John Elliott

Partner / Houston

P: 713.588.0446 X. 532

Maritime law was not John Elliott’s first profession, but maritime labor was. While an undergraduate at McNeese State University, in Lake Charles, Louisiana, John was a Coast Guard-licensed tankerman, working in the summer on tugboats and barges. After graduating with a mechanical engineering degree, he then worked offshore in the oilfield for 13 years as an engineer for Halliburton.

While he enjoyed working in the oilfield, another calling beckoned. With South Texas College of Law only two blocks from his Halliburton office, he began law school part-time, graduating magna cum laude.

With his pre-legal maritime background, John knows the work on vessels and in the oilfield. His years in both professions provide invaluable insight into the cases brought by opposing counsel, as well as how best to represent his clients.

The knowledge and experience he gained in his previous careers have converged to make him a uniquely potent attorney. This, in turn, motivates him to continuously learn, knowing that whatever he does may just fall into place in surprising ways. To that end, he prides himself on the level of study and preparation that he puts into each case and each motion. An attorney never fully knows which argument is going to seal the deal, so he is committed to making every point as strong as it can be.

John’s success in the courtroom is rivaled only by his competitiveness on the tennis court. He travels the state competing in tournaments, sometimes winning matches against opponents half his age. Whether in the courtroom or on the tennis court, John knows that being in the right place at the right time is a key to winning.

Practice Areas

Education

  • B.S., McNeese State University
  • J.D., South Texas College of Law

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth District
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
  • State Bar of Texas

Representative Cases

  • Successfully argued in Tarver vs. Bo-Mac Contractors, Inc., 384 F.3d 180 (5th Cir. 2004), cert. denied 125 S.Ct. 1696 (2005) that there was no jurisdiction under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, 33 U.S.C. 901 et seq.
  • Successfully argued in BPU Management, Inc. v. Director, OWCP, (David Martin) 732 F.3d 457, 47 BRBS 39 (CRT) (5th Cir. 2013), that there was no jurisdiction under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, 33 U.S.C. 901 et seq. This was the first appellate court decision to support the idea of a vertical demarcation in the functional component to Longshore situs.
  • Successfully argued on appeal in Bockman v. Patton-Tully Transportation Co., 41 BRBS 34 (2007) that a claimant’s release of an employer-owned vessel constitutes an unapproved settlement for purposes of Section 33(g) of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, 33 U.S.C. 901 et seq.
    Won, and defended on appeal, a take nothing decision for the employer/carrier in Simmons v. Coastal Great Southern, Inc., BRB No. 03-0787, Case No. 2002-LHC-663 (2004).
  • Obtained a summary judgment dismissal on vessel status and seaman status in New Jersey Civil Action HUD-L-4671-07, Ana Pena v. Port Imperial Ferry Corporation, (N.J. Sup. Ct. 2009).
  • Obtained a summary judgment on vessel status for the defendant in Leonard v. Transocean, 189 F.Supp.2d 627 (S.D. Tex. 2002).
  • Obtained summary judgment on vessel status for the defendant in Hall vs. Environmental Chemical Corporation, 90 F.Supp. 794 (S.D. Tex. 2000).
  • Obtained a take-nothing dismissal of defendant in a Jones Act personal injury action subsequent to filing a motion for summary judgment in civil action 3:07-cv-178; Kevin Jones v. Francis Drilling Fluids, Ltd., et al (2008); In the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Galveston Division.
  • Obtained a take-nothing dismissal of defendant in a Jones Act personal injury action subsequent to filing a motion for summary judgment in civil action No. 1:07-cv-51; Filiberto Espinoza v. The Nacher Corporation; In the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division (2007).
  • Won a take-nothing decision for the Employer/Carrier in Johnson v. MacNett Environmental Services, Inc., 2003-LHC-2429 (2004).
  • Won a $300,000 reimbursement from the Special Fund in Bowen v. MacHunt Corp., Case No. 2005-LHC-195 before the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Administrative Law Judges.

Professional Memberships

  • American Bar Association