Final Settlement Issued For The BP Oil Spill

Oil Spill ImageIn a much-anticipated legal action, a New Orleans judge has finally granted approval to what everyone hopes is the last settlement for BP’s infamous 2010 oil spill. The gulf coastline was irreparably damaged when the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion nearly six years ago. The accident resulted in the deaths of eleven workers and leaked millions of gallons of crude oil into the fragile ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico. The damage is still being felt in the region and all involved are looking forward to closing this final chapter.

The industry was shocked and saddened by the damage which included a record-setting $20 billion settlement from BP. The monstrous payout involved direction from the federal government and five US states. It also included “$5.5 billion in civil Clean Water Act penalties and billions more to cover environmental damage”. The states and local governments along the Gulf of Mexico are still wading through the long-term damage to the area and its inhabitants. Both parties hope that the money to be paid out over the next 16 years will be sufficient to heal the damages.

Worldwide, many are considering this incident to be one of the largest environmental settlements, as well as the one of the largest civil settlement ever paid by a single entity. “BP is receiving the punishment it deserves, while also providing critical compensation for the injuries it caused to the environment and the economy of the Gulf region,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said.
The final judge’s order came almost five years to the day after BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the coast of Louisiana exploded, sending over 134 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The oil spill ended up spreading across more than 43,000 miles and devastating the animals, plants, and property from Florida to Texas.

Long Standing Damages

In this most recent chapter, Judge Carl Barbier gave his final stamp of approval to the last part of the BP deal. The first part was announced in July 2015, after an earlier ruling that cemented BP’s “gross negligence” in actions leading up to the disaster. The judge heard lots of difficult testimony from many oil rig workers who survived the blast and from company executives who worked on the ill-fated BP project.

Although BP has claimed that the area is recovering well from the damages, recent reports by the National Wildlife Federation claim that many of the sea creatures are still struggling and dying in significant numbers. One of the greatest examples of this is in Louisiana, where bottle-nose dolphins were still being found dead at four times the historic rate as recent as 2014. Additionally, thousands of sea turtles known as Kemp’s Ridley died after the disaster and have never returned to pre-disaster numbers.

What Is Happening With The Criminal Charges?

After the incident, thousands of residents, injured parties, and supporters called for criminal charges to be filed against the behemoth oil company. The Justice Department did initiate criminal investigations against four BP employees. However, most of those cases ended in dismissal. Last February, BP supervisor Robert Kaluza was acquitted of misdemeanor pollution charges. Another rig supervisor, Donald Vidrine, ended up pleading guilty to the same charge when federal prosecutors let manslaughter charges against the two supervisors die a few months prior.

However, this appears to be the only charge that stuck after BP executive David Rainey was acquitted of charges that he manipulated calculations related to the spill. A former engineer was convicted of obstructing justice for deleting related text messages. Another judge ordered a new trial after allegations of juror misconduct surfaced. The engineer ended up pleading guilty to a lesser charge and was ultimately sentenced to six months of probation. All in all, the monetary penalties hardly seem to cover the sheer magnitude of this disaster, but given the apparent inability to prosecute for criminal charges, they are certainly better than nothing.

Call J. Price McNamara For Assistance With Your Maritime Case

If you or someone you know, needs help with a maritime case, you need to find an experienced and effective attorney to help you get the results you deserve. J. Price McNamara has been serving his Baton Rouge community for many years and has gained the respect of numerous colleagues and clients during that time. If you need legal help for your maritime issues, call us now for a free case review.

J. Price McNamara Discusses Six Things You Need To Know About Maritime Lawsuits

maritime imageIn the state of Louisiana, the victims in maritime lawsuits are eligible for several types of damages. Compensation can be recovered for lost wages, medical bills, pain, and suffering. If a worker suffers an injury because of negligence, they could be able to collect additional damages.

1) Who Can Recover Under The Jones Act?

It is important to note that maritime lawsuits are an option for offshore workers who have been injured due to the negligence of an employer or ship owner or when a particular vessel is unseaworthy. Additionally, maritime law allows workers to collect medical care benefits and living expenses covered up to a point of maximum medical improvement. However, these benefits are limited and do not last forever. Under the Jones Act, victims can seek compensation for future medical treatment, as well as other damages they’ve incurred because of their injuries.

2) What Types Of Damages Are Possible In A Maritime Lawsuit?

Jones Act maritime lawsuits may provide injured workers with compensation for a wide variety of damages. Under the current regulations, injured maritime worker may seek compensation for the following:

• “Pain, suffering and mental anguish endured;
• Future income loss expected because of the injury;
• Medical bills and lost wages not covered by maintenance and cure benefits;
• Lost earning capacity if the injury has made the victim unable to continue working;
• Costs of retraining should the injury require the victim to need further training to return to work;
• Loss of household services including child care, cleaning, cooking and other tasks that may be affected by the injury;
• Loss of quality of life if the injury has caused a decrease in the quality of the victim’s life;
• Future medical costs, including funds needed for expected treatments, medications, prosthetics, surgeries and rehabilitation; and
• Disfigurement if the injury has left the victim permanently disfigured or scarred.”

3) What Exactly Is The Jones Act?

The Jones Act is a maritime act that controls coastwise trade within the United States, determines which ships can lawfully engage in trade in U.S. waters, and the rules under which vessels must operate. The act also provides rules and regulations for what happens if a worker is injured aboard one of these vessels.

4) How Can You Qualify For Recovery Under The Jones Act?

