High-low settlement agreement; ruling somewhere in the middle . . .

In a long-running dispute ahi_lo_1bout Transocean’s ability to recover “maintenance and cure” payments to Boudreaux, a seaman, the parties reached a “high-low” settlement agreement.  The Fifth Circuit then held — in an outcome not clearly anticipated by the parties’ deal — that Transocean had no affirmative right of recovery as against Boudreaux,but did have a right to make offsets against future payments.  Boudreaux v. Transocean Deepwater, Inc., 721 F.3d 723, 724-25 (5th Cir. 2013).  The district court treated that outcome as a “low,” which hurt Boudreaux, but the panel majority saw it as a “high” — “Because our court’s holding in Boudreaux I did not establish the viability of Transocean’s counterclaim, Boudreaux is entitled to the higher settlement amount.”  Boudreaux v. Transocean Deepwater, Inc., No. 14-30776 (Feb. 5, 2016, unpublished).

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