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August 2013

Gordon & Rees San Diego Partner Jim McMullen Quoted in Business Insurance

On Aug. 11, Gordon & Rees San Diego partner Jim McMullen was quoted in an article in Business Insurance.

The article, titled “Workers Comp Coverage for Mid-Market Marine Firms Complicated by Multiple Laws,” discusses the challenges of having two federal statutes, the U.S. Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and the Jones Act, as remedies for marine worker injury claims and the confusion they can cause maritime employers when choosing insurance coverage.

McMullen, who was counsel of record for the employer in the 1991 precedent-setting case Southwest Marine Inc. v. Byron Gizoni, said, “The Supreme Court has wrestled with the dividing line between longshoremen and seamen for a long time.” In Southwest Marine, the high court affirmed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and held that a maritime worker whose occupation is one of those enumerated in the U.S. Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) and thus swept under the coverage of the LHWCA may nevertheless be a seaman entitled to pursue a jury trial against his or her employer pursuant to the Jones Act and general maritime law.

Marine employers must entertain the possibility of needing more than one type of insurance coverage for industrial injuries to their employees. In some states, and under some circumstances maritime employers may also require state workers compensation cover, McMullen said, making it necessary to carry three duplicative and overlapping types of coverage for the same employees' industrial injuries. This includes coverage for a federal workers compensation program, coverage for a state workers compensation program and coverage for the maritime civil remedies available to seamen.

McMullen, a nationally recognized leader in maritime employment law, represents a wide range of clients in the maritime and related transportation industries. McMullen spoke last year at several seminars on maritime employment issues, including the Pacific Admiralty Seminar.  He is a noted labor and employment lawyer, member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and rated AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell. He also received the Super Lawyers® distinction in the fields of Employment & Labor, Transportation/Maritime, and Business Litigation since 2007, was selected as one of the “Top 50 San Diego Super Lawyers” from 2007-2012, and has been listed in the 20th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America© in the practice area of Employment Law - Management. 

To read the full article, please click here.

James McMullen