The Legal Docket
A Publication Of Neblett, Beard & Arsenault Summer 2010
NB&A Leads the Way
in Oil Spill Litigation
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is helping to lead the
charge for victims of the disastrous oil spill in the
Gulf of Mexico. Our attorneys represent Gulf Coast
fishermen, shrimpers, oystermen, property and vessel
owners and others whose lives and livelihoods have
Legal Brief been forever changed by this avoidable tragedy.
Richard J. Arsenault, has filed multiple class
For the past
actions lawsuits in several Gulf Coast States against
BP, Transocean and other parties involved in the
explosion, sinking and ensuing oil spill caused by the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.
“Just as the Gulf Coast was rebounding from the devastating effects of Katrina, we now face the
most serious environmental disasters of our time,” said Richard Arsenault.
positions in some of the major cases
The firm has employed some of the nation’s top trial experts to testify on drilling operations, marine and civil
in the United States, including those
engineering, coastal and marine biology, oceanography, air and water quality, ornithology, fisheries supply,
against BP and Toyota.
shellfish pathology and other areas of study. These experts will help determine and explain what happened
Recently, Arsenault was appointed aboard the Deepwater Horizon that fateful night and what the resulting effects of the oil spill will be.
as Co-chair of the newly formed Gulf
Coast Oil Spill Litigation group by “While we’re still in the embryonic stages of quantifying the troubling environmental impact, we’re
the American Association for Justice watching, in real time, and somewhat helplessly, a slow motion disaster,” concluded Arsenault.
(AAJ). Arsenault will lead educational
programs and provide litigation support One of my proudest moments...
to attorneys who represent victims of
Attorney Mike Koch was hired by the Petrus family after their
the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
autistic son, Kyle, was abused by a caretaker. The “caretaker”
In May, Richard chaired the Gulf Coast threw bleach into Kyle’s face and eyes, causing serious injury. A
Oil Spill Symposium for the Louisiana generally happy kid, Kyle became depressed and withdrawn, even
State Bar Association, and has been after his bloody, red scars began to fade.
invited to host additional oil spill
litigation conferences. The caretaker pled “no contest” to Cruelty to the Infirm La
R.S.14:93.3 and, shockingly, received no jail time. That’s when
Arsenault was appointed by U.S. Mike Koch and Kyle’s mother, Angela, began a quest to change
District Judge Selna to serve on the this unjust law. They contacted state representatives and worked
Plaintiff’s Lead Counsel Committee for tirelessly raise awareness of the problem.
Economic Loss in the national litigation
against Toyota. In addition, Richard In June, the Louisiana house and senate unanimously passed “Kyle’s Bill” which requires a one
chaired two national Toyota Recall year mandatory minimum sentence for cases that involve intentional, abusive acts to the infirm.
Litigation symposiums in California.
“This has to rank up there as one of my proudest accomplishments in 20 plus years practicing
law,” said Mike. “I will look back and tell my kids and grandkids that I played a small part in
passing a law that protects people who have little or no voices.”
Call Anytime 24/7 at 1.800.256.1050
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is pleased to
announce that Laura Singletary has joined
the firm as an Associate Attorney. U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Martone has appointed Richard
J. Arsenault to serve on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for the
Laura, a Bunkie native, graduated national Zicam multi-district litigation. With this appointment,
from LSU and Tulane Law School. Arsenault will now serve an important role in the proceedings against
She was admitted to the Louisiana the makers of the over-the-counter cold remedy, Zicam. Richard J.
Bar in October of 2009 and served Arsenault and C. Michael Bollinger have been appointed to the
as a Law Clerk for the Hon. Tucker mediation team for plaintiffs nationwide. Neblett, Beard & Arsenault
L. Melancon in U.S. District Court for represents victims who were seriously injured by using Zicam products.
the Western District of Louisiana in
Lafayette prior to joining the Firm. Neblett, Beard & Arsenault sponsored the Global Fighting
Alliance’s Knuckle Up mixed martial arts event at the Rapides Parish
Laura is a member of the Federal Bar Coliseum. Clients, attorneys and friends of NB&A watched the
Association and American Inns of competition from the special “Neblett, Beard & Arsenault Section.”
