Doyle Dennis LLP is proud to announce that our firm has been awarded a Top 50 Verdict for plaintiff’s jury verdicts obtained in the state of Texas for 2022, with a $7.86 million verdict awarded in Gillies v. Valaris PLC. This recognition is a testament to the unwavering commitment and expertise of our trial team, led by Mike Doyle, Patrick Dennis, Jeff Avery, and Emma Brockway. As a law firm that represents injured workers and their families, we are proud of our track record of delivering exceptional legal services and achieving favorable outcomes for our clients.
We are particularly proud to have achieved this recognition for our representation of Gordon Gillies, a drill ship operations adviser who suffered injuries while working on a vessel in the Gulf of Mexico. Our client deserved justice and fair compensation for the harm he suffered, and our team of experienced trial lawyers worked tirelessly to ensure that his rights were upheld. Through our unwavering advocacy, we were able to secure a $7.86 million verdict against Valaris PLC (formerly Ensco/Rowan Drilling) for their negligence and for the unseaworthiness of its vessel, the drillship DS-15. Our attorneys skillfully presented evidence of the employer’s negligence and convinced the jury of the validity of Mr. Gillies’ claims. This Jones Act case is a prime example of our firm’s dedication to delivering exceptional legal services and achieving favorable outcomes for our clients.
The case was brought under the Jones Act (46 U.S.C. § 688) and the general maritime law of the United States of America. On February 17, 2020, Gillies fell while touring Valaris PLC’s vessel, the Valaris Renaissance, due to a defective step lacking bullnose protection. The fall resulted in severe injuries to his tailbone, back, spine, and body generally. Despite reporting the incident immediately to the captain and seeing a doctor, Gillies continues to suffer serious injuries including sharp pain in his left leg, coccyx, spine, back, and body generally due to Valaris PLC’s negligence. As owner and operator of the Valaris Renaissance, Valaris PLC was responsible for the dangerous and unseaworthy conditions of the vessel, which was the legal cause of Gillies’ injuries. The jury found Valaris guilty of failing to maintain the staircase properly, which was the cause of Gillies’ fall and subsequent injuries.
The first cause of action in the case was negligence, in which Valaris PLC, by and through its employees and officers, was found to be negligent in creating the dangerous conditions that proximately resulted in the client’s injuries and in failing to provide adequate crew and equipment, failing to supervise and train the crew, and in other respects. The second cause of action in the case was unseaworthiness, in which the Valaris Renaissance was found to be a vessel for which Valaris PLC owed the client a duty of seaworthiness as a seaman. Valaris PLC breached that duty because the Valaris Renaissance was dangerous, not reasonably fit for its intended purposes, not reasonably safe, and unseaworthy. The unseaworthiness of the Valaris Renaissance was found to be a factual and legal cause of the client’s damages.
The jury’s decision in the 270th District Court of Harris County, after hearing four days of testimony and argument, is a resounding victory for the victim of Valaris PLC’s negligence. The jury found that Valaris was responsible for 90% of the negligence that caused the client’s injuries, while the client was only responsible for 10%. Moreover, the jury found that Valaris was responsible for 99% of the unseaworthiness of the vessel, while the client bore only 1% of the responsibility. These findings reflect the strength of the evidence presented by Doyle Dennis LLP and the skill of our trial team in convincing the jury of Valaris’ negligence and the unseaworthiness of its vessel.
The $7.86 million verdict awarded by the jury includes $1,821,000 in past damages and $6,040,000 in future damages. These damages reflect the significant impact that the injuries have had and will continue to have on the client’s life, including pain, mental anguish, loss of earning capacity, disfigurement, impairment, and medical care.
At Doyle Dennis LLP, we firmly believe that this verdict serves as a powerful reminder to the maritime industry that the safety and wellbeing of workers should always come first. Companies that disregard this fundamental principle and prioritize profits over the welfare of their employees will be held accountable for their actions. We take great pride in securing justice for our client and playing a role in promoting safety standards in the maritime industry.
Our commitment to fighting for the rights of workers remains unwavering, and we will continue to seek fair compensation for those who have been injured on the job. Our firm has a wealth of experience in representing maritime workers who have been injured due to their employer’s negligence, and we are dedicated to helping Jones Act employees understand their rights and receive the compensation they are entitled to.
The recognition and award we have received for this case are a testament to our attorneys’ dedication and expertise in helping maritime workers and their families navigate the legal system. If you are a maritime worker who has been injured on the job due to your employer’s negligence, we invite you to contact Doyle Dennis LLP today for a free consultation. Let us help you secure the compensation and justice you deserve.
The information provided pertains to the case of Gordon Gillies vs. Valaris PLC, Cause Number 2020-36729, litigated in the 270th Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas.