The Ninth Circuit Writes an Obituary for Section 903(c) of the LHWCA in Kealoha v. Director, Office of Workers Compensation Programs

Matthew T. Drenan | Note

William Kealoha’s life changed forever when he fell twenty-five to fifty feet from a barge onto a dry dock, the first of several tragic events over a two-year crescendo that would ultimately leave Kealoha mentally and physically crippled. Kealoha’s fall occurred while employed as a ship laborer fro Leeward Marine Inc. (Leeward) and resulted in blunt trauma to the head, chest, and abdomen, a fractured rib and scapula, and knee and back pain. Subsequently, just two years later, Kealoha attempted suicide, shooting himself in the head, and unsurprisingly causing severe cranial-facial injuries. Following Kealoha’s failed suicide attempt, he sought compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA or Act), undergoing three levels of appeal through the Department of Labor’s administrative review process.