In a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth
Circuit, it was held that a foreign oil rig worker in the waters off
Nigeria would not be covered by the Jones Act. The matter arose
when gunmen boarded the rig and kidnapped the employee and
held him hostage.

Ordinarily, the
Jones Act covers U.S. seamen and offshore oil rig
workers (who satisify the two-part test for seaman status under
the Jones Act under
Chandris v. Latsis, and who spend a
sufficient percentage of time in the service of a vessel). The
Jones Act provides remedies that include payment for pain and
suffering. It also covers maintenance and cure, the maritime law
equivalent of living expenses (and lost wages) as well as medical
expenses.

However, in the instant 5th Circuit Court of Appeals case,
Johnson v. PPI Technology, (Read the full
Circuit Court of Appeals
Decision affirming the District Court's dismissal of the
employee's Jones Act cause of action) the plaintiff employee
was a citizen of Canada. The defendant-appellees were offshore
energy companies. The plaintiff argues that the district court
erred in applying the foreign seaman exclusion provisions of the
Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. § 30105(b), which provides:

Except as provided in subsection (c), a civil action for
maintenance and cure or for   damages for personal injury or
death may not be brought under a maritime law of the United
States if:

        (1) the individual suffering the injury or death was not
        a citizen or permanent resident alien of theUnited
        States at the time of the incident giving rise to the
        action;

        (2) the incident occurred in the territorial waters or
        waters overlaying the continental shelf of a country
        other than the United States; and

        (3) the individual suffering the injury or death was
        employed at the time of the incident by a person
        engaged in the exploration, development, or
        production of offshore mineral or energy resources,
        including drilling, mapping, surveying, diving,
        pipelaying, maintaining, repairing, constructing, or
        transporting supplies, equipment, or personnel, but
        not including transporting those resources by a vessel
        constructed or adapted primarily to carry oil in bulk in
        the cargo spaces.

The district court dismissed the case, and the Circuit Court of
Appeals affirmed their decision. Plaintiff James Johnson -
Defendant PPI Technology Services; Plaintiff Appellant Robert
Croke, Defendant Appellees PPI TECHNOLOGY SERVICES, L.P.;
GLOBALSANTAFE OFFSHORE SERVICES, INCORPORATED;
TRANSOCEAN OFFSHORE DEEPWATER DRILLING, INCORPORATED

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Louisiana, Nos. 2:11-CV-2773, 2:12-CV-1534




Back to
Maritime Law News
Back to Maritime Attorney Homepage