ALJ says car wreck not OCSLA-covered

by Matthew H. Ammerman on February 5th, 2016

Administrative Law Judge Larry Price issued a decision and order in Grabert v. Besco Tubular[1] only a month before the Board’s Boudreaux case described in an earlier  post. Judge Price rejected OCSLA coverage of a car wreck.

Grabert was hurt in an automobile wreck while riding in his supervisor’s personal vehicle on the way from the employer’s company office to Cameron, Louisiana, to catch a boat to take the crew to work on a platform on the OCS.

Judge Price rejected the trial judge’s reasoning in the Boudreaux case because it essentially would be adopting the defunct but-for test used by the Third Circuit in Curtis v. Schlumberger Offshore Service, Inc., which was rejected by the Supreme Court in 2012's Valladolid case.

Judge Price also differentiates the status-based reasoning used by Grabert because the Supreme Court in Valladolid held that OCSLA coverage was causation-based by adopting the substantial-nexus standard. Specifically, the judge found that focusing on the type of work performed by the injured worker was the wrong inquiry. Instead, the proper focus was whether the worker’s injuries were “substantially causally linked” to his employer’s on-Shelf extractive operations in Judge Price’s view.

Borrowing language from the Board’s Baker case that held a land-based injury was not covered by OCSLA, Judge Price found that Grabert’s auto wreck was “‘geographically, temporally[,] and functionally distant from  operations conducted for the purpose of extracting natural resources from the [Shelf].”[2] He found that OCSLA did not apply, and Grabert’s sole remedy was under state compensation law.

[1] Grabert v. Besco Tubular and American Interst. Ins. Co., 2015-LHC-00925 (November 17, 2015)(Price, J.).
[2] Id., Slip Op. at *7, citing Baker v. Gulf Island Marine Fabricators, LLC, 49 BRBS 45 (2015).


Posted in OCSLA    Tagged with Valladolid, OCSLA

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