Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Southwest Marine v Gizoni case brief

Southwest Marine v Gizoni case brief summary
Supreme Court of the US, 1991, Justice White

  • Southwest Marine operates a ship repair facility in San Diego.
  • In connection with the repairs, Southwest owns several platforms.
  • The platforms have no means for navigation, they are move alongside the vessels under repair.
  • The platforms are used to move equipment and on to an off of the vessels under repair.
  • Byron Gizoni was employed by Southwest as a rigging foreman.
  • Gizoni worked on the floating platforms and rode them as they were towed into place.
  • Gizoni suffered disabling leg and back injuries in a fall when his foot broke through a thin wooden sheet covering a hole in the deck of a platform being used to transport a rudder from the shipyard to a floating drydock.

  • The LHWCA preserves the Jones Act remedy for vessel crewmen, even if they are employed by a shipyard. A maritime worker is limited to LHWCA remedies only if no genuine issue of fact exists as to whether the worker was a seaman under the Jones Act.
  • Where the evidence is sufficient to send the threshold question of seaman status to the jury, it is reversible error to permit an employer to prove that the worker accepted LHWCA benefits while awaiting trial.
  • An employee who receives voluntary payments under the LHWCA without a formal award is not barred from subsequently seeking relief under the Jones Act.
  • Any amount paid to an employee for the same injury pursuant to the Jones Act shall be credited against any liability imposed by the LHWCA.
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