H. Jake Rodriguez Partner

     

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Jake Rodriguez, regional managing partner of the New Orleans office, concentrates his practice on maritime, environmental and energy law. In more than 20 years of practice, Jake has developed extensive experience in the areas of pollution casualties and marine environmental regulations, collisions and allisions, Jones Act, Shipowners’ Limitation of Liability Act, personal injury, maritime products liability, salvage, cargo, ship construction and repair, charter and marine insurance. He has successfully represented commercial and cruise line vessel owners, operators and charterers; international and domestic marine, liability and energy underwriters; protection and indemnity clubs; and energy companies ranging from single-site operators to Global 500 corporations.

Jake also has significant experience in major offshore marine casualty response, having been a lead member of the casualty/pollution response team for BP’s Thunder Horse (2005) and Deepwater Horizon responses (2010). He worked with BP from 2010 to 2014, serving concurrently as BP’s legal officer within the Gulf Coast Incident Management Team/Unified Command and as counsel to BP’s Gulf Coast Restoration Organization.

In more than two decades of practice, Jake has acted in numerous insurance defense and insurance coverage matters involving directors and officers, errors and omissions, commercial property and commercial general liability.  Jake’s experience includes cases involving coverage determinations, claims handling, settlement negotiations and bad faith avoidance, as well as litigation stemming from commercial property damage/loss in marine and non-marine contexts.

Jake teaches collision, shipowners’ limitation of liability and oil pollution as an associated adjunct professor of maritime law in the LL.M. program at Tulane University School of Law.

Representative Matters

Lead counsel acting for major cruise line in defense of claims brought by Jones Act seaman for negligence, unseaworthiness, and maintenance and cure, seeking in excess of $500,000 in compensatory damages, as well as attorneys’ fees and punitive damages. Following a full hearing on the merits, obtained an award in favor of the cruise line and dismissal of all claims.

Trial counsel for Fortune 100 energy company in case involving a tug boat that struck and ruptured an underwater pipeline in southeast Louisiana, causing 80,000 gallons of oil to be discharged into inland waters and sensitive marsh lands. Acted in defense of approximately 100 separate claims made by commercial fishermen for economic loss; obtained settlements of each claim for cents on the dollar.  Also acted as a member of the trial team in the three-week trial against vessel interests in the Eastern District of Louisiana, resulting in a multimillion-dollar recovery for oil company and its insurers.

Counsel for major cruise line in defense of claims advanced by world’s largest bunker supplier.  Following a series of protracted hearings in two separate federal courts, secured an injunction preventing claimants from advancing their multimillion-dollar claim against cruise line.

Acted in defense of claims against major cruise line, arising out of a commercial dispute for services provided to multiple vessels. Prevented threatened arrests of cruise ships and negotiated a resolution and release of all claims without litigation, and for amounts substantially below the amounts demanded.

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