Claims: Jones Act/Maintenance and Cure/Unseaworthiness
Jury Verdict: $350,000.00 ($340,500.00 after contributory negligence off-set; judgment not yet entered). No fees have been collected to date.
On June 15, 2018, a Harris County District Court Jury (Houston, Texas) found that Noble Drilling (US) LLC provided an unseaworthy vessel that caused injuries to Nathan Deaver. The jury also found that Noble unreasonably and callously failed to provide Mr. Deaver with maintenance and cure benefits. Michael Patrick Doyle, Patrick Dennis, and Jeffrey Avery of Doyle LLP represented Mr. Deaver as trial counsel.
The plaintiff is a Texas resident who worked as a floor-hand on the drillship the M/V Noble Tom Madden – a vessel owned and operated by the Houston-based Noble Drilling. In more detail, Mr. Deaver claimed that Noble failed to provide a vessel with a properly manned and experienced crew, and that Noble also failed to provide proper safety instructions related to his work in the shaker room aboard the vessel. Despite repeated requests to Noble by Mr. Deaver, Noble failed to provide Mr. Deaver with the necessary staffing and caused Mr. Deaver to suffer an injury to his ankle, heel and foot.
Based on this conduct, the jury found that M/V Tom Madden was unseaworthy and that Noble was responsible for Mr. Deaver’s injuries. Related to this claim, the jury awarded Mr. Deaver $10,000 for past physical pain, $10,000 for past mental anguish, $50,000 for future lost earning capacity, and $25,000 for future medical care.
In addition, Mr. Deaver also alleged that following his injury, Noble failed to authorize a surgery for his injured ankle. The jury found that Noble failed to provide Mr. Deaver with its owed cure obligation under the Jones Act and awarded him an additional $30,000 in damages. In addition, the jury also found that Noble’s failure to pay for the cure benefits was unreasonable and awarded $125,000 in damages.
Finally, the jury also found that Noble’s failure to provide cure was willful and wanton, and the jury awarded $100,000 in attorney’s fees for representation of Mr. Deaver at the trial level. The jury also awarded $22,000 for representation at the Court of Appeals, $22,000 for representation for the petition-for-review stage to the Supreme Court, $10,000 for representation for the merits-briefing stage at the Supreme Court, and $10,000.00 for representation for oral argument at the Supreme Court.
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