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Home Jones Act Defenses Charles R. Luckey v Moncla Marine Operations, L.L.C.
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Jones Act - Defenses
Tuesday, 19 May 2009 20:40
Case Name: Charles R. Luckey v Moncla Marine Operations, L.L.C.
Date of Judgment: 7th April 2009
Court: U.S.D.C. - E.D. Louisiana.
Judge: District Judge Berrigan
Citation: 2009 WL 960145 (E.D.La.)

Background: The plaintiff, Charles R. Luckey ("Seaman") filed a motion to sever and expedite the trial of his maintenance and cure claim against the defendant, Moncla Marine Operations ("Employer").



Seaman alleged that he was injured when lifting a large board on the employer's vessel.  Seaman was recommended for surgery in July 2008 by his personal doctor. However, his employer stopped making maintenance payments in July 2008, contesting the injury.

The employer countered the seaman's motion to sever and expedite. He disputed whether there was an accident. In addition, he argued the expedited hearing could not happen, in light of the amount of discovery and depositions that were needed.  Finally, the employer stated that a trial on the entire case, not just maintenance and cure, would better resolve the issues.

Issue: Whether the Court will approve the seaman's request to sever and expedite trial on the maintenance and cure claims.

Held: The seaman's motion to sever and set trial to only the maintenance and cure claims was denied. The discovery sought would either show that the accident happened while the seaman was working on the employer's vessel, or it would not. The Court held the same discovery was needed for the Jones Act claims. Thus, it was logical to try all the issues together.

The Court held that expediting the trial would be nearly impossible. The Court was set to preside over three capital cases, which would have statutory preference over this claim.

The parties would need to consult a magistrate judge if they desired to set an expedited trial on the calendar.


Courts prefer to try cases according to the day they are set for trial.  The court calendars quickly fill up with cases, and it is nearly impossible to expedite a case forward.

For this particular case, magistrate judges are especially helpful. Often their calendars are not as full, and they are able to expedite a case.  However, the judge will not move up the trial date without a valid reason.

An important aspect to whether a judge will expedite claims is discovery.  When discovery is the same for various claims in your suit, a judge will likely not permit severance.  This would require more work for each party. The judge will find it most efficient to try all the claims together.

Steve Gordon


Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 October 2009 04:21

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