Not every worker on or near the water meet the specific criteria to recover under the Jones Act. The law applies to “seamen,” but does not provide a clear definition of the term. Federal courts interpret the term seaman to mean any individual who is assigned to work on a vessel or fleet that operates in navigable waters. The person must perform work that is related to the vessel’s main purpose. As long as the work the person performs furthers the mission of the vessel, the individual’s particular job description is unimportant.

5) What Portion Of Your Work Time Must Be Spent On A Vessel?

Seaman status under the terms of the Jones Act also requires that an employee spend a specific portion of their work hours upon the vessel. Some federal courts have determined that employees must spend approximately 30% of their time onboard a vessel to qualify for recovery under the Jones Act. The 30% figure is often used as a rule of thumb, but it is not a hard and fast rule. If you would like to get a better idea of your ability to recover under the Jones Act, it is best to seek out the assistance of a maritime attorney.

6) How You Can Get Help From A Louisiana Maritime Lawyer

If you’re a maritime worker who has been injured at work, you need to seek help from a qualified and experienced attorney right away. You may have heard about high-profile cases like the BP oil spill. In that case, BP was required to create a fund to compensate victims. If you have been injured, you deserve compensation. We encourage you to consider filing a claim for your pain and suffering, as well as the expenses you and your family have incurred from your injury.

Let The Firm Of J. Price McNamara Help You With Your Maritime Case

J. Price McNamara has been practicing maritime law in Louisiana for many years and has handled many cases just like yours. Our firm has a wealth of knowledge and tons of experience. This means that we are ready and waiting to provide the legal representation that you need to recover the damages you deserve for your case. Call us now to schedule your free case review and get an experienced legal team on your side today.

Maritime Law in Action for One Belleville Man

Navigating maritime law can be difficult.The threat of injury when doing physical activity for an employer is simply a reality for some professions. This is especially true when it comes to maritime work, which can be complicated by the constant presence of water. Fortunately, there are laws that have been put in place specifically to protect those who work in the maritime industry. That said, these laws can be complicated and can be very different from standard Louisiana law. Because of this, you will want to work with a lawyer like J. Price McNamara, who is well versed in maritime law. A recent news article that has been circulating involves a maritime worker who is suing his employer due to an injury he received on the job. We encourage you to read on to learn more about this case and what laws are in place to protect this man’s rights.

The Benefits of the Jones Act

On January 22nd, a Belleville man filed a suit against SGS Petroleum Service Corporation, a Baton Rouge, LA company, for injuries he received while on the job. On December 23, 2014, Mark S. Purkaple was assigned to do the work of a tankerman, meaning he was in charge of such tasks as starting the boat’s engine, changing its filters, pumping out water, and adding fuel to the ship. However, while he was going about his work, he slipped and fell on the boarding ramp leading up to the boat, as it was wet and slippery. When he fell, he ended up injuring his right foot and ankle.

Mr. Purkaple’s suit claims that his injuries were purely the result of negligence on the part of the SGS Petroleum Service Corporation, as they had failed to provide a safe place to work. Not only that, but his lawsuit claims that the company did not provide a safe means of entry and exit for the ship, and they did not properly inspect or treat the boarding ramp. Because of this failure, Mr. Purkaple injured himself, which required that he seek medical treatment, involving tests and therapy. He also claims that he will have to seek further treatment, which will further exasperate his loss of wages, benefits, and earning capacity.

Mr. Purkaple’s suit is centered on violations of the Jones Act, a piece of law that was passed to govern the compensation rights of workers who perform labor on water-worthy vessels. The Jones Act, also referred to as the “Merchant Marine Act of 1920”, states that maritime workers who have been in accidents or have become sick due to their work-related duties are entitled to compensation from their employers. In this case, Mr. Purkaple qualifies to utilize this piece of legislation to seek over $50,000 in compensation, plus whatever it will take to cover court costs and any other relief the court sees fit.

Contact the Baton Rouge or Metairie Offices of J. Price McNamara

Have you received an injury while performing maritime related duties and would like to find out if you are entitled to compensation for those injuries? Are you having difficulty navigating the laws set in place to protect maritime workers? Then we encourage you to contact our office and schedule a no-obligation, comprehensive case review with J. Price McNamara today. We are ready to help you, so contact us today.

Gulf Coast Oyster Farmers See Business Improve

oystersFoodies have long rhapsodized over the delicate and delicious virtues of the oyster. As a culinary fad, they have trended in and out for centuries as a food product, a creative appetizer, a succulent meal and even an aphrodisiac.  Through the years, hundreds of gulf coast farmers and other oyster providers have farmed oysters and ran boxes as far up as New York City and Maine.  Profits are lucrative and sellers have quickly cashed in on the long-standing popularity of the industry.

Then came the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico which affected the harvest in that region for many years after.  The impact as so severe that Louisiana’s farmed oyster sales decreased from $28 million in 2005 to $13 million in 2013.  Farmers in the gulf coast region soon found themselves in dire straits as production halted from the pollution.

However, scientists are claiming that the region is fast recovering and the seafood production levels are increasing quickly.  Farmers also anticipate that production should level out and remain steady in the upcoming years.

In the meantime, restaurateurs and customer demand has set off a trend which has caused a significant increase in the demand for fresh oysters. Standards for judging have also changed with oyster size decreasing to as small as 2.5 or 3 inches as the preference shifts to product taste and not size.

Oyster lovers have also become quite refined in their palates, demanding diverse flavors that reflect the region they come from.  Oyster tasting rooms have begun springing up with patrons requesting sophisticated pairings of wine, oysters, and food.

