Plaintiff who alleged he suffered an emotional breakdown as a result of the stress of working as a marine captain was not a seaman within meaning of Jones Act, 46 U.S.C.S. § 30104, because plaintiff spent almost all of his time assigned to land-based construction tasks and plaintiff was at home and on leave from work at time of his breakdown.
KENNETH F. ZEGHIBE v. CONOCOPHILLIPS COMPANY
CIVIL ACTION NO. 09-11283-RGS
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65524
June 21, 2011, Filed
Alleging that he suffered an emotional breakdown as a result of the stress of working as a marine captain, plaintiff employee asserted personal injury claims against defendant employer. The court held that plaintiff was not a seaman under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C.S. § 30104, because plaintiff spent almost all of his time assigned to land-based construction tasks and plaintiff was at home and on leave from work at the time of his breakdown. 28 U.S.C.S. § 1333(1) did not provide the court with jurisdiction over the maritime tort claims because plaintiff was at home when his breakdown occurred.
The district court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment finding that Plaintiff was not a seamen under the Jones Act.
Where an employee traveled on a vessel to an offshore platform and was injured while disassembling a portable crane on the platform, he could not demonstrate seaman status under the Jones Act, because, inter alia, he was merely a passenger on the vessel, and he could not claim seaman status simply because he was injured early in his tenure.
ROBERT TEAVER, Plaintiff – Appellant v. SEATRAX OF LOUISIANA, INCORPORATED, Defendant – Appellee
No. 11-30084 Summary Calendar
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 13020
June 23, 2011, Filed
Plaintiff employee sued defendants, an employer and an offshore platform owner, alleging a Jones Act claim against the employer and a claim of negligence under Louisiana state law against the platform owner. The platform owner removed the suit to federal court. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana denied the employee’s motion to remand and granted summary judgment in favor of the employer. The employee appealed.
The employer hired the employee as a crane operator/installer. The employee was charged with disassembling a portable crane on an offshore platform. The employee traveled on a vessel to the platform and operated a crane on the platform. Less than 24 hours into his employment, the employee fell from a gang box. The appellate court determined that the district court did not err in refusing to remand the case to state court or in granting summary judgment to the employer because there was no reasonable possibility that the employee could demonstrate seaman status under the Jones Act since (1) the vessel provided transportation and lodging services for the employees and their equipment, and they were merely passengers on the vessel, (2) the employee’s duties in no way contributed to the function of the vessel or to the accomplishment of its mission, and his connection to the vessel was “transitory and fortuitous,” (3) he did not contribute to the vessel’s transportation mission or work in service to the vessel simply because he was to participate in the disassembly and loading of the crane, and (4) he could not claim seaman status simply because he was injured early in his tenure.
The appellate court affirmed the judgment of the district court.