On November 13, 2014, the Fifth Circuit handed down its opinion in Coffin v. Blessey Marine Services, Inc., No. 13-20144, 2014 WL 5904734 (5th Cir. Nov. 13, 2014).  The opinion addressed several key factors related to the FLSA’s seaman exemption:

  • Finding that unloading and loading of vessels is not strictly “nonseaman” work;
  • Limiting its prior holding in Owens v. SeaRiver Maritime, Inc., 272 F.3d 698 (5th Cir. 2001);
  • Requiring that each case and individual be analyzed under a facts-and-circumstances test to determine applicability of the seaman exemption; and
  • In dicta, intimating that the Department of Labor’s “twenty percent rule,” is also not a bright-line test. To read more, see a fuller discussion on our Class and Collective Action Blog.