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Supreme Court of the United States
October 3, 1984, Argued ; March 18, 1985, Decided
[*415] [***409] [**1423] JUSTICE WHITE delivered the opinion of the Court.
] The Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA or Act), 44 Stat. 1424, as amended, 33 U. S. C. § 901 et seq., provides compensation for the death or disability of any person engaged in "maritime employment," § 902(3), if the disability or death results from an injury incurred upon the navigable waters of the United States or any adjoining pier or other area customarily used by an employer in loading, unloading, repairing, or building a vessel, § 903(a). 2 Thus, a worker claiming under the Act must satisfy [*416] both a "status" and a "situs" test. The court below held that respondent Robert Gray, a welder working on a fixed offshore oil-drilling platform in state territorial waters, was entitled to benefits under the Act. We reverse for the reason that Gray was not engaged in maritime employment.
Respondent Gray worked for Herb's Welding, Inc., in the Bay [***410] Marchand oil and gas field off the Louisiana coast. Herb's Welding provided welding services to the owners of drilling platforms. The field was located partly in Louisiana territorial waters, i. e., within three miles of the shore, and partly on the Outer Continental Shelf. Gray ate and slept on a platform situated in Louisiana waters. He spent roughly three-quarters of his working time on platforms in state waters and the rest on platforms on the Outer Continental Shelf. He worked exclusively as a welder, building [**1424] and replacing pipelines and doing general maintenance work on the platforms.
On July 11, 1975, Gray was welding a gas flow line on a fixed platform 3 located in Louisiana waters. He burnt [*417] through the bottom of the line and an explosion occurred. Gray ran from the area, and in doing so hurt his knee. He sought benefits under the LHWCA for lost wages, disability, and medical expenses. 4 When petitioner United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co., the workers' compensation carrier for Herb's Welding, denied LHWCA benefits, Gray filed a complaint with the Department of Labor. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), relying on our decision in Rodrigue v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., 395 U.S. 352 (1969), ruled that because Gray's work was totally involved in the exploration for, and development and transmission of, oil and gas from submerged lands, it was not relevant to traditional maritime law and lacked any significant maritime connection. Gray therefore did not satisfy the LHWCA's status requirement.
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470 U.S. 414 *; 105 S. Ct. 1421 **; 84 L. Ed. 2d 406 ***; 1985 U.S. LEXIS 64 ****; 53 U.S.L.W. 4275; 1985 AMC 1700
HERB'S WELDING, INC., ET AL. v. GRAY ET AL.
Subsequent History: [****1] As Amended.
Prior History: CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT.
Disposition: 703 F.2d 176 and 711 F.2d 666, reversed and remanded.
maritime, coverage, platforms, rig, offshore, situs, navigable waters, admiralty, Lands Act, occupations, drilling, unloading, Outer, Shelf, loading, ship, adjoining, oil, marine, locality, legislative history, boats, maritime law, occurring, benefits, purposes, welding, workers' compensation, checkered, decisions
Admiralty & Maritime Law, Maritime Workers' Claims, Longshore & Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, Workers' Compensation & SSDI, Longshore & Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, Coverage & Definitions, Situs Requirement, Maritime Personal Injuries, General Overview, Compensability, Awards, Benefits, Death & Survival Benefits, Disability Benefits, Status Requirement, Business & Corporate Compliance, Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, Workers' Compensation & SSDI, Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, Energy & Utilities Law, Federal Oil & Gas Leases, Outer Continental Shelf Leases, Maritime Death Actions, Death on the High Seas Act, Coverage, Practice & Procedure, Jurisdiction, Energy & Utilities Law, Discovery, Exploration & Recovery, Civil Procedure, Justiciability, Political Questions