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Federal Foray

        Defense results often don't make the cut for reporting here. Plenty are reported at CompQuantum, but to include in an email, there must be an issue of compelling interest. And today we have one, but not without the company of two significant plaintiff judgments.

Schindler v. Dravo Basic Materials Company, Inc.,
2:17-cv-13013 (USDC-EDLA 02/05/19)

        Plaintiff worked as a Merchant Mariner from 1966 until 2002. Asbestos exposure and development of mesothelioma led to multiple legal actions in California and this suit in the Eastern District of Louisiana.

        Pretrial motions considered by Judge Sarah Vance included defense Daubert motions to exclude testimony on medical causation. Finding that neither Dr. Robert Harrison, an occupational health and environmental medicine expert, nor Dr. David Tarin, an expert pathologist, knew enough about the plaintiff's exposure to provide "specific causation" testimony, the evidence was excluded. Lacking support for a causal relation between plaintiff's alleged six-week exposure on the vessel AVOCET and his cancer, the court further granted summary judgment for the defense.

        Judge Vance's detailed discussion will be of interest to anyone dealing with difficult medical causation issues. It is not an asbestos specific opinion. The depositions of Drs. Harrison and Tarin are also posted at CompQuantum.


Mays v. Chevron Pipe Line Co.,
6:14-cv-03098 (USDC-WDLA 02/01/19)

        For the second consecutive Newsflash, Darrell Papillion features as prevailing counsel. A Western District, Lafayette Division jury awarded $2,000,000 wrongful death damages to the wife of a worker killed by a natural gas pipeline valve failure. Each of three surviving children was awarded $100,000.

        The defense argued that plaintiffs' claims were subject to workers compensation exclusive remedy. A jury finding of a "significant causal link" between the death and defendant's offshore operations allowed tort recovery under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.


Barrios v. Centaur, LLC,
17-585 (USDC-EDLA 02/05/19)

        Following a five day bench trial, Judge Milazzo issued her findings and signed a judgment awarding $3,308,094.55 total damages under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act. The court found that the injured worker was not a Jones Act seaman. The owner was not entitled to limitation of liability on finding knowledge of the captain's "unsafe custom of allowing equipment to be offloaded from the M/V TROOPER without first tying up the vessel."

        General damages for cervical, head and minor brain injuries totaled $975,000. Plaintiff's treatment included 28 staples to close a scalp laceration and two-level cervical fusion. Inner ear and TBI issues were relatively minor, but persistent and were sigificnat contributing factors to the damage evaluation.


        I will be unveiling a host of never before seen trial court stats and covering recent trial quantum at the Baton Rouge Bar Association Bench Bar Conference in April. Come for the enlightenment. Stay for the comfort of Point Clear's beautiful Grand Hotel.


Posted: Feb. 8, 2019