Like we warned might happen in September, Orion Marine Group has partially evaded responsibility for a negligent act that led to the deaths of four crew and the injury of six others last year. In late August 2020, a vessel owned by Orion—the Waymon L Boyd—was dredging the Corpus Christi Ship Channel's bottom when it struck a gas pipeline. It resulted in an explosion that sent six people to the hospital and trapped four men in the ship's hold as it sank. Their bodies were recovered days later.
Our firm is representing one of those men in a lawsuit against Orion Marine Group.
Now Orion Marine Group is trying to hide behind the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851, an antiquated maritime law that allows offshore companies to limit their victims' compensation to the value of the vessel they served on. For men who work on aging and damaged vessels, it means even if an injury requires them to need lifelong care, their recovery will be significantly limited.
Orion Wants to Run Out the Clock
The Limitation of Liability Act is unjust for another reason:
It immediately sets a ticking clock for any victims and families to seek relief. Per the court's order, every plaintiff in this case will need to file their claim by February 17, 2021—just a few weeks from now.
Keep in mind it's only been a few months since the explosion of the Waymon L Boyd—only a few months since four families were robbed of loved ones and countless others suffered from severe physical and psychological trauma. Now, they'll have to accelerate their cases before many of them have even healed from their injuries.
That does not only put undue stress on victims and their families, but it means many of the accident survivors will have to claim what they need before they're even fully recovered. Without knowing the full scope of the accident's impact on their lives, it's difficult to gauge how much relief they're entitled to. Even if they knew the full amount, all cases against Orion Marine Group are limited in total to about $9.5 million in damages.
That's likely less than what just one plaintiff is entitled to.
No One Can Limit Justice
Regardless of the outdated laws Orion can hide under, the truth is our client and every other plaintiff deserves far more than the worth of the Waymon L Boyd. Their lives are worth more than the economic value of a dredging vessel. No matter what we're facing, our firm intends to beat Orion in court and get our clients as much as they need to recover.