Kevin Marks and Nathan Orf Obtain Defense Judgment in Longshore Case with $1.85 Million Demand
In a case with a complicated factual and procedural history, Kevin Marks and Nathan Orf recently obtained a complete defense “zero” judgment after trying the matter to the Office of Administrative Law Judges. Plaintiff Herbert Pretus (“Pretus”), a long time safety representative of Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. (“Diamond”) claimed that he contracted a work-related respiratory condition beginning in 2000 that rendered him permanently and totally disabled. Pretus first filed a suit under the Jones Act, claiming that he was a seaman. This suit was successfully defended by Tiger Pharr of the Firm’s Lafayette office and Ron Capehart of the Firm’s Houston office, who obtained a summary judgment on medical causation. Pretus then presented his claims to the United States Department of Labor, which issued a preliminary but non-binding recommendation that Pretus was entitled to benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Diamond rejected that recommendation and in January, 2013, the case proceeded to trial on the merits before the Office of Administrative Law Judges in Covington, Louisiana. Messrs. Marks and Orf, two attorneys based in the Firm’s New Orleans office, defended Diamond. Pretus’ last settlement demand was for $1.85 million, exclusive of medical expenses or attorney’s fees. After presiding over the trial and evaluating the parties’ post-trial briefs, Administrative Law Judge Richard Avery found in favor of Diamond, and in April 2013 denied Pretus’ claim in its entirety. Pretus v. Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc., 2012-LHC-0032, OWCP No. 08-125810, (2013).
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