But oysters are not just a tasty treat for the tongue; they can give back to the landscape in a very efficient manner.  Scientists believe the reason for this is that oysters, clams, mussels, mollusks and bivalves eat food that is already in their natural environment like plankton.  This requires no additional or expensive replenishing on the producer’s part.  Alternatively, cattle require approximately 15 pounds of feed to produce one pound of beef.  This makes for an inefficient and resource-heavy food product.

Another environmentally friendly characteristic of oysters is that they pump 50 gallons of water per day to get plankton.  This then works to filter the pollutants out of water and make it cleaner.  This is extremely helpful in areas that have suffered the most from the effects of the BP oil spill.

Additionally, during hurricanes or other major weather events, oyster beds can absorb some of the force of the storm and ease the damage to coastlines.

Consumers have long been wary of the dangers of eating a raw product that filters pollution. However, oyster farmers point to the strict USDA guidelines for oysters and stress that they work hand-in-hand with regulators to keep their product as safe as possible.

Of course, there is always a risk when you consume anything raw and food-borne illness is definitely part of that risk. But experts claim that the vast majority of the oyster products are very safe. Increasing sales in the Gulf Coast area and beyond undoubtedly prove this theory.

Call J. Price McNamara Today For Help With Your Maritime Case

Here at the law firm of J. Price McNamara, we know how important qualified and experienced legal representation is for your maritime case. If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in any kind of accident while working on or near the water, you need to find an experienced and effective attorney to help with your case. J. Price has been serving Baton Rouge for decades and has gained the respect of his colleagues for his dedicated service. Call us today for your free maritime case review.

BP Announces Settlement For 2010 Oil Spill In Gulf Of Mexico

oil spillBP and the five Gulf states most impacted, recently announced a settlement that resolves many years of legal fighting over the damage created by the infamous 2010 Deep Water Horizon oil spill. The settlement, estimated to be well over 18 billion, is one of the largest legal settlements ever agreed to and will likely mark the end of major litigation against BP.

The underlying accident was also the largest oil spill ever recorded, killing 11 people and spreading miles of crude oil across the Gulf Coast’s once-pristine beaches and waterways.
The settlement must first be accepted by a federal judge though it has already been ruled that the company was grossly negligent in the spilling of nearly 134 million gallons of oil.

The BP spill caused nearly incalculable economic and environmental damage across the Gulf Coast states. Even worse, the long-term damage is nearly impossible to ascertain for animals like dolphins, birds, oyster, shrimp and fish. State and local governments in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, have long since filed natural resources damage claims, as well as economic claims in federal court.

Parties to the suit are barred from disclosing any details of the deal. However, Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said the settlement will end further prolonged litigation, which would undoubtedly delay repair and rebuilding of damaged coasts and wetlands. And although the settlement details have yet to be worked out, the final consent decree should be complete in approximately two months.

Louisiana is estimated to receive the largest share of the settlement money with about $6.8 billion of the total settlement sum.

BP claims that the cumulative costs associated with the spill, currently sit at around $53.8 billion. Those costs include $14 billion for response and cleanup and $4.5 billion in penalties announced after a settlement of a criminal case with the government. The company will also have to pay $7.1 billion to fix natural resource damages and $5 billion for individual economic damages and other claims. Payments will be spread out over the course of 18 years.

Regardless of the record-breaking settlement amounts, environmental groups are still concerned that the BP settlement has not gone far enough to repair the damage. Moreover, scientists and researchers are worried that the money promised for coastal restoration will not actually go there.

In Louisiana, officials planned to use money for coastal restoration, as well as wetlands and wildlife habitat repair. However, Louisiana activists claim that the money may be too little and too late to repair habitat that has been hurt by decades of coastal erosion, rising ocean levels, hurricanes, and tropical storms.

Environmental protection groups further claim that the $18.7 billion still pales in comparison to what the oil giant should have to pay. BP was facing $13.7 billion in penalties from the Clean Water Act alone. As it stands, the costs could have been much greater for the embattled oil company.

Call J. Price McNamara Today For Help With Your Legal Case

Here at the law firm of J. Price McNamara, we know how important effective and aggressive legal representation is for your personal injury or maritime case. If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in any kind of accident, you should need to find an experienced and effective attorney to help with your case. J. Price McNamara has the experience, training and skill to help you with your legal cause and help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call us today for your free case review. The law firm of J. Price McNamara is here to help you resolve your case to your satisfaction now.

6 Common Questions About Maritime Injury Cases

About Maritime Injury Cases - Maritime Injury Lawyer Hundreds of workers are injured each year while working on or around the water.  When this happens, maritime law is often used to file a claim and recover damages from another party.  Maritime law can be a complex and challenging area of law.  Below are six common questions that you might have as an injured maritime worker and the answers you need to proceed with your maritime case.

Question:  I was injured while working on or near the water.  What can I do?

Answer:  Your first step is to, contact J. Price McNamara who can help you pursue a lawsuit and recover damages.  In most instances, if you were injured while working on or near the water then you may be entitled to file a claim under general maritime law, the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Act, or the Death on the High Seas Act.

Question:  I have been injured in a maritime accident where should I go for legal help with my case?

Answer: J. Price McNamara represents maritime workers , Jones Act seamen, longshoremen, deckhands, oil rig workers, barge workers and various other types of maritime workers on the Mississippi River and in the Gulf of Mexico.  If you’ve been injured while working on an oil rig, floating crane barge, crew vessel, supply vessel, cargo ship, tanker, fishing vessel, drill ship, construction barge, towboat, tugboat, or other floating vessel or structure then please contact us today to find out how we can help you with your maritime case.

