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Dufrene v. Harvey Gulf Int'l Marine, LLC

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

March 11, 2015

LARRY DUFRENE
v.
HARVEY GULF INTERNATIONAL MARINE, LLC, FORMERLY KNOWN AS GUIDRY BROTHERS TOWING COMPANY, INC

APPEAL FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH. NO. 2011-00319, DIVISION " L-6" . Honorable Kern A. Reese, Judge.

Timothy J. Young, Tammy D. Harris, THE YOUNG FIRM, New Orleans, LA, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT.

Robert G. Harvey, Sr., LAW OFFICE OF ROBERT G. HARVEY, SR., APLC, New Orleans, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE.

(Court composed of Judge Max N. Tobias, Jr., Judge Edwin A. Lombard, Judge Madeleine M. Landrieu).

OPINION

Page 94

Madeleine M. Landrieu, Judge.

[2014-0420 La.App. 4 Cir. 1] Plaintiff, Larry Dufrene, appeals the trial court's judgment granting the exception of prescription filed by defendant, Harvey Gulf International Marine, LLC. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

PROCEEDINGS BELOW

On January 21, 2011, Mr. Dufrene filed suit against Harvey Gulf International Marine, LLC (" Harvey Gulf" ) for damages arising from significant hearing loss he allegedly suffered while employed by Harvey Gulf. The petition stated, in part,

(III) From March 1977 until 2010, LARRY DUFRENE has been employed by HARVEY GULF as a Jones Act seaman.

(IV) During the course of his employment, plaintiff LARRY DUFRENE has experienced significant hearing loss while employed as a seaman aboard numerous vessels owned and/or operated by HARVEY GULF, and while employed as a Jones Act seaman by HARVEY GULF.

(V) Plaintiff brings these claims within three years of becoming aware of sufficient facts to establish a reasonable belief that he had a cause of action for hearing loss due to significant exposures to loud and continuous noise while in the course and scope of his employment with this defendant.

[2014-0420 La.App. 4 Cir. 2] Harvey Gulf filed an exception of prescription, in which it argued that Mr. Dufrene had been aware of his hearing loss since approximately 1985 or 1986, and, therefore, his claims were prescribed when he filed the petition in 2011. After a hearing on the exception, the trial court granted the exception of prescription and dismissed the claims against Harvey Gulf. This appeal follows.

DISCUSSION

In his sole assignment of error, Mr. Dufrene asserts that the trial court erred in granting Harvey Gulf's exception of prescription. Mr. Dufrene contends that prescription did not begin to run until May 18, 2010, when a hearing test indicated that he was suffering from hearing loss and his doctor informed him that it was possibly related to his employment.

Mr. Dufrene alleges in his petition that he was employed by Harvey Gulf as a Jones Act seaman from March 1977 until sometime in 2010. Under the Jones Act and general maritime law, a plaintiff has a cause of action when he " has had a reasonable opportunity to discover his injury, its cause, and the link between the two. The statute of limitations under either law is three years from the ...


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