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The Fifth Circuit, in Thomas v. Hercules Offshore Services, L.L.C., Case No. 17-30638 (Fiftth Cir. March 2, 2018), concluded per curiam that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safe workplace regulations had been preempted by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) regulations for injuries occurring on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) on a foreign-flagged jack-up drilling rig (or as the opinion described the rig, a “mobile offshore drilling unit” (MODU) in the parlance of the USCG’s OCS regulations at 33 CFR Subchapter N and 46 CFR Subchapter I-A). As a result, the owners of the MODU were not negligent for injuries sustained by a galley hand who tripped and fell over a raised doorsill that was constructed in compliance with the USCG’s specific regulations for accommodation space specifications (46 C.F.R. §§108.197, 205). The court also did address other issues, notably the McCorpen defense in relation to the plaintiff’s claims for maintenance and cure finding that the District Court did not err in finding the McCorpen defense applicable. See Thomas v. Hercules Offshore Services, L.L.C., Case No. 17-30638 (5th Cir. March 3, 2018).

Plaintiff in Hercules was a galley hand on the Hercules 264 MODU operating on the OCS in the Gulf of Mexico offshore of Louisiana. See Hercules, at 2. In 2013 while working aboard the Hercules 264, the plaintiff tripped and fell after her foot struck a raised doorsill between her state room and connected bathroom. Id. The doorsill was 2 inches high and 3.5 inches wide. Id. After the fall, plaintiff suffered from pain and was taken ashore for medical treatment where she was diagnosed with lumbar strain and a right hip contusion. Id. Hercules paid maintenance and cure (“M&C”) to the Plaintiff from the date she reported her injury. Id.

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