On March 10, 2014, the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that a land-based vessel repair supervisor was entitled to status as a Jones Act seaman.
Elevating Boats, LLC operates 26-30 lift boats out of Houma, Louisiana. Larry Naquin, Sr., a vessel repair supervisor was seriously injured while testing one of the shipyard cranes at the shipyard.
In the decision Naquin was able to recover under the Jones Act even though:
- Naquin rarely spent the night aboard a vessel;
- He was a shore-based repair supervisor who worked at a shipyard
- The vessels where Naquin worked were ordinarily docked; and
- Naquin never ventured out into the immediate canal area or onto open sea.
Seaman status used the two-prong test from Chandris v. Latsis.
A worker must prove that :
- his job contributes to the function of the vessel or accomplishment of its mission
- that his connection to a vessel in navigation is substantial in duration and nature.
In this case the court quickly determined that Naquin spent 70% of his time repairing and operating cranes and other equipment aboard the lift boats (even though it was at the dock), Naquin could satisfy the requirement.