Moran Shipping, SeaRiver Maritime granted summary judgment in Jones Act suit

David Yates Nov. 18, 2014, 12:02pm

Moran Shipping and SeaRiver Maritime recently had their motion for summary judgment granted in a lawsuit alleging the companies are liable for damages the plaintiff suffered while at sea.

As previously reported, Adam Hofman filed a lawsuit Feb. 11, 2013 in Jefferson County District Court against Sabine Ship Service, Alston E. Bourne III and ExxonMobil.

Moran Shipping and SeaRiver Maritime were later added as defendants.

According to his complaint, Hofman rode on a Sabine transport boat on May 28, 2011, which Bourne was quickly and recklessly navigating to a waiting vessel in the middle of the ocean. Because of the way Bourne was operating the vehicle, Hofman was tossed inside the boat. At one point, he was thrown from his seat and hit his head on the roof of the cabin, knocking him unconscious.

Moran had contracted with Sabine Ship Service to provide Hofman transportation to a SeaRiver vessel.

Court records show that on Oct. 9 Moran Shipping and SeaRiver Maritime filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing there is no evidence to support Hofman’s claims of negligence.

“The plaintiff cannot prevail in this matter under any theory presented,” the motion states.

“First, the plaintiff is not entitled to bring an unseaworthiness claim. Second, defendants retained no control over the operation of the Sabine vessel. Alternatively, there is simply no evidence that plaintiff can present to hold defendants liable.”

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, granted the motion on Nov. 12, ruling that Moran Shipping and SeaRiver Maritime have a final judgment rendered in their favor and that Hofman take nothing.

Hofman sought damages for a compression fracture of his spine; experienced physical pain, suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment and disfigurement, lost earnings and incurred medical costs.

James C. Ferrell and Bradlyn J. Cole of Houston represent him.

Moran Shipping and SeaRiver Maritime are represented by the Houston firm J. Diamond and Associates.

Case No. E193-919

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