King Fisher Marine Serv., LP v. Tamez (Opinion)Annotate this Case
Respondent was injured while working on board a dredging vessel operated by Petitioner. Respondent sued Respondent under the Jones Act, arguing that he was injured working under a specific order. Under maritime law, when a seaman is carrying out a specific order, his damages may not be reduced by a finding of contributory negligence. A jury found Respondent was working under a specific order when he was injured and awarded him damages. The jury also found Respondent fifty percent at fault for his injures, but based on the specific-order finding, the trial court did not reduce Respondent’s award. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) trial courts have the discretion to set a deadline for charge objections that falls before the reading of the charge to the jury, and the trial court in this case acted within its discretion in refusing to hear a last-minute charge objection, as the trial court provided a reasonable amount of time for counsel to examine and object to the change; and (2) sufficient evidence supported the jury’s finding that Respondent was following a specific order when he was injured.