Texas Supreme Court will decide whether the judge or jury decides if a worker is a borrowed servant under the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

February 14

On February 14, 2020, the Texas Supreme Court granted a petition for review and announced that it will hear oral argument in W&T Offshore, Inc. v. Fredieu (No. 18-1134). Wesley Fredieu was injured on W&T Offshore’s platform on the outer Continental Shelf while nominally employed by The Wood Group. The primary defense for W&T was whether Fredieu was a borrowed servant of W&T Offshore so that W&T Offshore could assert the exclusive remedy of the LHWCA and bar the negligence suit brought by Fredieu against W&T Offshore. The issue was submitted to the jury, which found that Fredieu was not a borrowed servant. W&T argued that the issue of borrowed servant status was a question of law, and the district judge agreed, holding that Fredieu was a borrowed servant of W&T and that his exclusive remedy was under the LHWCA. The Fourteenth Court of Appeals reversed, 584 S.W.3d 200, and remanded for entry of judgment in favor of Fredieu in conformity with the jury verdict. The Texas Supreme Court will hear argument on March 25, 2020, to decide whether the jury or judge applies the factors from Ruiz v. Shell Oil to determine borrowed servant status under the LHWCA.

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