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$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 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 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).

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