The Importance of Timely Filing a Claim in Any Limitation Action If a Worker is Injured in an Incident Involving a Vessel

Published by The Pellegrin Firm January 31, 2021

The Uniform Statute of Limitations for Maritime Torts establishes a three-year statute of limitations for claims arising from injury occurring on navigable waters. The Uniform Statute applies to actions under the Jones Act, as well as to claims by seamen for injuries based on unseaworthiness of a vessel and claims for any other party’s negligence arising under general maritime law. The statute is codified at 46 U.S.C.A. § 30106.

Court Finds Aetna Erred in Denying Long-Term Disability Benefits to Software Management Engineer

Published by The Pellegrin Firm December 26, 2020

A federal district court in California recently found that Aetna erred in denying long-term disability benefits to a Software Management Engineer employed by Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a federally funded research facility owned by NASA and managed by California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

What Must an ERISA Summary Plan Description Contain?

Published by The Pellegrin Firm October 18, 2020

According to a provision of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1024(b)(1), ERISA plan administrators must provide a summary plan description (“SPD”) to beneficiaries and the SPD must “reasonably apprise [plan] participants and beneficiaries of their rights and obligations under the plan” and must be “written in a manner calculated to be understood by the average plan participant.”

New Orleans Federal Judge Denies Motion for Summary Judgment in Disability Insurance Case, Finding Disputed Issues of Fact Exist

Published by The Pellegrin Firm September 27, 2020

In a recent ruling, U.S. District Court judge Martin Feldman of the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans denied a plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of whether the disability insurance policy he was suing on was governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”). ERISA is a federal law that governs insurance policies that are part of group plans sponsored by private employers. In most litigation, the standard of review is more plaintiff-friendly under state insurance law than under ERISA. In addition, state law provides for remedies and penalties that ERISA does not.

Judge of U.S. Court of Middle District of Louisiana Remands Long-term Disability Case to Insurance Company for Further Review

Published by The Pellegrin Firm September 15, 2020

In a recent case out of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, Judge John W. deGravelles remanded a case to Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Company to reconsider its termination of a truck driver’s long-term disability benefits. Hartford paid two years of benefits, finding the plaintiff could not return to his old job considering the severity of his back condition. However, Hartford terminated benefits after two years, because the policy states that benefits are only payable after two years if the claimant cannot perform the substantial duties of any occupation.

Houston Court Finds No Personal Jurisdiction over Houma Company in Jones Act Suit

Published by The Pellegrin Firm August 30, 2020

On June 23, 2020, a Texas appellate court found that no personal jurisdiction existed over Houma, Louisiana-based Baywater Drilling, LLC in Texas state court. The case arose out of an alleged injury of a Jones Act plaintiff in waters off of Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. Baywater Drilling is a Delaware limited liability company, but its principal place of business is in Houma, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana.

Loss of Household Services in Jones Act Cases

Published by The Pellegrin Firm August 2, 2020

On October 1, 2019, a U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Tennessee-Nashville Division, ruled on whether a Jones Act plaintiff may recover damages for the loss of his household services. The court had to determine if a Jones Act plaintiff can recover such damages based on personal injury rather than death.

New Orleans-Based Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling on if a Smartphone Manufacturer Can be Held Liable for Causing a Car Accident Death

Published by The Pellegrin Firm July 25, 2020

On December 18, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit based in New Orleans ruled that a smartphone manufacturer cannot be held responsible for a car accident under Texas law because its device made a sound that allegedly caused an accident.

When Will a Louisiana Appellate Court Overturn a Jury’s Damage Award in a Car Accident Case?

Published by The Pellegrin Firm July 20, 2020

Louisiana appellate courts are generally less deferential to lower courts than appellate courts in other states on issues of fact-finding and damages. However, if a jury’s award is based on reasonable grounds, Louisiana appellate courts will generally let it stand.