Admiralty and Maritime

Kean Miller brings more than 200 years of combined experience to the energy, shipping and transportation industry in Louisiana.  We regularly represent clients in  litigation involving marine insurance, tugs and towage, barges, drilling rigs, and offshore oil & gas exploration. Our offices are located in all major port cities throughout Louisiana, namely New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Lake Charles.

Our Admiralty and Maritime team represents clients in a variety of disputes involving the Jones Act, personal injury claims,  pipeline spills, drilling rig accidents, well blowouts, cargo loss and damage, ship and barge collisions, allisions, vessel groundings, lift boat and jack-up rig accidents, dock damage matters, vessel liens, and sunken barges.  We also represent clients in business transactions involving ships, vessel mortgages and financings of oil and gas exploration equipment.  

We provide proactive advice to energy industry clients regarding activities related to the “oil patch” including the exploration, development, production and transportation of oil and gas. We represent numerous clients in “blue water” and “brown water” matters throughout the Gulf Coast region. Multiple members of our Admiralty and Maritime team are involved in the leadership of the Maritime Law Association, the Greater New Orleans Barge Fleeting Association, the Mariners Club Port of New Orleans, and the maritime and admiralty sections of the Louisiana State and American Bar Associations.

Kean Miller represents clients before all state and federal courts, governmental regulatory and administrative bodies, and in complex litigation. We serve as counsel to local, national and international oil and gas producers, vessel owners and operators, shipyards, drilling contractors, service companies, brokers, and underwriters.

