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Workers' Compensation

Texas: Issue of Jones Act “Vessel” Status is Fact-Intensive

Noting that whether a vessel is or is not “in navigation” for Jones Act purposes is a fact-intensive question normally for the jury, and not the court, to decide, a Texas court reversed a state trial court’s decision granting summary judgment to the defendant in a Jones Act case filed by a welder working on the Artic Challenger,The defendant contended the welder was not a Jones Act seaman because the Artic Challengerwas not a vessel “in navigation” when the welder was injured and that the welder’s work as a shore-based welder did not contribute to the Arctic Challenger’s mission. Observing that the Arctic Challengerhad been on four sea trials before the welder’s injury and that there was evidence that it was in compliance with pertinent regulations, the appellate court said that defendant had not shown, as a matter of law, that it was not a Jones Act “vessel.” There was other evidence that at the time of the injury, the “vessel” was in the hands of its end user and operator and was fully functional and suitable for deployment for its intended purpose on the Outer Continental Shelf. Summary judgment was not appropriate.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Partin v. Superior Energy Servs., 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 6334(Aug. 14, 2018)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 146.02.

Source:Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law