United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
L. C. FELDMAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court are the parties' simultaneous submissions
addressing whether this case, scheduled for a jury trial on
July 30, 2018, should be tried by a jury. For the reasons
that follow, this case will proceed to a jury trial by
a personal injury case in which a longshoreman alleges he was
injured when the personnel basket in which he was being
transported struck the side of the vessel due to it being
lowered too far below the vessel's bulwarks.
Global Marine, L.L.C. provided its vessel, the M/V MR DINO to
work in Energy XXI's filed during 2015. The M/V MR DINO
had a crew of two workers, Captain Brian Nelson and deckhand
Russell LeBouef. Island Operating is a company that works as
a contractor at offshore platform and rigs and it provided
two crane operators, Jarvis Bowie and Herman Johnson, to
perform personnel basket transfers. Jarvis Bowie, now 40
years old, worked as a crane operator for several years with
Island Operating. Captain Brian Nelson and deckhand Russel
LeBouef worked together on the M/V MR DINO, and had conducted
numerous personnel basket transfers with Bowie and Johnson
operating the crane before August 29, 2015.
August 29, 2015, as he had done on several occasions, Bowie,
operating the crane, sent the personnel basket down to the
M/V MR DINO to pick up Herman Johnson for a shift change.
Bowie raised Johnson up to the West Delta 74-B platform
without incident. Johnson then took over the crane and began
Bowie's personnel basket transfer down to the M/V MR
DINO. Johnson lowered the personnel basket over the water, on
the starboard side of the vessel. Johnson then began moving
the basket towards the vessel. Both Bowie (in the basket) and
LeBouef (on the deck) saw that the basket was lower than the
top of the MR DINO's bulwarks and both gave Johnson the
“raise load” signal. But the personnel basket did
not rise. LeBouef then gave Johnson the “all
stop” signal. But Johnson did not stop swinging the
happened next is disputed. Cheramie says that Bowie stepped off
the personnel basket and onto the M/V MR DINO's bulwarks,
then jumped down off the bulwarks. Bowie says that the basket
hit the vessel and caused Bowie to fall to the deck of the
vessel and injure his back.
April 20, 2016, Bowie sued Cheramie Global Marine, L.L.C.
under the general maritime law, seeking to recover for its
negligence in failing to provide him a safe basket transfer.
He seeks to recover for maritime negligence of the vessel as
well as for unseaworthiness. Louisiana Workers'
Compensation Corporation intervened for indemnification.
Bowie demanded a jury trial. The parties and the Court have
continued to designate this matter as a jury trial, which is
scheduled to begin on July 30, 2018.
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure preserves a
party's Seventh Amendment or federal statutory right to a
trial by jury. It also states, however, that “[t]hese
rules do not create a right to a jury trial on issues in a
claim that is an admiralty or maritime claim under Rule
9(h).” Fed R. Civ. P. 38(e). Rule 39 provides:
(a) When a Demand Is Made. When a jury trial
has been demanded under Rule 38, the action must be
designated on the docket as a jury action. The trial on all
issues so demanded must be by jury unless:
(1) the parties or their attorneys file a stipulation to a
nonjury trial or so stipulate on the record; or
(2) the court, on motion or on its own, finds that on some or
all of those issues there is no federal ...