Delise and Hall represented a seasoned commercial diver who sustained a distal tibiofibular fracture and ankle dislocation after making entry in a shallow water dive from a DSV. After jumping from the DSV he crashed into an underwater rock jetty. He additionally sustained an injury to his left knee.

At the time incident in question the diver was also the designated supervisor for the diving contractor on the project laying a 6-inch pipeline in very shallow waters in the marshes of Louisiana. Because of prior days of frustration in attempting to complete the job timely - because of a short-handed dive team - the diver left his position as supervisor, donned diver gear and made the dive.

Prior to commencing the dive, the injured diver looked across the scene. The vessel was positioned in 10-15 feet of water. Freeboard on the vessel was 3-4 feet. Instead of using the DSV’S dive ladder the diver jumped into the water, landed on a rock jetty, fractured his leg and dislocated his ankle. Surgery was required to address his injuries.

As anticipated, the insurance company for the diving contractor argued: “the injured diver should never have jumped from the vessel when he had an available dive ladder at his disposal”. Such would have been a very sound argument if one only looked at it from a perspective post incident.

The diving contractor was a small company run by a very over-bearing owner. The owner brow beat his people and left them in the field under equipped and on a tight leash because of how the diving contractor bid its jobs. The company was losing money on this project because it was ill-planned. More specifically, because of the selection of this particular barge it was necessary to position it in a manner unsuitable to lay the pipeline and, as such, the dive ladder was not in a position to be used by the divers.

Currents on previous dives also pushed the pipeline away from location. Lastly, there were no surveys of the area and, thus, the diver was unaware of the rock jetty. Post incident the diving contractor removed sections of the jetty to lay the pipe. Had the presence of the jetty been known this incident and the vessel would have been properly positioned the incident would not have occurred.

The attorneys of Delise and Hall were successful in convincing legal counsel for the diving contractor and the court-appointed mediation, that the law protecting the diver, The Jones Act, provides the diving contractor with the following obligations:

The diving contractor is obligated to provide their divers with a reasonably safe place to work and must provide working conditions that can be made safe through the exercise of reasonable care.

In this case Delise and Hall provided, through evidence and sworn testimony, proof that had the diving contractor positioned the DSV appropriately in light of the presence of the pipeline the injury to the diver/supervisor would never have occurred.

At mediation Delise and Hall secured a favorable settlement months before the scheduled jury trial.