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V&E Secures $11.6 Million Judgment for Captain Jay Rivera at U.S. Fifth Circuit

V&E Secures $11.6 Million Judgment for Captain Jay Rivera at U.S. Fifth Circuit Background Image

On December 22, 2019 the U.S. Fifth Circuit affirmed an $11.6 million judgment for Vinson & Elkins client Captain Jay Rivera. Captain Rivera, a harbor pilot, was badly injured when boarding a vessel owned by Kirby Offshore Marine, LLC (Kirby). District Court Judge George Hanks found Kirby liable under both theories offered by Captain Rivera and awarded damages for Captain Rivera’s lost future earnings as a harbor pilot.

In a published opinion, the panel rejected all five of Kirby’s appellate arguments, holding that (1) our client was eligible to bring a strict-liability, unseaworthiness claim against the vessel on which he was injured; (2) the vessel under review was unseaworthy; (3) the District Court’s finding of no contributory negligence on the part of our client was not erroneous; (4) the District Court did not abuse its discretion by admitting evidence of subsequent remedial measures; and (5) the District Court’s calculation of our client’s damage was not erroneous.

V&E’s Appellate group was retained to handle the appeal, which featured complex statutory interpretation issues and conflicting circuit-level precedent. Partner Marie Yeates gave oral argument via Zoom from V&E’s Houston office, assisted by Parker Cragg.

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