Full 5th Circ. Says Oil Rig Welder Not A Seaman

By Morgan Conley (May 11, 2021, 8:00 PM EDT) -- The full Fifth Circuit declared Tuesday that a welder alleging he was injured while working on a drilling rig can't sue under the Jones Act, walking back an earlier circuit ruling in which a panel said it was precedent-bound to determine that the man qualified as a seaman.

The en banc opinion overturns a three-judge panel's August decision and reinstates the district court's holding that Gilbert Sanchez failed to meet the definition of a seaman under the Jones Act, which gives qualified workers the right to sue for damages under maritime commerce law. The entire court agreed that Sanchez wasn't "substantially...

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