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  • U.S. Supreme Court Holds Transportation Workers Exempt from Arbitration By: R. Chauvin Kean Generally, a contract is the law between parties, which has long been the position of the U.S. Supreme Court. However, as most well know, this principle is not without limitation. On January 15, 2019, in New Prime v. Oliveira, the Court unanimously held that disputes concerning contracts of employment involving transportation... Continue Reading... ....
  • UPDATE: Supreme Court grants writs in Dutra v. Batterton By: Tod J. Everage Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the Writ of Certiorari in the Dutra v. Batterton case, setting the stage for a resolution of the Circuit Split between the US Fifth and Ninth Circuits on whether punitive damages are available to a seaman on an unseaworthiness claim. A more thorough review... Continue Reading... ....
  • U.S. 5th Circuit Defines “Operating” Under OPA By Amanda Howard Lowe In a decision of first impression interpreting the meaning of “operating” under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (“OPA,” 33 U.S.C. §§2701 et seq.), the U.S. Fifth Circuit held the owner and operator of a tugboat liable as the “responsible party” for a spill emanating from a tank barge in its... Continue Reading... ....
  • Be Careful How You Word Your Contracts and Complaints: 5th Circuit Silences “Prevailing Party” Fee Provision in JOA Dispute By Tod J. Everage The modern day contract is a direct result of trial and error. Generally speaking, transactional lawyers try to negotiate “bulletproof” contracts providing exactly what their client wants or needs. Despite their best efforts, litigators in later disputes try their level best to find the “errors” in those contracts that could benefit... Continue Reading... ....
  • Understanding Similarities and Differences in Four Oilfield Anti-Indemnity Acts By Zoe Vermeulen Indemnity provisions are widely used in the energy industry as a method of contractually apportioning liability between parties.  These provisions are a staple in Master Service Agreements and can be unilateral or mutual.  Often, agreements contain knock-for-knock provisions where each party assumes responsibility for claims made by its own employees or subcontractors. ... Continue Reading... ....
  • Without The Underlying Claim Being Fully Adjudicated, U.S. Fifth Circuit Denies Jurisdiction on Question of Limitation of Liability   By Anjali Gillette On August 29, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit dismissed an appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction involving the issue of whether a vessel’s primary and excess insurers may limit their liabilities to the same extent available to the vessel. See SCF Waxler Marine, L.L.C. v. ARIS... Continue Reading... ....
  • International Trade Update: Is NAFTA Being Revised or Replaced? By Stephen C. Hanemann “A big day for trade!” was President Donald Trump’s enthusiastic announcement concerning the bilateral negotiations recently reached between the United States and Mexico on August 27, 2018, merely three months away from the North American Free Trade Agreement’s 25th birthday. While ratified by the Legislatures of Canada, Mexico, and the United... Continue Reading... ....
  • Insurance Policy’s “No Claims Bonus” Can Be a Recoverable Damage By Michael J. O’Brien A “no claims bonus” is an attractive carrot that insurers can write into a policy to attract more customers. Indeed, the recovery of a “no claims bonus” can result in a substantial payoff for an insured. Given the maxim: “accidents happen”, the question arises, can the “no claims bonus” be recovered... Continue Reading... ....
  • U.S. Fifth Circuit’s New Doiron Test Finds P&A Contract to be Maritime, but What if the Work Occurred on the OCS? By Tod J. Everage Contractual indemnities are important and valuable in the oil patch. When they are enforceable, they have the potential to end litigation completely or at least the financial burden for a particularly well-positioned indemnitee. But, with “anti-indemnity” statutes in play in several jurisdictions (including Louisiana), the enforceability of these indemnity provisions rely... Continue Reading... ....
  • How Much is Too Much? The Louisiana Supreme Court Holds that a Punitive Damage Award Ratio of 184:1 is Excessive By Michael J. O’Brien Punitive damages are designed to punish a tortfeasor. They are available as a remedy in general maritime actions where a tortfeasor’s intentional or wanton and reckless conduct amounted to a conscious disregard for the rights of others. The punitive damage standard requires a much higher degree of fault than simple negligence.... Continue Reading... ....