Houston Appellate Court Strips $2.6 Million Judgment from Oil Platform Worker

In Houston, a state appellate court reversed a $2.8 million jury verdict rendered by the Texas Court of Appeals, according to a news report in Business Insurance on Tuesday.

Luke Meyers was working on an oil and gas platform off the Louisiana coast in May of 2011 when a crane cable snapped and caused a 62.5-pound weight to fall nearly 50 feet. The force struck Meyers and crushed his foot. He sued W&T Offshore Inc., the platform owner.

The jury submitted a general-negligence question rather than premises-liability and found W&T negligent, ordering a $2.8 million award. W&T appealed the jury’s decision. Tuesday’s ruling also granted Meyers a rehearing of the case “to seek a remand in the interest of justice” as the trial court failed to apply the correct legal standard in the case.

The three-judge appellate court panel unanimously found that the judgment must be reversed because Texas courts must apply Louisiana substantive law as surrogate federal law under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. Meyers filed a motion for rehearing.

“Because we clarify in this appeal how a premises-liability theory should be submitted under Louisiana law, as surrogate federal law mandated by OCSLA, we remand in the interest of justice rather than render a take-nothing judgment,” the appeals court’s ruling states. “The judgment against W&T is reversed, and the case is remanded for additional proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

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