PERILS OF THE SEA LOSES SOME OF ITS LUSTER

On March 10, 2014, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a landmark opinion, Naquin v Elevating Boats, L.L.C., 744 F.3d 927 (5th Cir. 2014), further qualifying the “perils of the sea” seaman status requirement where it found a vessel repair supervisor to be a seaman even though he was rarely required to spend the night aboard a vessel, the vessels upon which he worked were ordinarily docked, and he almost never ventured beyond an immediate canal area or onto the open sea.

The Supreme Court had previously found that in order to be a seaman, one had to be exposed to the “perils of the sea” but that has been interpreted not to mean the risks and perils of the open sea but pretty much just on the water. This is a great opinion for seamen and confirms the expansive coverage of the Jones Act and the ability of maritime lawyers to defend the rights of those injured at sea.

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