Use this button to switch between dark and light mode.

Federal: 5th Circuit Finds Offshore Platform Welder Was Not “Seaman” for Jones Act Purposes

August 14, 2015 (1 min read)

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a federal district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of a borrowing employer who had been sued by its borrowed employee, a welder, after the welder sustained injuries when gasses exploded while he was performing welding work on an offshore oil platform. The borrowing employer had been hired to decommission an offshore platform and utilized the welder’s services in the project. The welder sought recovery under, inter alia, the Jones Act, alleging negligence on the part of the borrowing employer. The district court granted summary judgment on the basis that the welder was not a Jones Act “seaman.” The 5th Circuit Court noted that since its decision in Barrett v. Chevron U.S.A., Inc., 781 F.2d 1067 (5th Cir. 1986) (en banc), it had generally declined to find seaman status where the employee spent less than 30 percent of his time aboard ship. Moreover, the court reiterated that land-based maritime workers did not become seamen because they happened to be working on board a vessel when they were injured. The court said it was clear that the welder spent less than 30 percent of his time in service on any one vessel or group of vessels. The 30 percent general guideline had been approved in Chandris, Inc. v. Latsis, 515 U.S. 347, 368 (1995).

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

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to

See Wilcox v. Wild Well Control, Inc., 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12878 (5th Cir., July 24, 2015) [2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12878 (5th Cir., July 24, 2015)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 146.02 [146.02]

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









For more information about LexisNexis products and solutions connect with us through our corporate site