Dubuisson v. A.I.S., Inc. of Massachusetts
ORDER and REASONS denying 15 Motion for Summary Judgment directed at seaman status, as stated within document. Signed by Chief Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt on 5/10/2017. (NEF: MAG-3) (cbs)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
A.I.S., INC. OF MASSACHUSETTS
SECTION "N" (3)
ORDER AND REASONS
Presently before the Court is the motion for summary judgment (Rec. Doc. 15) filed
by Defendant A.I.S., Inc. of Massachusetts ("A.I.S.") relative to Plaintiff Richard Dubuisson's
alleged "seaman status" for purpose of his Jones Act and maintenance and cure claims. Because the
Court has granted, by separate order, Defendant's motion addressed to the evidentiary sufficiency
of Plaintiff's Jones Act negligence and unseaworthiness claims (Rec. Doc. 14), it is the Court's
understanding that only Plantiff's maintenance and cure claims remain at issue in this litigation.
Having carefully considered the parties' competing submissions and applicable law,
the Court finds that Defendant's motion must be denied. To prove seaman status, a plaintiff must
show that: (1) his duties contributed to the function of the vessel or the accomplishment of its
mission; and (2) he has a connection to a vessel in navigation or to an identifiable group of such
vessels that is substantial in terms of both its duration and nature. See, e.g., Chandris, Inc. v. Latsis,
515 U.S. 347, 368 (1995). As a general rule, "a worker who spend less than about 30 percent of his
time in service of a vessel in navigation should not qualify as a seaman." Id. at 371. Given that
Plaintiff undisputedly spent 31% of the time aboard Captain Tolbert's vessel during the August 17 -
December 1, 2015 oyster sampling project, and Defendant's acknowledgement that Plaintiff's duties
contributed to accomplishment of the vessel's mission, the Court, on the instant showing made, is not
in a position to conclude that Plaintiff lacks seaman status as a matter of law. Rather, that question
appears to be appropriately left to the trier-of-fact, the jury, for determination. Accordingly, IT IS
ORDERED that Defendant's motion for summary judgment directed at seaman status (Rec. Doc. 15)
New Orleans, Louisiana, this 10th day of May 2017.
KURT D. ENGELHARDT
United States District Judge
Clerk to Copy:
Magistrate Judge Knowles
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