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Jones Walker Hosts Second-Annual Lafourche Maritime Seminar
August 17, 2009

On September 3, 2009, Jones Walker will host a discussion of the availability of punitive damages against companies at the Port Commission Building in Galliano, Louisiana. The program is based on the very recent case of Atlantic Sounding v. Townsend (U.S. S.Ct. 2009), in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that punitive damages are available for the employer's bad faith failure to pay maintenance and cure. Port Commissioner Jimmy Lafont will make introductions and open the discussion, and our panel of speakers will include:

  • Jerry Yacobellis, Executive Vice President, McGriff, Seibels & Williams of Missouri
  • Randy Adams, President, Sea Support Services
  • Eddie Koehl, Partner, Maritime Defense Attorney, Jones Walker    
  • Brenda Bowman, Marine Claims, CNA Insurance
  • Luke Guidry, Sr., President, Lorris G Towing
  • Paul Sterbcow, Seaman's Attorney, Lewis, Kullman, Sterbcow & Abramson

This will be a frank and open discussion about how the Atlantic Sounding v. Townsend decision affects boat owners and operators, and it will also provide an opportunity to hear from a plaintiff's attorney about how the plaintiff's attorneys will handle denial of payment of maintenance and cure. Some topics to be covered include:

  • Whose decision is it to decide whether to pay maintenance and cure: the vessel owner and/or the underwriter?
  • Are punitive damages covered by the P&I policy?
  • Will this decision cause marine employers to pay maintenance and cure even in questionable cases?
  • Do the plaintiff's lawyers approach seaman's claims in a different fashion now that punitive damages are available?
  • Will this case affect insurance premiums?
  • How will this case change the way maritime employers handle claims?
  • What do the marine underwriters and brokers think will happen moving forward
  • Are punitive damages available for gross negligence outside the context of maintenance and cure?

Po-boys will be served starting at 12:30 p.m., and the seminar and panel discussion will begin at 1:00 p.m. Beer, cocktails, and other refreshments will be served starting at 3:30 or 4:00 p.m. after the seminar. To RSVP, or for any questions about the event, please contact Courtney Lona by e-mail at, or by phone at 504.582.8121.