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Port of Brownsville

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Port of Brownsville

Connected to the Gulf of Mexico through a 17-mile-long ship channel, the Port of Brownsville is a deepwater seaport located at the southernmost tip of Texas. The Port of Brownsville spans across approximately 40,000 acres of land, with 1 million square feet of covered storage and 3 million square feet of open storage. It also includes 6 liquid cargo docks and 13 cargo docks. The authorized depth of the Port is 42 feet and Congress recently authorized the Port to be deepened to 52 feet. There are approximately 51,000 jobs on the Port of Brownsville and contributes $3 billion annually to the State of Texas’ economy.

The Port of Brownsville is an important gateway for trade between Mexico and South Texas. The railroad connections and ships facilitate transportation of goods to various destinations. Currently, the Port as Foreign Trade Zone No. 62 is ranked second in the nation for the value of its exports, and twentieth overall among all the other Foreign Trade Zones for their value of imports. In the past year, the Port has exported commodities valued at $5.2 billion and imported commodities valued at $4.5 billion. The top three commodities traded through the Port are petroleum products, steel, and metals

Port of Brownsville
The Port of Brownsville plays a crucial role in facilitating trade and supporting the economy of the region of South Texas. When it comes to imports, the Port handles a variety of products, including oil, chemicals, metals, and dry bulk. This includes steel slab, hot and cold roll, steel plate, steel beams, iron ore, pig iron, aluminum T-bars and ingots, gasoline, diesel, natural gas, wax, latex, lube oil, sugar, salt, minerals, grains, windmill components, cement, aggregate, and containerized cargo. Similarly, its imports include steel slab, hot and cold roll, steel plate, steel beams, iron ore, pig iron, aluminum T-bars and ingots, gasoline, diesel, natural gas, wax, latex, lube oil, sugar, salt, minerals, grains, windmill components, cement, aggregate, and containerized cargo.

Accidents may pose a danger to the workers and environment around the Port of Brownsville. Examples of accidents which may occur are but not limited to collisions, ship grounding, chemical spills, overboard accidents, slips and falls from unsafe working conditions, crane accidents, drownings, electrocutions, and wrongful death. There is also a risk of cargo being accidentally dropped on workers or machinery malfunctioning.

From these accidents listed, injuries which could occur at the Port may vary from level of pain and body parts affected and can even have severe consequences. Examples of injuries which may occur are but not limited to back and neck injuries, herniated discs and brain injuries, loss of limbs, lung problems, torn muscles, ligaments, or tendons, broken bones, burns compartment syndrome, crush injuries, deep cuts or lacerations, drowning or near-drowning incidents, smoke inhalation and cancers due to toxic chemical exposures. Traumatic brain injuries, smoke inhalation, and even cancers due to chemical exposure are faced at a higher risk by longshoremen and other dock workers.

Types of workers on this Port include maritime workers, longshore workers, Jones Act workers, and dock workers and seamen in general

  • Although the potential dangers listed above may scare people from engaging in activities on the Port of Brownsville, it remains as a thriving center of trade and commerce.
  • Many efforts are made to ensure the safety of workers and the environment around the Port. Several notable companies such as Sunoco LP, Valero, CITGO Petroleum, CEMEX, and Forza Steel, LLC which are affiliated and working on this Port. (Sunoco LP, Valero, and CITGO Petroleum are involved in the oil and gas industry, while CEMEX is involved in building materials and Forza Steel, LLC specializes in steel fabrication).
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$7.86 Million

$7.86 Million – Gillies V. Valaris PLC

Claims: Jones Act/Maritime Law

Jury Verdict: $7.86 million – Gillies v. Valaris PLC

On January 12, 2022, Doyle Dennis Avery LLP secured a $7.86 million verdict on behalf of Gordon Gillies, a drill ship operations adviser, who was injured while working on a vessel in the Gulf of Mexico.

Mr. Gillies brought claims for negligence against Valaris PLC (formerly Ensco/Rowan Drilling) and for unseaworthiness of its vessel, the drillship DS-15.  At trial, the jury determined that Valaris failed to maintain a stair case from the derrick elevator down to the “deadman” deck of the vessel.  Specifically, the second step on the stair case lacked a protective bullnose – an important safety guard at the end of each step. As a result of this defect, Mr. Gillies fell and suffered injuries to his tail bone, back, and spine.

After hearing four days of testimony and argument in the 270th District Court of Harris County, the jury attributed 90% of the negligence that caused the client’s injuries to Valaris and only 10% to the client. Even more telling, the jury attributed 99% of the unseaworthiness of the ship to Valaris and only 1% to the client.

Ultimately, the jury agreed with Doyle Dennis Avery LLP and found that Valaris was negligent in creating the dangerous conditions on the ship. The jury awarded $1,821,000 in past damages (including pain, mental anguish, loss of earning capacity, disfigurement, impairment, and medical care) and $6,040,000 in future damages (including pain, mental anguish, loss of earning capacity, impairment, and medical care).


$350,000 – Deaver V. Noble Drilling (US) LLC

Claims: Jones Act/Maintenance and Cure/Unseaworthiness

Jury Verdict: $350,000.00 ($340,500.00 after contributory negligence offset; judgment not yet entered).

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 Dennis Avery 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 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.