Court. She is excited about joining Neblett, Beard & Arsenault and Global Fighting Alliance, a rising star on the mixed martial arts scene,
strives to provide the best possible legal services to our wide array of is run by Allen Gray who is the son of NB&A Firm Administrator,
clients across Louisiana and the United States. Irene Duplechin. Like MMA? If you are interesting in attending an
upcoming GFA event, call Irene at 318-487-9874.
Congratulations, Laura, and welcome aboard!
Richard J. Arsenault and John “JR” Randall Whaley penned an article
You’re Invited! that was recently published in Louisiana Advocates, a publication by
the Louisiana State Bar Association. Their article, Foodborne Illness
Litigation: Critical Questions, drew from their experience in handling
Mark your calendars, because on October 9, 2010 from 2-6pm, lawsuits stemming from some of the nation’s largest food poisoning
the Firm will host a NB&A Client Party at Harold Miles Park in outbreaks.
Alexandria. The event, which will welcome past and present clients,
will feature family-oriented fun, food and entertainment provided by Wes Gralapp served as “Judge” for the Louisiana Probation and
the renowned “Cajun Comedian,” Jonathan Perry. Parole Annual Conference Cook Off. Wes, along with Jimmy
Leblanc, the Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Corrections,
Jonathan was born and raised in Kaplan, Louisiana right in the tasted entries and used their discriminating palates to pick the winner.
heart of “Cajun Country.” He is one of the most sought after Cajun Neblett, Beard & Arsenault sponsored the Cook Off Competition, and
Comedians in the world and is a past King of the International Cajun were proud to assist the brave men and women of Louisiana’s Probation
Joke Telling Contest™. and Parole Association in their mission to keep our communities safe!
We are honored that you choose Neblett, Beard & Arsenault for your Mike Koch recently served as a presiding Judge in the State High
legal needs & proud to have you as a member of the NB&A family. We School Mock Trial competition held at the 9th Judicial Court in
want to thank you for the trust you have placed in us, and we hope that Alexandria. Mike had previously served for 10 years as coach of the
you will be able to join the NB&A attorneys and staff on October 9th! Alexandria mock trial team, where several of his teams won State and
another placed 3rd in the nation. This was the first year he judged the
Want to attend? To RSVP, call Sherry today at 1-888-561-2550 State competition.
to let us know we can expect you.
Top 100 Trial Lawyers
Richard J. Arsenault and David O. Walker have been selected for inclusion in the 2009-2010
Top 100 Trial Lawyers of Louisiana by the American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA).
The ATLA is a national organization of America’s top trial attorneys. Membership is by invitation
and extended only to those individuals who exemplify superior qualifications, trial results, and
leadership. Richard is recognized for his contributions in mass tort/complex litigation and serious
personal injury. Arsenault’s experience as a trial lawyer, author, speaker and teacher has provided
a unique foundation for navigating complex litigation. He is listed in many other peer reviewed
publications including the “Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers”, “Best of United States” and
“Best Lawyers in America”.
David is recognized for his contributions in personal injury litigation. He has decades of experience and has been counsel in over one thousand
litigated cases and has been retained in over two thousand injury cases.
Maritime Law 101
After the April 20th explosion of the Deepwater Horizon,
all eyes have been on the Gulf of Mexico.
11 men are dead and millions of gallons of oil are flowing into the Gulf. As fellow residents of
Louisiana who have enjoyed the multitude of natural treasures our “Sportsman’s Paradise” has to offer,
the NB&A family watches the unfolding crisis with great concern for all of the victims of this terrible
disaster. As industry and government search for solutions, many people are finding out that a unique
set of laws govern the offshore industry. To help guide you through it all, here is Maritime Law 101 –
Oil Pollution Act - • Allows for the owner of the vessel to limit its liability in marine
Administrative claims for property damage, economic losses from casualty cases involving multiple victims to the value of the vessel
boat damages, oil pollution removal costs can be made to the and its freight, so long as the owner is without “privity or knowledge”
Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund if the party at fault refuses to pay the of any negligence or unseaworthiness which caused the incident.
claim; time limits apply.