Representative Experience:
  • Representation of a global energy producer in a jury trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The plaintiff, a contracted catering hand, was assigned to work on a spar platform in the Gulf of Mexico. The plaintiff claimed that our client was negligent under a premises liability theory as its equipment was allegedly not working.  The Kean Miller trial team claimed that the catering hand did not need to use the equipment to safely do his job. The jury found that our client was not negligent and awarded no damages. The court denied our client’s Motion for Summary Judgment, but excluded the plaintiff’s safety expert under Daubert.
  • Successful defense of a global energy exploration and production company in the Eastern District of Louisiana in a 5-day jury trial. The plaintiff contended that he was injured while working as an independent contractor on our client’s spar production platform.  The trial included novel, borrowed-employer issues. The jury returned a verdict in favor of our client finding that it was the borrowed employer of the plaintiff. The jury was not required to address the issues of liability and damages once it found that the client was the plaintiff's borrowed employer.
  • Representation of a global offshore engineering company in complex contract and personal injury litigation related to its operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Representation of a pipeline company for the destruction of an offshore oil and gas platform with multiple deaths and personal injuries.
  • Representation of shipbuilding clients in class action lawsuits filed by former employees alleging asbestos exposure and Jones Act issues.
  • Representation of various drilling contractors and energy companies in EEOC claims filed by employees for sexual harassment, racial and sexual discrimination.
  • Representation of the second largest natural gas producer in the United States in a matter arising from blowout of one of its land wells in Louisiana, including successful prosecution of breach of contract and gross negligence claims against the wellhead contractor.
  • Representation of Louisiana-based towboat operators and barge owners in defense of property damage and personal injury claims under the Jones Act and the General Maritime Law.
  • Representation of offshore drilling manufacturers in numerous lawsuits evolving from the collapse of a mobile offshore drilling unit during a hurricane.
  • Representation of various energy companies in well blow-outs and claims arising from catastrophes, including contract disputes, personal injury and death claims, environmental issues, and property damage.
  • Representation of offshore oil and gas platform owners and operators in defense of personal injury claims and in prosecution of property damage claims associated with well blowouts, vessel allisions, personnel basket transfers and other issues, including analysis, and litigation of defense and indemnity contractual issues.
  • Representation of a large French chemical, agri-chemical and pharmaceutical producer seeking to recover damages from a commercial barge towing company involved in a collision with an acid loading dock on the Mississippi River.
  • Representation of a major fertilizer producer in maritime tort litigation involving an accident aboard a barge on the Mississippi River and in a resulting personal injury suits.
  • Representation of an energy company’s insurer in litigation and governmental proceedings resulting from destruction of a platform that was struck by a vessel, including issues surrounding a massive oil spill.
  • Representation of an oil company in a dispute with a co-venturer over a multi-million dollar contract involving a drilling project on the North Slope of Alaska.
  • Representation of various vessel owners, oil companies, drilling contractors and service contractors in litigation concerning disputes over contracts involving Master Service Agreements.
  • Representation of offshore drilling company in its $45 million acquisition of nearly a dozen offshore drilling units, including coordination of foreign and domestic vessel registry, and application and procurement of various operating licenses, permits, and documentation. This representation included forming a corporate ownership entity and other critical business matters.
  • Representation vessel owners, marine and energy companies in U.S. Coast Guard, NTSB-MMS and OSHA investigations and hearings.
  • Representation of platform owners in personal injury actions arising from Outer  Continental Shelf operations.
  • Defense of Jones Act vessel owners in matters filed by seaman involving benzene, asbestos, silicosis, etc.
  • Representation of various vessel owners and oil companies in claims involving OPA 90 regulations and governmental investigations.
  • Representation of a large marine surveyor in a Death on the High Seas Act claim involving a vessel that sank in the South China Sea.
  • Representation of a major forest products company in a claim under the Carriage of Goods by the Sea Act.
  • Representation of claims against petrochemical companies and vessel owners arising under general Maritime law and involving exposure to benzene being transported by various vessels.  
  • Representation of a chemical manufacturer in a 905(b) action involving an accident on loading facilities.
  • Representation of various oil companies in litigation and governmental proceedings resulting from pipelines being ruptured by vessels, including all issues surrounding multi-million dollar oil spill clean-ups.
  • Representation of numerous vessel owners, marine and energy companies involving significant catastrophes resulting from a rupture of pipelines and explosions.
  • Representation of a pipeline owner in litigation arising from an oil spill in state territorial waters.
  • Drafting of Master Service Agreements and drilling contracts.
  • Preparation of bareboat, time, fully found and voyage charters.
Representative Clients:
  • Alexander & Ryan
  • Aspect Energy, LLC
  • Atwood Oceanics, Inc.
  • Bayou Fleet, Inc.
  • Chesapeake Energy Corporation
  • CP Ships
  • Eckstein Marine Service, L.L.C.
  • Energy Partners, Ltd.
  • Energy XXI
  • ENI Petroleum Company, Inc.
  • EOG Resources, Inc.
  • Fairways Offshore Exploration, Inc.
  • Galiano Tugs, Inc.
  • Greystar Corporation
  • Hilcorp Energy Company
  • Hunt Oil Company
  • Hunt Petroleum Corporation
  • Intrepid Shipping
  • LBC Baton Rouge, L.L.C.
  • Marine Transport Corporation (a division of Crowley Marine)
  • Murphy Exploration and Production Co., Inc.
  • Murphy Oil USA (and its predecessor, Odeco)
  • Newfield Exploration Company
  • Nippon Oil Exploration USA Limited
  • Noble Drilling Corporation
  • Northbank Towing Corp.
  • Oceaneering International, Inc.
  • Offshore Specialty Fabricators, Inc.
  • Pride International
  • Schlumberger, Ltd.
  • Seahawk Drilling
  • Spinnaker Exploration Company, LLC
  • Superior Energy Services, Inc.
  • Swift Energy Company
  • Transco - The Williams Companies
  • Workstrings, LLC
Areas of Expertise:
  • Admiralty
  • Allisions, Collisions and Groundings
  • Arbitration
  • Arrest and Attachment
  • Cargo Claims and Losses
  • Charter Parties
  • Class Actions
  • Construction Agreements
  • Contract Disputes
  • Death on the High Seas Act
  • Drilling Contracts
  • Explosions and Fires
  • Financing Agreements
  • General Average
  • Governmental Affairs
  • Insurance Interpretation
  • Jones Act
  • Letters of Credit
  • LHWCA Claims
  • Limitation of Liability
  • Marine and Energy Insurance Coverage
  • Marine Insurance
  • Maritime Environmental Law
  • Maritime Liens and Mortgages
  • Maritime Toxic Torts
  • Master Service Agreements
  • Mediation
  • Oil and Gas Well Blowouts
  • Oil Pollution
  • Oil Well Liens
  • Oilfield Accidents
  • Operating Agreements
  • Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act
  • Personal Injury
  • Post 9/11 Security Issues
  • Preferred Ship Mortgages
  • Property Damage
  • Regulatory Issues
  • Sale and Finance
  • Salvage
  • Stowaways
  • Tugs and Towage