Question:  If I bring a lawsuit against my employer, will I be blackballed from future maritime jobs?

Answer: Here at J. Price McNamara, we believe that there is no black list.  Moreover, there are laws that are designed to prevent any past, present or future employer from revealing and information about injuries that you may have gotten at your maritime job.  In fact, we have had several former clients who later returned to offshore work after settlements from their case and recovery from their injuries.

Question:  What much money can I get for my maritime injury lawsuit?

Answer: There is no guarantee of monetary compensation in any maritime case.  However, if you do receive compensation, the amount will depend on your situation, your injuries and several other factors.  If your case is successful, you may receive compensation for disfigurement, physical disability, medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of companionship, mental disability, property damage and/or loss of additional benefits.

Question:  J. Price McNamara is located in Louisiana, but I was injured in another state.  Can I still get help from your firm?

Answer: We’ve represented clients in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Texas as well as workers injured in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi River.  In addition, we have helped injured seamen across the United States by working with their local attorneys to ensure they have a skilled and experienced maritime injury legal team on their side.

Question:  How do I get started?

 Answer: Getting started is easy.  You will need to contact our office and schedule your free case review.  This will help us to hear about your case and determine how we can help you get the most compensation for your injuries.  Call us now to get started.

Let J. Price McNamara Help You With Your Maritime Case

If you or someone you know has been injured during work on or near the water, you need a legal team that understands Maritime Law.  The attorneys at J. Price McNamara may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve from your Maritime injuries. With many years of focus on maritime law and Jones Act cases, our attorneys J. Price McNamara has an impressive legal track record and enjoys a stellar reputation in the Baton Rouge legal community and beyond.  A history of favorable verdicts and impressive settlements speaks to the skill and experience J. Price McNamara has with these types of cases.  Call us today for your free case review and let us get started on helping you!

Experts Say Gulf Oil Spill Could Last 100 Years Or More

OilSpillAccording to recent news reports, residents along the gulf are up in arms about a decade-old oil leak from an offshore platform that toppled during a hurricane.  Experts have confirmed that the leak could continue spilling crude oil pollution into the Gulf of Mexico for a century or more.   They further confirmed that if left unchecked, the problem could continue to create the chronic oil slicks that often stretch for miles off the coast of Louisiana.

Authorities suspect that oil is still leaking from at least one of 25 wells that remain buried under mounds of sediment.   In 2004, Hurricane Ivan created the initial damage to the oil wells by causing an underwater mudslide.  However, despite over ten years since the original incident, a recent AP investigation revealed that the remaining leak is far worse than was publicly reported prompting speculation that parties are trying to cover up the slow-motion spill.

So who is responsible for the continuing damage from the oil wells?  News agencies have discovered that Taylor Energy Company owns the platform and a cluster of oil wells.  The energy company has played down the extent and environmental impact of the leak since it happened.  Taylor Energy further contends that nothing can be done to completely eliminate the oil slicks on the Louisiana coastline.

In an attempt to buffer itself from responsibility, Taylor had hoped to broker a deal with the government to resolve its financial obligations for the oil leak and the subsequent damage.  However, gulf coast residents are happy to see that authorities have denied Taylor’s request and ordered additional clean up and prevention work by the company.

Officials have reportedly said that more that can still be done by Taylor to control and contain the oil that is still discharging heavily from the site.

In response to government direction, Taylor hired a contractor to drill new wells to intercept and plug nine wells that were reportedly still capable of leaking oil.  But a company official has asserted that experts warn that there are significant risks of additional damage if new drilling continues.

In an early 2015 court filing, Taylor claimed that oil from their wells was leaking at a rate of less than 4 gallons per day.  Additionally, the U.S.  Coast Guard has recently provided a new estimate that claims the oil leak is about 20 times greater than Taylor is reporting.

According to ecological studies, sheens from the oil leak are sometimes as large as 1.5 miles wide and 14 miles long.  Moreover, since last year, the estimated daily volume of oil discharged from the Taylor wells has ranged from approximately 42 gallons to 2,329 gallons, with more than 84 gallons a day on average.

Many watch dog groups say that the leak’s extent is far greater than Taylor’s conservative estimates.  Many opponents claim that this case illustrates how hurricanes and oil rigs don’t mix.  Local politicians are vowing to keep doing everything they can to make sure the Interior Department holds Taylor accountable for the damage from its wells.

In 2008, Taylor was directed to set aside millions to pay for leak-related work as part of a confidential clean-up agreement with the Interior Department.  The company claims it has spent millions already in its efforts to contain and halt the damages from the leak.  However, Taylor refuses to publicly disclose how much money is left in required the trust.

Despite Taylor’s formal request to be excused from any further cleanup costs, politicians and environmental groups have vowed to continue their efforts.  Additionally, supporters for the Gulf Clean-up and protection efforts have called on federal officials to disclose technical data and other information about the oil leak.

How Can J. Price McNamara Help You In Your Time of Need?

If you or someone you know has been injured by actions or work performed on or near the water, you need a legal team that understands the intricacies of Maritime Law.  The attorneys at J. Price McNamara can help you get the compensation you deserve from your accident.  Our skilled and aggressive legal team is experienced in maritime injury and Jones Act injuries.  With many years of focus on maritime law and Jones Act cases, our attorneys J. Price McNamara has an impressive legal track record and enjoys a stellar reputation in the Baton Rouge legal community and beyond.  A history of favorable verdicts and impressive settlements speaks to the skill and experience J. Price McNamara has with these types of cases.  Call us today for your free case review and let us get started on helping you!

