United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
CRAIG C. ANDREWS, ET AL.
LOMAR CORP. LTD., ET AL.
ORDER AND REASONS
L.C. FELDMAN, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is the plaintiffs' motion to reconsider or for
new trial. For the reasons that follow, the motion is DENIED.
litigation arises out of a Mississippi River pilot's
allegations that he suffered a career-ending hip injury
climbing an unsafe ladder while boarding the MARINE TRADER to
take over piloting duties.
Court assumes familiarity with the facts of the case as
summarized in the Court's June 19, 2017 Order and
Reasons. Craig C. Andrews worked as a river pilot for 25
years, regularly climbing ladders to board thousands of
ships. During his career as a river pilot, in 2009, Mr.
Andrews underwent bilateral hip replacements. Dr. Chad Millet
performed the surgeries. Mr. Andrews continued working as a
full-time pilot with his artificial hips.
later in December 2015, Mr. Andrews called to schedule an
appointment with Dr. Millett; the appointment was scheduled
for January 28, 2016. Four days before his pre-scheduled
appointment with Dr. Millet, on January 24, 2016, Mr. Andrews
was assigned to pilot the M/V TRADER in Pilottown, Louisiana
in Plaquemines Parish to the Port of New Orleans. Mr. Andrews
boarded the MAINE TRADER midstream using an industry-standard
combination ladder, which employed both a pilot ladder (also
known as a Jacob's ladder) and the ship's
accommodation ladder. He stepped from the pilot boat onto the
ship's pilot ladder and started climbing up. As he
climbed up the pilot ladder, he reached a point where he had
to transition from the top of the pilot ladder onto the
ship's accommodation ladder by stepping with his right
foot onto the accommodation ladder's lower platform.
After he stepped onto the accommodation ladder platform and
started walking up the steps of the accommodation ladder, he
says he heard clicking in his left hip. He did not feel any
pain at that time. Nor did he complain to the ship's
crew. He never requested that an accident report be
completed. Instead, he continued working without complaint.
Andrews safely piloted the vessel for seven hours before he
left the ship by climbing down the same combination ladder
midstream at Poydras. Mr. Andrews did not seek medical
treatment when he left the ship. But four days later, he did
attend the previously-scheduled January 28, 2016 appointment
with Dr. Millet. On the sign-in sheet for his January 28
appointment with Dr. Millet, Mr. Andrews indicated that his
visit was not the result of an injury, it was not
work-related, and that his symptoms had begun two months
earlier. When he saw Dr. Millet, Mr. Andrews complained of
clicking and triggering in his left hip, which he stated had
begun gradually, without injury, about two months earlier.
hip x-rays taken on January 28, 2016 show significant wear of
the polyethylene liner with some superior migration of the
head and some subluxation (in layman's terms, the head
was not located in the middle of the socket). As a result,
almost one month later on February 24, 2016, Dr. Millet
performed left hip revision surgery, which involved replacing
the socket and ball in the left hip. During the surgery, Dr.
Millet observed that the superior portion of the polyethylene
liner was fractured; such a fracture could be caused by a
high-impact injury, or steady wear over time. Dr. Millet
could not tell what caused the fracture by observing it
during the surgery, but Dr. Millet has opined that he
believes that the fracture caused Mr. Andrews's left hip
clicking and pain that Mr. Andrews had told him had begun two
months before his late January 2016 appointment.
Millet saw Mr. Andrews twice more in 2016: on March 22 and on
May 24. When Mr. Andrews again completed a sign-in sheet for
the May 24 visit, he stated on that form (again) that his
visit was not due to an injury and was not work-related. Dr.
Millet made no determination as to Mr. Andrews's physical
limitations or whether he could resume work.
determine if he could be released back to work after his hip
revision surgery, Mr. Andrews had an appointment on March 25,
2016 with Dr. Bourgeois. Dr. Bourgeois did not believe that
Mr. Andrews could return to work at that time. A few weeks
later on April 13, 2016, Dr. Bourgeois completed a disability
packet for Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, Mr.
Andrews's disability insurer, stating that Mr. Andrews
was permanently disabled from working in his previous
position as a river pilot. Dr. Bourgeois sent a letter to the
insurance company the next day, stating that Mr. Andrews is
not fit for duty as a river pilot and that this status is
“more likely than not” permanent. Nine days
later, however -- when Mr. Andrews returned to see Dr.
Bourgeois on April 22, 2016 to undergo a Coast Guard physical
examination -- Dr. Bourgeois declared to the Coast Guard that
Mr. Andrews “passed all aspects of the USCG physical
requirements.” That same day, Dr. Bourgeois declared
that Mr. Andrews passed all aspects of a functional capacity
evaluation with no restrictions. Dr. Bourgeois has not seen
Mr. Andrews since April 22, 2016. A couple months later, Mr.
Andrews retired from river piloting.
August 22, 2016, Mr. Andrews and his wife, Beverly R.
Andrews, sued Lomar Corp. Ltd., Lomar Shipping Ltd., and
Hapag-Lloyd, AG in state court, seeking to recover damages
for his allegedly career-ending hip injury. The plaintiffs
alleged that the pilot ladder of the MAINE TRADER was rigged
in violation of federal laws and regulations; the defendants
were negligent in rigging the ladder in violation of safety
standards; the defendants negligently failed to warn him of
the ladder's unsafe condition; and the MAINE TRADER was
unseaworthy. The case was removed to this Court.
January 24, 2017, Mr. Andrews saw Dr. Millet, who opined that
Mr. Andrews was “doing fine with his hip” such
that he could resume the same activities he was able to do
after his first hip replacement surgery. Dr. Millet's
deposition was taken on February 22, 2017. Like Dr. Watson,
Millet testified that the left revision surgery he performed
was necessary due to polyethylene wear rather than a specific
accident. Dr. Millet has stated that he expected that Mr.
Andrews would need a revision surgery following his 2009 hip
replacements because he was young when he had his hips
replaced, he was active, and he was overweight. That Mr.
Andrews was overweight, combined with the verticality of the
acetabular component in the left hip to accelerate wear, Dr.
Millet has opined, the seven-year period between the left hip
replacement surgery and the revision surgery was within the
time range he would expect to see. Dr. Millet has
specifically testified that he cannot causally relate Mr.
Andrews's left hip revision to the alleged incident
boarding the MAINE TRADER on January 24, 2016.
his deposition on March 7, 2017, Dr. Bourgeois admitted that
he is not familiar with Mr. Andrews's condition before he
climbed the ladder and, therefore, he has no opinion on
whether climbing the ship's ladder necessitated Mr.
Andrews's left hip revision surgery. Dr. Bourgeois
admitted that because Dr. Millet performed the left hip
revision surgery, he is in a better position to ...