The Impact of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act on Third Party Litigation

For several decades, the Longshore and Harbor Worker's Act (LHWCA) was a scow on the sea of maritime personal injury law. The Act lacked parity with other maritime laws and was shrouded in misconceptions. Understandably, the workings of the Act were not apparent to the general practitioner whose contact with the maritime law field is limited. In 1991, however, after a thirty-five year absence from the area of “seaman status” issues, the Supreme Court apparently extended additional parity to the LHWCA in McDermott International, Inc. v. Wilander. Although this decision has cleared up some of the confusion concerning seaman status, many misconceptions remain. The Court's action in Wilander makes an article on the LHWCA more than a mere historical review. Hopefully, this Article will dispel some of the misconceptions regarding the Act and will convey some insight into the Act to the nonadmiralty oriented general practitioner.