court concluded that, due to the presence of the domestic corporation, to which there was no real argument that U.S. law applied, applying two different maritime laws would have been unworkable.
The court denied the company’s motion for application of Greek law and for dismissal. The court granted the guardian’s motion for application of U.S. law.