In Sanchez v. Smart Fabricators of Texas, L.L.C., the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals articulated three additional inquiries that a court should consider when determining whether an employee satisfies the requirements of seaman status. The test established by the U.S. Supreme Court requires that a seaman have an employment-related connection to a vessel that is substantial in terms of both duration and nature. With respect to the nature component of this two-prong test, the Fifth Circuit held in Sanchez that courts should also consider (i) whether the worker owes an allegiance to the vessel rather than simply to a shore-based employer, (ii) whether the work is sea-based or involves seagoing activity, and (iii) whether the worker’s assignment involves a discrete task or involves sailing and/or moving with the vessel from location to location. Although the Fifth Circuit sought to provide clarity and consistency with these additional inquiries, questions remain as to how the lower courts will apply this new rule when determining seaman status. This presentation will explore the impact of the Sanchez decision on the lower courts and practitioners, including whether this new test will change the nature of Jones Act litigation from both a plaintiff and defense perspective.
12:15 PM - 1:00 PM
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Bench Panel on Recent Developments in Maritime Personal Injury Law
A panel of learned judges discuss the most recent developments in maritime personal injury law including: Jurisdiction and Removal, Vessel Status, Seaman Status, Maintenance and Cure Jones Act Liability, Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, General Maritime Law, Punitive Damages, Indemnity, and Insurance.
A discussion of some of the finer points of handling a maritime case from the plaintiff and defense, including: investigation, preservation of evidence, retention of experts, witnesses, relevant authorities, medical treatment, employer benefits, status of worker, timing of suit, response to claim, limitation action, maintenance and cure, lawsuit resolution, releases, and public relations.