Don
Don K. Haycraft
Shareholder, New Orleans
Assistant
One Shell Square
701 Poydras Street
Suite 5000
New Orleans, Louisiana 70139

Overview

Don Haycraft focuses on maritime law, in cases ranging from Jones Act personal injury, wrongful death and longshoremen’s injuries to major toxic tort class certification hearings and federal multi-district litigation.  Don served as defense liaison trial counsel in two major multi-district litigation cases in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Over the past 30-plus years, he has handled numerous jury trials to verdict and bench trials in various state and federal courts in Louisiana, as well as in state and federal courts in Texas, Mississippi, Illinois and elsewhere in the nation.  His clients have included major oil companies, global helicopter manufacturers and the nation’s largest inland marine company.

From 2010 through 2014, Don served as counsel to BP in the Deepwater Horizon Incident on maritime aspects of the case and served on the trial team during the Phase One trial February – April 2013. This trial had been labeled “Trial of the Century” in several media sources, and although that is a cliché, it was truly a great experience at a very high level of trial work.

Experience

  • Won exoneration after Limitation of Liability trial for a major inland marine company whose barges were alleged to have caused catastrophic flooding on the Illinois River after striking a dam near Marseilles, Illinois

  • Served on Phase 1 liability trial team defending  BP in claims arising out of a well blowout and the sinking of a semi-submersible drilling rig that caused 11 deaths and a catastrophic oil spill

  • Served as a Defense Liaison Counsel in the Deepwater Horizon case

  • Won exoneration after Limitation of Liability trial for a major inland marine company whose barge was alleged to have caused catastrophic levee breach and flooding of lower Ninth Ward/New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina

  • Won summary judgment in state court for an aviation fuel supplier in a helicopter crash where fuel was alleged to be defective for fouling in storage and aircraft fuel tanks

  • Won summary judgment in federal court for major records and data storage client whose employee lost computer data of more than a million Louisiana residents

  • Won trial judgment in a products liability case in state court on behalf of a helicopter manufacturer after a fatal crash, and successfully defended the result in Third Circuit and Louisiana Supreme Court (Kramer v. Petroleum Helicopters Inc., et al., 999 So.2d 101 (La. App. 3d Cir. 2008), writ denied, 6 So.3d 811 [2009])

  • Defeated class certification in a case involving a spill of benzene-containing chemicals in the Mississippi River

  • Served as Defense Liaison Counsel in multi-district litigation involving claims resulting from gasoline alleged to contain high levels of sulfur that caused gas gauge malfunctions in thousands of cars in the Gulf South

  • Served on the rial and appellate team in $250 million property loss involving offshore platform dropped by client’s contractor into the Gulf of Mexico (Texaco Exploration and Production Inc.; Marathon Oil Company v. AmClyde Engineered Products Company Inc., 448 F.3d 760 [5th Cir. 2006])

  • Obtained Rule 11 sanctions against prominent Mississippi plaintiffs’ attorney and affirmance by en banc United States Fifth Circuit (Whitehead; et al., v. Food Max of Mississippi, Inc., 332 F.3d 796 [5th. Cir. 2003][en banc])

Involvement

Professional

  • Federal Bar Association, New Orleans Chapter – President, 2002–2003; Board of Directors, 1996–2004

  • New Orleans, Louisiana State, and American Bar Associations – Member

  • Law Clerk to the Honorable James H. Michael, Jr., Judge, United States District Court, Western District of Virginia, 1983–1984

Community

  • The New Orleans Pro Bono Project – Board of Directors, 2009–2011

    • Liskow & Lewis’ liaison for pro bono representation

Recognition

  • New Orleans Magazine's List of "Top Lawyers," 2015-2016

  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2007–2017

  • Chambers USA – America's Leading Lawyers for Business – Litigation: General Commercial, 2012–2014

  • Louisiana Super Lawyers, 2008–2017

In addition, Don has been honored by the Louisiana State Bar Association for his pro bono commitment, including the Century Award for contributing in excess of 100 hours in indigent representation during 2009. 

Best Lawyers Award Badge

Presentations

Don is a frequent speaker before professional organizations about attorney-client privilege, trial procedures, electronic discovery and mass torts trial techniques. More recent presentations include:

  • “Between Ship and Shore: Everyday Occurrences,” Greater New Orleans Barge Fleeting Association 2017 River and Maritime Industry Seminar, April 29, 2017, New Orleans
  • “Rule 23: Class Actions,” Federal Bar Association Seminar, March 1, 2016, New Orleans

  • "Casualty Strikes – Analysis of an Offshore Incident," Liskow & Lewis Oilfield Indemnity and Insurance Seminar, October 30, 2014, Houston, Texas

  • "Practice Does Not Make Perfect: Moving Your Case Through Court,” Louisiana State Bar Association, 2013

  • "The U.S. Supreme Court Weighs in on Vessel Status," 20th Annual Admiralty Symposium of the Louisiana State Bar Association, 2013

  • “E-Discovery and Ethics: Navigating the Channel and Avoiding the Shoals,” First Annual Marine Management and Legal Conference of the Paducah Maritime Council, LLC, 2013

  • “Settlement and Mediation: Preparation for the Most Productive Mediation,” Louisiana State Bar Association Seminar How to Handle the Big Case From Both Sides, 2012

Publications

After Hours

"I am a sailor.  Before I became a lawyer, I was a professional sailing captain in Florida and the Bahamas.  I was once caught in a storm in the middle of the Gulf Stream and blew out the mainsail.  That's when I learned the importance of never assuming anything. Always be prepared."