Frilot L.L.C. is recognized as one of the leading maritime firms in the Gulf South. The Admiralty & Maritime Practice Group has been privileged to represent clients in all courts (both state and federal) in Louisiana and throughout the Gulf Coast Region. From single personal injury claims to multi-million dollar disasters, our attorneys are known for their willingness, readiness and ability to handle cases, even against the most formidable opponents. The Admiralty & Maritime Practice Group has the experience and technical expertise to get the results our clients demand.
The firm currently represents a variety of maritime clients including tug and barge owners and operators, ocean-going vessel owners and operators, oil companies, offshore vessel operators, and oil field service companies, as well as domestic and international P & I clubs and insurers. Representative clients of this section include: UK P&I Club, the American P&I Club, Osprey Underwriting Agency (on behalf of Lloyds), Lexington, AIG, ACE, ACE-INA, Zurich, Hiscox, Tidewater, Baker Hughes, ACBL, Kirby Inland Marine, Dolphin Towing, American Commercial Barge Lines and Nabors Offshore.
Following are types of cases defended by the Admiralty & Maritime Practice Group:
In addition to handling personal injury and property damage cases arising in the oilfield, firm attorneys litigate the enforceability of defense, indemnity and additional assured provisions contained in Master Service Agreements routinely executed between oilfield producers and their contractors. This type of litigation often involves choice of law analysis, and, under Louisiana law, asserting claims for defense costs and arguing for exceptions to the Louisiana Oilfield Indemnity Act (LOIA). Under the Texas Anti-Indemnity Act (TAIA), we often litigate whether indemnity obligations contained in Master Service Agreements are reciprocal and supported by insurance, or whether insurance obligations stand alone from indemnity obligations.
Amoco Oil Company v. Lexington Insurance Company
The firm’s work in raising statutory and public-policy defenses to coverage gained notoriety as a result of its role in this case. The case served to set limitations on the recent trend in the offshore oil industry of attempts to circumvent the Louisiana Oilfield Anti-Indemnity Act, which otherwise invalidates certain additional assured agreements in liability insurance policies.
Mediterranean Shipping Co. v. Monsanto
Monsanto was successfully defended by lawyers in the Admiralty & Maritime Group from a claim for container demurrage that occurred when thirty containers of seed were seized by Romanian Customs authorities. The shipping company blamed Monsanto for not making clearance arrangements, but a federal court in Houston held that the shipping company was responsible, and refused to allow the demurrage charge.
DeShazo v Baker Hughes Oilfield Operations
Former employee sued former employer to recover damages for injuries he received in auto accident in Egypt in which he was a passenger in a vehicle being driven by an employee of a subsidiary of the employer. USDC for SD Tex. granted summary judgment against the employee. 5th Circuit affirmed, holding that employee was limited to La. worker’s compensation remedies under Texas choice of law rules.
Beasley v. U.S. Welding Service, Inc.
Representing Horizon Offshore Contractors, Inc. and Horizon Vessles, Inc., firm attorneys secured a defense verdict in a maritime personal injury claim filed by a contractor’s employee that was allegedly injured on board a vessel owned and operated by Horizon. In dismissing plaintiff’s claim, the Court found that there was no support for plaintiff’s claims of negligence and unseaworthiness and that plaintiff’s injuries were consistent with injuries suffered prior to the subject accident.
Hasty v. Trans Atlas Boats Inc.
The firm represented the Trans Atlas in a claim brought by an employee who was injured when he intervened in an altercation between deckhands. The altercation erupted when one deckhand, Brown, came to work intoxicated, was sent home, yet re-boarded the vessel and started a fight with another crew member. The plaintiff claimed negligence under the Jones Act and unseaworthiness under general maritime law. The court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment, ruling that Brown’s subsequent violent behavior was not foreseeable, and Atlas’ actions did not constitute negligence under the Jones Act.
Nunez v. B&B Dredging
The U.S. Fifth Circuit overruled the district court and held that the plaintiff, a dredge dump foreman, was not a Jones Act seaman, even though every other member of his crew was a seaman. Firm attorneys argued successfully that the plaintiff did not have a “substantial connection in duration” to the subject dredge. The Fifth Circuit agreed and clarified its earlier Jones Act seaman status analysis/test. This case remains the Fifth Circuit’s most recent ruling regarding seaman status. Plaintiff’s writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court was denied
In the Matter of Superior Crewboats, Inc.
The U.S. Fifth Circuit overruled the district court and held that a Jones Act seaman, who failed to disclose a purported $2.5 million personal injury lawsuit in his personal bankruptcy proceeding, was precluded from prosecuting his personal injury claim against his employer. The Fifth Circuit held that the seaman was judicially estopped from asserting a Jones Act claim against his employer because he knowingly represented in his bankruptcy pleading that he had “no assets,” which would include a personal injury lawsuit. Frilot L.L.C. represented the interests of plaintiff’s Jones Act employer/vessel owner.
Preatto v. Tidewater Marine, Inc.
The firm defended Tidewater Marine in action for maintenance and cure brought by deckhand who sustained knee and back injury in fall on vessel. Following a jury trial in Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, the court found for the deckhand under the Jones Act, but found in favor of the defendant with regard to whether the ship was unseaworthy. Deckhand appealed, and the Fourth Circuit of Louisiana affirmed.
Richard v. Transocean Drilling Co.
Plaintiff brought suit pursuant to 33 U.S.C. 905(b), commonly referred to as the Longshore & Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA), alleging vessel negligence. Transocean was the owner/operator of the rig on which plaintiff was allegedly injured. The court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, finding that the plaintiff failed to raise an issue if fact as to any of the duties pertinent to a 905(b) claim.
Commitment to Diversity
Frilot L.L.C. is committed to fostering a working environment that promotes diversity. The firm believes that diversity of experience, diversity in clients and diversity in the courtroom makes us a more powerful legal resource. We recruit, retain and advance qualified individuals of all backgrounds and cultural influences. This diversity makes for a richer environment which promotes creative thinking and innovative client solutions.
While we are encouraged by what we have accomplished in our pursuit of diversity, the firm strives to strengthen and advance our commitment to attract and retain women and minorities. Recognizing that recruitment is only one facet of our overall commitment to diversity, we are also focused in our efforts to develop and sustain a work environment that empowers all people, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or background, to perform to the best of their abilities.
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