What Is Maritime Law?

What Is Maritime Law?Maritime law is an area of law which has been created from the cases decided by courts over a long period of time. And while many laws can be found in volumes of federal or state statutes created by congress, maritime law has developed based over the course of many years from fundamental principles governing the laws of the city. Accordingly, there is no “statute” which can explain maritime law details. Alternatively, individuals must look to these case holdings to obtain an appropriate and accurate understanding of maritime law.

What Types Of Injury Does Maritime Law Cover?

Maritime law applies to any injury which happens on navigable waterways. This includes the Gulf of Mexico as well as all rivers in the United States, lakes and any bodies of water where vessels are capable of navigating.

How Does Maritime Law Apply To Seamen?

Under the terms of Maritime Law, there is a special class of maritime workers known as Jones Act Seamen. In order to be considered a Jones Act Seamen, a worker must be permanently assigned to a vessel that is currently in navigation. This specifically means that the individual must spend 30 percent or more of his time aboard a vessel during his employment.

If workers are considered Jones Act Seamen, Maritime Law allows them to file two additional claims outside of the Jones Act statute limitations. Seamen can file a claim for maintenance and cure under general maritime law as the first part of their additional rights. This means that when a worker gets injured at work, he can ask for maintenance and cure benefits until he reaches maximum improvement from his injuries.

The second part of the additional rights afforded to Seaman is the ability of an injured Seasman to file a claim for the un‑seaworthiness of the vessel under maritime law. If any part of the vessel played a role in causing his injury, the seaman can seek additional damages under an un-seaworthiness claim to supplement the money they also received for their injuries.

Is There A Statute of Limitations In Maritime Law?

A statute of limitations is the time period in which an individual can file a claim in court to obtain compensation for their injuries. If the statute of limitations expires and a claim has not been filed, the individual will be barred from filing a claim. Maritime law has a three year statute of limitations to file any claims.

Additional Claims

It is important for injured parties to note that with a maritime law claim there may be other rights or claims which can be pursued. However, you should be aware that these rights or claims may have a shorter statute of limitations. Louisiana in particular has a one‑year statute of limitations on state law claims. To the extent that you may have state law claims along with a maritime law claims, a one-year statute of limitations may apply to some of the claims. For this reason, it is important to speak with an attorney regarding any individual situation so that you do not miss the time you have to file your claim.

J. Price McNamara Can Help You With Your Maritime Case

If you are dealing with a Maritime law issue, you need an experienced attorney who knows how to deal with these types of cases. Maritime law can be complicated and most employment companies have teams of lawyers working for them. For this reason, you need an attorney with knowledge of Louisiana and Maritime law to help you get you the outcome you deserve for your case. J. Price McNamara has been practicing law in Louisiana for many years and has handled many Maritime cases. The legal team at the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara is waiting to help you with your Maritime Law case. Call us today to schedule your free case review and get an experienced attorney on your side.

Exxon Mobile Receives Guyana Drilling Contract

maritime imageIn recent international news Exxon Mobile Deep Water Rig is heading to Guyana to drill an exploratory well. The contract has received strenuous objections from the Venezuelan Government. Despite the objections, the project is set to continue and should be ready to commence drilling soon.

Representatives explained that Exxon will not be engaging in any other Government matters and will continue to execute the contract until it is complete. According to company insiders, the rig was scheduled to arrive in Guyana a few weeks ago and it will take about a week to get prepped. Shortly thereafter, the crew should be ready to begin its oil exploration activities off Guyana’s Atlantic shore.

Exxon’s rig (Deep Water Champion) recently departed from Louisiana, in the long trip toward the Stabroek Block offshore location in Guyana. However, there have been several objections to plans for the exploratory well that will be created within Guyana’s territorial waters.

The Venezuelan Foreign Minister to the Country Manager of Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited, has voiced strenuous objections to the oil well explorations by Guyana. In response, the Guyana Government issued a warning that Venezuela must desist from taking any actions that could prevent Guyana’s development or contravene important international laws.

The recent developments with Venezuela are unsettling to the parties because of past developments. Two years ago, a ship conducting a seismic study for Guyana and the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation was detained and prevented from further work by Venezuela. Guyana claims that the ship and its 36-man crew, were within its territorial waters at the time and should not have been detained. The vessel was released after a week, but the project was already delayed and the plans damaged.

Such episodes have led to the two countries to establish a bilateral committee that will explore mechanisms within the context of international law. The goal is to address maritime delimitation.
However, the agreed upon meeting has since been stalled, due to recent developments in both countries.

Serious and enormously damaging accidents have taken place in the past decades from oil drilling activities. Moreover, many countries have expressed concern with drilling activities of companies like Exxon because of the far-reaching environmental dangers. Lawsuits are even now still pending for the drilling damages caused by the BP oil disaster back in 2010.

Let J. Price McNamara Help You With Your Injury

If you have recently been in an accident or suffered from an accident or injury, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The person or company responsible for your injury likely has a successful and aggressive attorney fighting for them. You should also have an experienced attorney with extensive knowledge of Louisiana law to help you resolve your case quickly and effectively. J. Price McNamara can provide the experience you need for your case. Attorney McNamara has practiced law in Louisiana for many years and he has an outstanding reputation. Give us a call today to discuss your case. The legal team at the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara is waiting to help you resolve your case and get the compensation you deserve.

