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Michael J. O'Brien

Michael O'Brien is a partner and trial attorney in the New Orleans office of Kean Miller. A native of New Orleans, he practices in the admiralty and maritime practice group. He has extensive experience in a wide variety of admiralty issues, including Jones Act and personal injury defense, maritime litigation, oil and gas exploration, drilling accidents, well blowouts, cargo damage, ship collisions, ship allisions, vessel groundings, lift boat and jack-up rig accidents, vessel mortgage filings, product liability, redhibition, as well as premises liability, construction defect litigation and appeals.

Michael was named as one of 2017's Top 50 lawyers in the Greater New Orleans area and selected as a 2017 Leadership in Law recipient by New Orleans CityBusiness magazine.

Michael also is a frequent contributor to Kean Miller's Louisiana Law Blog and quarterly Maritime and Energy E-Bulletin. He has presented on the topics of ethics and professionalism to attorneys, engineers, and claims managers in Louisiana and Texas.

Representative Experience
  • Representation of out of state businesses in Louisiana state and federal discovery disputes
  • Representation of oil companies and drilling companies in dispute over contracts with service companies and oil companies, including Master Service Agreements
  • Representation of various oil companies in claims involving OPA 90 regulations and governmental investigations
  • Representation of manufacturers involved in product liability
  • Successfully defended oil/gas platform owner in litigation involving helicopter crash in the Gulf of Mexico. Obtained a zero liability defense verdict for the client.
  • Obtained summary judgment dismissal of claims against offshore pipeline owner against allegations of liability in maritime personal injury suit
  • Experience in negotiating, drafting, and reviewing Master Service Agreements and other vendor contracts related to the oil field, maritime environment, and construction industry and represented onshore and offshore companies in demands for contractual defense and indemnity
  • Represented companies in disputes regarding electronically stored information
  • Representation of offshore oil and gas platform owners and operators in matters involving helicopter crashes
  • Representation of various oil companies in proceedings resulting from pipelines being ruptured by vessels
  • Representation of Louisiana-based towboat operators and barge owners in defense of property damage claims and personal injury claims under the Jones Act and the General Maritime Law
  • Representation of a Louisiana-base energy company in defense of claims arising from the collapse of a bridge
  • 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 vessel allisions, personnel basket transfers and other issues, including analysis of defense and indemnity issues under relevant contracts
  • Representation of an offshore drilling company in defense of personal injury claims involving traumatic brain injuries
  • Representation of commercial shipping lines in defense of personal injury claims under the Jones Act and General Maritime Law
  • Representation of marine and energy companies involving catastrophes resulting from a rupture of pipelines and explosions
  • Representation of contractors and government entities in matters involving statutory immunity as a result of actions taken after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
  • Representation of marine and energy companies in BSEE investigations and hearings
  • Representation of various drilling companies and oil companies in lawsuits filed by offshore workers based on the Jones Act, General Maritime Law, Louisiana and Texas state law and the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA)
  • Representation of shipbuilding clients in class action lawsuits filed by former employees alleging benzene exposure and Jones Act issues
  • Representation of drilling companies and energy companies in claims filed by employees for sexual harassment, racial and sexual discrimination
  • Representation of sub-contractors in both residential and commercial construction defect litigation
  • Revised and edited accident investigation forms and safety manuals for energy companies and oil exploration companies

Michael earned his B.A. in Political Science from The Iowa State University of Science and Technology in 1998. He attended Iowa State on a NCAA football scholarship. Michael earned his J.D. in 2001 from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law where he received the Joseph Rault Award for excellence in Admiralty and Maritime Law.

  • Admitted, Louisiana, 2001; United States District Courts for the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of Louisiana; United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • New Orleans, Louisiana State, Federal and American Bar Associations; Maritime Law Association; Mariner's Club for the Port of New Orleans; Offshore Marine Services Association
Community Service
  • Advisory Board Member, JUMA Ventures New Orleans
  • Secretary/Treasurer, Greater New Orleans Football Officials Association
Articles, Publications and Presentations