Marine & Energy Alert: U.S. Fifth Circuit to Consider When a Contract to Provide Oilfield Services is Maritime

September 12, 2017

On March 16, 2017 we published a report regarding the Fifth Circuit’s recent decision in Larry Dorion v. Specialty Rental Tools & Supply, LLP, in which the court affirmed a district court’s holding that a contract and oral work order to provide flow-back services was a maritime contract. Significantly, in a concurring opinion, Circuit Judge W. Eugene Davis, joined by Circuit Judge Leslie H. Southwick, requested that the Fifth Circuit hear the case en banc in order to abandon the Davis test, which is currently used for determining whether a contract is maritime. Recently, the en banc Fifth Circuit agreed and ordered that the case be heard by all members of the court. This development is important because the multi-factor Davis test may be eliminated and a new streamlined test established to determine when a contract to provide oilfield services is maritime. The parties have submitted briefs on this topic and oral argument is scheduled for September 19, 2017. We will continue to provide updates regarding developments in this case.

A copy of the recent Court order can be found here. Also, a copy of our prior March 16, 2017 alert can be found here.