In Caldwell v. St. Charles Gaming Company, 2019-01238 (La.1/2/2020), the Louisiana Supreme Court held that an employee injured in 2015 on the Grand Palais Riverboat casino in Westlake, Louisiana, was not a seaman under the Jones Act because the riverboat casino was no longer a vessel in navigation for purposes of the general maritime law.
In 2001, the Grand Palais Riverboat casino was moored in Westlake, Louisiana, by nylon mooring lines and steel wire cables, with its primary purpose being dockside gambling. The riverboat casino has not moved since being moored, is serviced by shore-side utility lines that have not been disconnected since 2001, and the casino computer system is located on land.
After an injured riverboat technician filed suit under the Jones Act, the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment on the issue of whether the injured employee was a Jones Act seaman. The critical factual issue was whether the riverboat casino was a vessel in navigation. The trial court denied the motions.