Louisiana Supreme Court to Address Whether Permanently Moored Casinos Are “Vessels” Under Maritime Law

The Louisiana Supreme Court will soon consider whether the Grand Palais casino in Lake Charles, Louisiana, qualifies as a “vessel” under the Jones Act and general maritime law. Indeed, the Court recently granted certiorari and agreed to review the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision in Caldwell v. St Charles Gaming, 18-868 (La. App. 4 Cir. 07/03/19), 2019 La. App. LEXIS 1208. In an en banc decision, the Third Circuit held that the Grand Palais casino is a “vessel,” meaning that many of its employees qualify as Jones Act seamen and would be entitled to maintenance and cure benefits in the event of a work-related injury. Additionally, unlike traditional workers’ compensation laws, the Jones Act allows covered employees to pursue negligence claims against their employers, which makes the “vessel” classification even more significant. Continue Reading