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Texas has adopted a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003
Plaintiff John Bradshaw alleged that on January 4, 1999, he was working as a Jones Act seaman aboard a vessel, which was docked at defendant dock owner's dock, when he sustained injuries in the course and scope of his employment. On September 15, 2000, plaintiff filed the present action, alleging that the injuries he sustained on January 4, 1999 occurred as a proximate result of the unsafe and unseaworthy condition of the vessel and its appurtenances. He also alleged that he was forced to climb on a piling or dolphin to leave the vessel at the time he was injured. Defendant dock owner moved for summary judgment, contending that the Texas two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims barred the plaintiff’s action.
Did the Texas two-year year statute of limitations for personal injury claims bar plaintiff’s action, thereby warranting the grant of defendant’s motion for summary judgment?
The court granted defendant dock owner's motion. The court found that maritime law did not create a duty on the part of defendant dock owner to provide a means of safe ingress and egress. Thus, any claim plaintiff had arose under state law. Under the Erie doctrine, Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003 applied. Plaintiff failed to file his action within the two-year time frame, offering no justification for the failure. Thus, the claim was time barred.