BP Trial For Oil Spill Starts Final Phase

BP oil spill trialThe infamous Deepwater Horizon oil spill trial started its final phase last week as courts in New Orleans began the process of determining the fine to be handed out. It is no surprise that oil giant BP must pay. Five years ago one of their wells had a blowout that made news around the world when 11 men were killed and the worst environmental disaster in American history was spawned.

United States District Judge Carl Barbier had the tough job of hearing arguments from government lawyers and the oil company. BP could be liable for fines as high as $13.7 billion in relation to their violation of the federal Clean Water Act from the April 20, 2010 incident in the Gulf of Mexico.

The accident, involving a crippled drilling apparatus, captured a horrified audience around the world as the rig eventually pumped millions of barrels of crude oil into the gulf damaging the delicate ecosystems, killing animals and causing tremendous damage.

As the frightening events played out, tar balls from the accident washed up on beaches from Texas to Florida, and the fragile wetlands in and around Louisiana were dramatically ruined. Wildlife suffered significant damage, commercial fishing was devastated, tourism and public health suffered at the hands of BP.

However, many people were stunned at how the Britain-based energy company handled the trial. From the beginning, BP has challenged the federal government’s assertions that it is responsible and often portrayed itself as a victim. The oil company has also attempted to garner sympathy by complaining that its company coffers have been completely drained by false claims from victims up and down the coast line near the accident.

In other related proceedings, the infamous oil company said okay in 2012 to a $4.5 billion dollar criminal settlement with the Justice Department for the same incident. This included a payout of $525 million for charges that BP lied to investors during the investigations following the spill.

The federal trial, largely being decided under maritime law, has no jury and is being played out in three phases over 2 1/2 years. The primary part of the trial determined who was to blame for the enormous spill. The second portion of the trial attempted to determine the quantity of oil that escaped the well during the incident.

During the current phase of this highly complex trial, Judge Barbier will utilize many parts of the Clean Water Act, when looking at the severity of the spill, the parties involved, the damages, the amount already paid in fines and clean-up, BP’s safety history and mitigation efforts during the incident.

BP has long emphasized the immensity of its cleanup efforts. The company claims it has spent more than $14-billion to hire thousands of boats to skim oil from the gulf and thousands of cleaning contractors to remove tar from involved beaches. Moreover, $43 billion was set aside for spill-related costs and associated lawsuits.

In a significant development, Judge Barbier ruled last week that 3.19 million barrels of oil poured out of the Macondo well. This determination was particularly interesting because it was substantially lower than the government’s and an increase from the amount that BP claimed had escaped its well.

The spill amount is an important number because it will be used to determine the fine, which could end up costing the oil company as much $4,300 per barrel of oil spilled.

In another crucial piece of the trial, Judge Barbier ruled that during the incident and days following, BP acted with “gross negligence and willful misconduct”. This is an important determination because it allows the company to be issued maximum fines.

Experts believe that this will be the largest environmental penalty in the history of oil spills. The previous record was held by Transocean Ltd. in 2013. The fine that had the distinction of being highest was $1 billion.

Regardless of the outcome, legal observers expect BP to appeal the decision. This could potentially mean up to five more years will be added to the already long proceedings.

BP is still wading through thousands of claims from private parties and another federal environmental damage claim related to the incident in 2010.

 

The Team At J. Price McNamara Can Help You With Your Case

The BP case may be a large and extremely complicated maritime law case. However, everyday, thousands of smaller maritime cases play out across the U.S. and Louisiana. If you or a loved one has recently suffered from a maritime related injury, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. To get the money you deserve, you need an experienced and aggressive personal injury attorney. J. Price McNamara has been practicing law in Louisiana for many years and has handled many maritime law cases. The legal team at the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara is here to help you with your case today. Call our offices to schedule a free case review now and get our team working for you. The law limits the amount of time you have to file your case, so do not delay!

Louisiana Wrongful Death Oil Rig Case Settles Out Of Court

WRONGFUL DEATH CASE

oil_rig_pic
Last week the son of a Louisiana man killed during a 2011 Beaumont oil rig accident, settled out of court with his father’s former employers.  The case was just about to go to trial when the settlement for an undisclosed amount of money was announced.

Justin Burnett initially filed his wrongful death lawsuit in January 2013 against T.K. Stanley, Nabors Drilling USA and Legend Oil Field Services.  The case was filed in Jefferson County’s 136th Court.

According to court documents, 40-year-old Scottie Wayne Burnett was working as a “rigger” at a Jefferson County drilling site in 2011, when he was crushed by sections of a collapsed oil rig.

Burnett’s employer, T.K. Stanley, is headquartered in Hereford, Texas.  Stanley and Legend Oil Field Services, also a Texas company, were subcontractors hired by Nabors Drilling to work on a Jefferson County project.

Elements Of Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The death of a loved one is an extremely sad and tragic time for family members, particularly when the loved one dies in an accident.  In many instances, these “wrongful deaths” can be linked to the negilgence of another person or company.  According to Louisiana law, a wrongful death occurs when a person dies as a direct result of another person’s negligence or malice.

Liability for a wrongful death can fall on individuals, physicians, corporations, and government entities.  If it is determined that your family member dies from another person’s actions, it may be possible to recover monetary damages for things like funeral expenses, medical expenses, lost wages of the deceased, property damage and loss of consortium or companionship.

Wrongful death claims can include all types of fatal accidents including; work injuries, drunk driving accidents, backyard pool drownings, elevator accidents and other types of accidents.

Who Can Recover?