Maintenance and Cure-
Jones Act - • Is an obligation owed by the maritime employer to a Jones Act
• A law enacted by Congress that provides protection to persons Seaman when he is injured while in the course and scope of
who are members of the crew of a ship or a vessel. employment.
• Applies to inland river workers and offshore workers who work • “Maintenance” is the obligation of the employer to make up for
on a jack-up rig, semi-submersible rig, barge, drill ship, tugboat, the room and board the worker would have had if he were not
tow boat, crew boat, dredge, cargo ship, fishing vessels or other injured.
moveable vessels. • “Cure” is the obligation of the employer to pay for the medical
• Governs the liability of vessel operators and marine employers bills that the injured worker incurs as a result of the injury he
for the work related injuries or death of the employee. received while in the course and scope of employment.
• Gives seamen special remedies because they face the perils of • The obligation of maintenance and cure runs until the injured
the sea. In order for a worker to recover under this Act, a worker worker reaches Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). MMI is
must prove some negligence or fault on the part of the vessel’s reached when doctors cannot do anything else to improve the
owners, operators or fellow employees, or if they are injured workers’ medical condition. Medical treatment for the relief of
because of a defect in the vessel and/or its gear and tackle, pain only is not considered something to improve the workers’
rendering the vessel unseaworthy. medical condition. Therefore, if you are receiving medications
only for the relief of pain, you can still be considered to have
Unseaworthiness Claims – reached MMI.
• Applies to injuries that are caused by a vessel or any of its parts
or machinery that are not reasonably fit for their intended use. In addition to the injuries and deaths of the Deepwater Horizon
• A vessel can also be unseaworthy if the crew is not reasonably crew members, the resulting oil spill has created many more types
competent or skilled to perform the assigned work. of victims throughout the Gulf Coast.
• Under the Jones Act, a vessel owner has a duty to provide and
maintain a seaworthy vessel. Victims of the oil spill may include:
• Members of the fishing, oyster and shrimping industry
Death on the High Seas (DOHSA) - DOHSA is a Federal law that • Members of the seafood processing/packaging or wholesaling
allows a surviving spouse of seamen to recover damages for their industries
spouse’s future earnings. This 90-year-old law limits the amount • Dock and marina owners/operators
of money survivors can recover in the wrongful deaths of family • Commercial and private boat owners and recreational activity
members killed more than three miles offshore. companies
• Waterfront property owners and restaurants
Limitation of Liability Act - • City, Parish, County or State governments
• Was created in the 1800s to encourage the development of • BP and Transocean stock holders and investors
American merchant shipping. • Others whose livelihood has been directly impacted by the spill
NB&A Practice Areas Cut this page out & save it!
Offshore Injuries • Vehicle Accidents • 18 Wheeler Accidents
Motorcycle Accidents • Dangerous Products • Nursing Home Negligence
Workplace Accidents • Environmental Exposure • Class Action Litigation
Call Anytime 24/7
Richard J. Arsenault C. Michael Bollinger David O. Walker Paul J. Tellarico William S. Neblett Michael S. Koch
Wesley J. Gralapp Gary J. Arsenault Edward E. “Ted” John Randall Whaley Jennifer M. Hoekstra Laura L. Singletary
Alexandria - 318.561.2500 • Lake Charles - 337.855.4400 • Baton Rouge - 225.343.3475
Shreveport - 318.635.5800 • Lafayette - 337.289.9800 • Monroe - 318.323.4455 • Toll Free - 1.800.256.1050
Call Anytime 24/7 at 1.800.256.1050
Alexandria, Louisiana 71309
2220 Bonaventure Court • P.O. Box 1190