Beech v. Hercules Drilling Co., LLC, No. 11-30415 (5th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
This case required the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to decide whether vicarious liability principles under the Jones Act allowed a seaman's wife to recover from her husband's employer for the events that led to his death. Keith Beech died after his co-worker, Michael Cosenza, accidentally shot him aboard a Hercules Drilling Company-owned vessel. The district court determined that Cosenza was acting in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident, and therefore, Hercules was liable for Mr. Beech's wrongful death. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, holding that Cosenza was not acting in the course of his employment when he accidentally shot Beech, and therefore, the district court's judgment in favor of Mrs. Beech must be reversed.