According to Louisiana Law, if a person dies due to the fault of another, a lawsuit may can be brought by the following persons to recover damages sustained as a result of the death:

  • Surviving spouse, child or children
  • Surviving mother and father, if there are no surviving children or a spouse
  • Surviving brothers and sisters, if there are no surviving children, parents or a spouse
  • Surviving grandfathers or grandmothers, if there are no children, siblings, spouse or parents

If any of these individuals has been convicted of a crime involving the intentional killing or attempted killing of the deceased, or were officially determined to have participated in such actions, they will not be allowed to recover any damages or proceeds for wrongful death.

How Much Time Do You Have To File A Wrongful Death Claim?

Louisiana’s statute of limitations gives you one year to file a wrongful death claim after the wrongful death of a loved one.  This time limit usually starts from the date of your loved one’s death.  If you fail to file your lawsuit within this one-year time period your case will likely be dismissed for failing to meet the statute of limitations.  Consequently, it is important that you speak with an attorney that specializes in these types of cases as soon as possible.  Failure to take timely action can result in possible loss of the right to recover monetary damages.

Let J. Price McNamara Help You Get Justice

If you or a loved one has recently suffered from an injury or death, you may be entitled to compensation for your loss.  An aggressive personal injury attorney with extensive knowledge of Louisiana law is essential to getting you what you deserve for your injuries.  J. Price McNamara has been practicing law in Louisiana for many years and has an outstanding reputation amoung his peers and in the community.  Don’t take a chance on a discount attorney!  Call us today to schedule your free case review and get an experienced attorney on your side.  The legal team at the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara is waiting to help you with your case.

Louisiana Employee Seeks $1M for Injuries Sustained in Barge Collision

MARITIME LAW BATON ROUGE

ship-channel-spill-bargeAfter a collision, a barge sits partially emerged in the Houston Ship Channel, March 22, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

A Louisiana seaman, Sandrica Garrett, is suing over claims that she was injured in a ship collision in Galveston Bay on March 22.

The collision occurred between a barge (owned by Cleopatra Shipping Agency Ltd.) and 585-foot bulk carrier (owned by Kirby Inland Marine LP). Garret is suing Kirby, her employer, and Cleopatra for negligence. Both companies are accused of failing to supervise their crews.

The collision resulted in a large spill of oil and the barge sinking to the bottom of the channel. The channel was closed for several days because of the spill. This resulted in multiple other lawsuits from commercial fisherman and even between the barge and carrier.

As for Garret’s lawsuit, she claims she sustained injuries to her shoulders, eyes, and back in the collision. She is seeking $1M in damages.

Maritime Law Cases in Baton Rouge and Metairie, LA

For cases such as the one listed above, J. Price McNamara can effectively and aggressively represent maritime injury victims. If you have been injured in a ship collision or other injury due to a maritime accident, come to the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara for a free consultation to discuss the legal actions you can take.

Maritime law is actually controlled by special law that is different than Louisiana law. J. Price McNamara spent many years defending offshore drilling corporations and industrial vessel operators. He is now able to put that knowledge toward representing victims of maritime accidents.

Contact Law Offices of J. Price McNamara for Maritime Accidents

For special maritime law, you’ll need an experienced maritime attorney to represent you. J. Price McNamara has a familiarity with maritime law that is unmatched. We will answer any questions you have without obligation and FREE OF CHARGE. We limit the amount of cases we take at a given time in order to dedicate our full attention to you, the client. Contact us today.

St. Landry Parish Man Files Jones Act Claim in New Orleans Over Burn Injuries Received While Onboard Sinking Ship

JONES ACT, MARITIME AND OFFSHORE INJURIES

A St. Landry Parish man filed a Jones Act claim after he allegedly suffered burns while aboard a sinking offshore vessel. Earlier this month, Marc Mayer filed a lawsuit in New Orleans federal court against TK Marine Services, TK Towing Inc., CCS Energy Services, CCS 7525, and Phoenix Exploration Co. over burn injuries he purportedly received on August 11, 2010. According to Mayer, he was working onboard the M/V CCS Leader I when the ship unexpectedly began to sink. He claims he was burned during the event.

In his lawsuit, Mayer accuses the defendants of several acts of negligence including the failure to provide a safe working environment, properly maintain the vessel, provide workers with the proper safety equipment, and discover and correct unsafe vessel conditions. The companies are also accused of maintaining a vessel that was not seaworthy, providing inadequate supervision, failing to provide a sufficient number of trained workers, and continuing to employ workers who were careless and improperly trained. Mayer asked the court to provide him with compensation for medical costs, disability, pain, mental suffering, maintenance and cure, and punitive damages. He is also seeking an award of attorney’s fees and interest.

Employees injured while they are working offshore generally have no recourse through state workers’ compensation laws. Instead, offshore workers are protected by the Jones Act. The Act was passed by Congress in 1920 and allows an employee injured while working onboard a marine vessel to sue his or her employer directly based on the employer’s negligence or the ship’s lack of seaworthiness. The provisions of the Jones Act provide offshore workers with remedies previously unavailable through normal maritime laws.

To file a Jones Act claim, the vessel on which a worker’s injury occurred cannot be affixed to the seafloor and the worker must fit the Act’s definition of a seaman. Traditionally, courts have interpreted the Act so that most workers on a marine ship or other vessel are considered seamen. Damages available to an injured seaman under the Act include compensation for personal injuries and maintenance and cure. Non-pecuniary damage awards are prohibited under the Act, however. It can be difficult to determine an offshore worker’s status and the amount of damages a hurt worker may be awarded under the Jones Act. If you were injured offshore, it is advisable to contact a qualified Jones Act lawyer to evaluate your case.

