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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Late one evening, at the end of their 12-hour shift, Craig Guidry and several of his fellow crew members left the Ocean Tower, a jack-up offshore rig docked for repairs in the Sabine Pass shipyard, and drove in two vehicles about five miles down the road to see the Ocean Confidence, a much larger rig also owned by their employer, Diamond Offshore Management Co. Diamond did not object to their leaving. The weather was too foggy for anyone to get a good look, so they went instead over to the Chicken Crossing, a nearby karaoke bar, arriving about midnight. The testimony admitted at trial is conflicting about whether they had anything alcoholic to drink. They all left about 2:00 a.m., when the bar closed, to return to their rig, since they were in the middle of a two- or three-week hitch during which they lived and worked on the rig. Although it was drizzling, Guidry decided to ride in the bed of the pickup driven by his co-worker, Sammy Martinez. On the way, Martinez was speeding and lost control, and Guidry was thrown from the truck. He died of his injuries days later. Guidry’s wife, Lela, sued Diamond on behalf of herself, their son and Guidry’s estate. Ten members of the jury found that the negligence of both Diamond and Guidry caused his injuries, allocated responsibility 35% to Diamond and 65% to Guidry, and assessed damages of $1,250,000. The trial court rendered judgment on the verdict, awarding the plaintiff $620,672.42, including pre-judgment interest. As already noted, a divided court of appeals affirmed. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. Jones Act suits in state courts are governed substantively by federal maritime law and procedurally by state law. To recover for Guidry’s death, the plaintiff was required to prove that the event occurred while he was “in the course of his employment” within the meaning of the Act. The parties disagree about what evidence is sufficient to meet this burden and whether any was adduced. Diamond argues for three reasons that none was. First, Diamond says, there is no evidence that it could possibly have benefitted from a few employees’ drive-by, midnight viewing of another rig docked for repairs. But two of Diamond’s managerial employees, John Auth and John McWilliams, as well as the plaintiff’s expert, testified that such a venture could have been in the course of employment. That testimony was some evidence to satisfy the plaintiff’s burden. Second, Diamond contends, there is no evidence that Guidry himself went near the Ocean Confidence that night, even if his fellows did. But the jury could reasonably have inferred, from evidence that he suggested the excursion and accompanied the others, that he went by the rig as they did. Third, Diamond argues that Guidry and his co-workers’ principal destination all along was really the Chicken Crossing, which could not have been in the course of their employment. Diamond acknowledges that seamen may be on shore leave and nevertheless in the service of the vessel, but it argues that the rationale for this rule is limited to “blue-water” seamen, for whom “[t]he voyage creates not only the need for relaxation ashore, but the necessity that it be satisfied in distant and unfamiliar ports.” Aguilar v. Standard Oil Co., 318 U.S. 724 (1943). Diamond cites the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Sellers v. Dixilyn Corp., 433 F.2d 446 (5th Cir. 1970), cert. denied, 401 U.S. 980 (1971), as an example of the proper distinction between blue-water seamen and rig workers. But in that case the rig worker was denied maintenance and cure for injuries he sustained in a one-vehicle accident on his way home for a week after having finished his hitch on the rig. Assuming Sellers is correct, Guidry’s two-hour venture from his rig mid-hitch is not so far removed from his work there as to be, as a matter of law, outside the scope of his employment, the court holds. The issue whether Guidry was in the course of his employment at the time of the accident was one for the jury. The trial court submitted a single liability question as follows: “Did the negligence, if any, of those named below [Diamond and Guidry] legally cause the injuries to Craig Guidry in question.” Diamond requested in writing that the trial court also inquire of the jury whether Guidry and Martinez were acting in service of the vessel at the time of the accident, and the trial court endorsed those requests as “refused,” At the charge conference, the trial court stated that it would treat Diamond’s refused requests as objections to the charge. Diamond complains that, despite the trial court’s instructions regarding “course of employment,” it never asked the jury for a finding on the issue. The court agrees. While the trial court could certainly have inquired about the separate issues of negligence, causation, and course of employment in a single question with proper instructions, Diamond was not obligated to request such a question. It was required only to object to the absence of any inquiry, which the trial court acknowledged Diamond had done with its requested questions. Moreover, the jury was not asked whether Martinez was acting in the scope of employment at the time of the accident, a prerequisite, the plaintiff concedes, for imposing vicarious liability on Diamond, his employer. Because the evidence on this issue, too, was conflicting, the trial court erred in not requesting a finding from the jury, the court concludes. OPINION:Per curiam.

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