J. Price McNamara is an experienced attorney. Contact the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara. He assists clients throughout the state including Lafourche, Orleans, Ascension, Lafayette, Jefferson, Kenner, St. John, Mandeville, East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, and Terrebonne Parishes. To discuss your personal injury case, contact J. Price McNamara through his website or call him today at (866) 248-0580.

Worker Injured on Ship in Gulf of Mexico Sues Employer in New Orleans Federal Court

JONES ACT, MARITIME AND OFFSHORE INJURIES

A worker has filed suit against his employer over injuries he sustained on a ship while swinging from a platform rope. On January 20th, David Thomas filed a lawsuit in New Orleans federal court against Oceaneering International, Inc. According to Thomas, he injured his shoulder on October 27, 2011 while working as a crewmember aboard the DSV Ocean Project. Thomas claims he became injured swinging on a rope from a platform onto the ship while the DSV Ocean Project was engaged in performing commercial diving operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

Thomas has accused his employer of negligence and alleged Oceaneering International failed to provide him with proper safety equipment, a safe working environment, and a properly manned ship. He requested a jury trial and is seeking compensation for maintenance and cure, lost wages and fringe benefits, medical expenses, lost earning capacity, court costs, and attorney’s fees.

Workers who are injured at sea usually have little recourse through state workers’ compensation laws. Instead, they are protected by the Jones Act, a federal law. The Jones Act was passed by Congress in 1920 to protect marine employees injured while working offshore on a floating vessel. The Act provides an injured employee with the right to sue his or her marine employer directly. For the law’s protections to apply, an offshore vessel must be mobile and the injured worker must fit the Act’s definition of a seaman. Traditionally, courts have classified a worker’s status broadly to include most staff on a ship or other vessel within the definition of “seaman.”

Generally, Jones Act claims are predicated on an act of negligence or allegations of a marine vessel’s lack of seaworthiness. The Jones Act provides an employee with the opportunity to seek maintenance and cure and recover for personal injuries. The Act does not allow for non-pecuniary awards, however. Determining a marine employee’s seaman status and the amount of compensation an injured seaman may receive under the Jones Act can be complicated. If you were injured while working at sea, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced Jones Act attorney to help you determine your seaman status and protect your rights.

If you have questions regarding an injury you received while working offshore, our New Orleans maritime and offshore injury attorneys can help. J. Price McNamara will assist you in determining your employee status and seeking damages for your injuries. Our experienced Jones Act attorneys represent clients throughout Louisiana, including Baton Rouge, Metairie, New Orleans, Lafayette, and Mandeville. For a free initial consultation, call J. Price McNamara today at (866) 248-0580. You may also contact us through our website.

Italian Cruise Disaster Has Not Slowed New Orleans Cruise Vacation Bookings

MARITIME AND OFFSHORE INJURIES, PERSONAL INJURY

Surprisingly, cruise vacation bookings in New Orleans have not slowed following the Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster off of the coast of Italy last week. Last Friday, the ship began taking on water after it struck a rock formation while carrying more than 4,000 people from across the world. About two hours later, the Costa Concordia became disabled and tipped on its side near Giglio Island. Following the accident, eleven bodies were recovered and 21 people still remain missing.

The Costa Concordia was reportedly traveling too close to the rocky Italian shoreline when it was damaged. A unit of Carnival Corporation, Costa Crociere, operated the cruise ship and has blamed the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, for the disaster. According to Costa Crociere, Captain Schettino violated operating procedures when he deviated from the ship’s approved course.

Local travel agents have stated the Costa Concordia tragedy has not had an effect on cruise bookings out of New Orleans during what is traditionally the busiest time of year for their agencies. The period from mid-January through late March is generally when most people book their cruise vacations for the year. One travel agent, Bob Wall, claims he has not had any customers cancel cruise vacation plans in response to the disaster, nor is he receiving calls requesting more information about the accident. Wall also said he cannot recall seeing such a dramatically disabled ship as the Costa Concordia during his 28 years working in the travel industry.

Many Louisiana travel agents believe cruise bookings have continued because human error purportedly caused the Costa Concordia tragedy. Wall has stated he thinks the cruise industry would be facing larger challenges as a result of the accident if instead the ship had failed numerous safety inspections or if Costa Crociere had a history of putting the lives of passengers in jeopardy.

In response to the Costa Concordia accident, Carnival Corporation has stated publicly the company is working hard to fully understand what caused the disaster. The Cruise Lines International Association also issued a press release reminding would be vacationers that this type of accident is exceedingly rare and cruising is generally a safe means of travel.

The director of cruise operations at the Port of New Orleans, Robert Jumonville, believes the accident will not have a major effect on worldwide cruise operating procedures. He also stated the likelihood a similar disaster would occur off of the coast of New Orleans is remote as the marshy, muddy shoreline of Louisiana is quite different than the rocky shoreline of Italy. Ships that get stuck in the mud generally need towed out, but do not begin taking on water. According to Jumonville, the biggest risk at the Port of New Orleans is the possibility of two vessels colliding.

If you or a loved one was injured while on board a cruise ship or other vessel, it is important to discuss your case with a knowledgeable lawyer. J. Price McNamara is an experienced Contact the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara. He handles wrongful death, personal injury, and maritime law cases throughout Louisiana including Baton Rouge, Metairie, New Orleans, Lafayette, and Mandeville. To schedule a no cost initial consultation, you may contact him through his website or call him today at (866) 248-0580.