Michael D. Murphy

Michael D. Murphy


Mr. Murphy who joined the firm in 2012 is a member of Sheehy, Ware and Pappas, PC’s marine and energy, LHWCA/DBA and insurance litigation sections. He has over 30 years’ first chair experience in State and Federal courts, Federal Courts of Appeals and Administrative courts administering LHWCA/DBA matters.

Mr. Murphy’s career began in 1984 with a boutique admiralty firm in Houston, Texas. He was recruited to join the national firm Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP where he practiced in the firm’s admiralty section. His practice post Fulbright expanded to include oil and gas matters arising aboard MODUs and offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Mr. Murphy continues to handle matters arising under the General Maritime Law, the Jones Act, OCSLA, and the LHWCA.

In May of 2018, after 30 years of  defending various matters,  Mr. Murphy completed the 40 hour mediation course at  the A.A. White Dispute Resolution Center.  He is a now a member of the TMCA, Texas Mediator Credentialing Association and is expanding his practice to include mediations.

Mr. Murphy regularly represents:

  • Domestic and foreign insurance companies and their assureds in third-party litigation
  • Offshore companies in matters arising on mobile offshore drilling units and stationary platforms
  • Employers and insurers under the LHWCA and its extensions, the Defense Base Act(DBA) and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act(OCSLA)

Community Activities

  • Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church – Jr. and Sr. high Sunday school teacher and confirmation class leader; men’s bible study and member of Palmer church choir.
  • SFL – youth football little league assistant coach and team trainer.
  • Houston Bar Association “Night Court” production – participated in this key fundraiser for the HBA.
  • Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Houston – member of the chorus for multiple shows at the Wortham Theater.


  • Keith Smith v. KBR/AIG – 4:11- CV-01065- DBA decision issued  March 11, 2013 by the U.S. Dist. Court for the Southern District of Texas.  We persuaded the federal judge to overturn the BRB’s mandate that all overseas DBA workers have the AWW – Average Weekly Wage (or wage earning capacity) determined solely by the workers’ (usually excessive) overseas earnings alone.  On appeal, the District Court reversed the BRB and permitted the “blending” or averaging of the AWW by looking at both domestic and overseas earnings of the workers, over time.  This decision impacted DBA cases in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi
  • Cardenas v. M&M Project Staffing & Gray Ins. Co. – No. 07-60541- LHWCA decision – Argued before Chief Judge Jones of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals- decisions issued August 20, 2008 –  The Fifth Circuit, after oral argument, reversed the BRB’s calculation of AWW which had been in the longshoreman’s favor.  The Order decreased our client’s exposure by over thirty percent
  • Mapp v. Transocean Offshore & Zurich American Ins. Co.– LHWCA decision – BRB No. 03-0607, decision issued June 16, 2004.  The BRB affirmed the trial ALJ’s holding that Section 33(g) of the LHWCA acted to bar Claimant’s entitlement to any future compensation or medical care because Claimant (who also claimed to be a Jones Act seaman) settled his Jones Act case of for $100,000.00 without Carrier’s approval.  The Employer did participate in and approved the Jones Act settlement.  However, we prevailed because Carrier never engaged in any settlement discussions.  By settling his Jones Act case without our explicit approval, the Claimant/Jones Act seaman was barred from any further LHWCA benefits
  • Piceynski v. DynCorp and ISOP – DBA decision-  (94-LHC-2387).   We secured the first reported Gulf War Syndrome  trial victory stemming from Gulf War I.  The win was issued by ALJ Kerr on June 12, 1997.  ALJ Kerr denied the claim entirely.

Maritime and Admiralty

  • Counsel for a multinational corporation in a significant Jones Act personal injury matter arising offshore Nigeria. Successfully presented in personam and forum non conveniens defenses to the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.
  • Provided advice to Underwriters in connection with a significant cargo damage claim arising as a result of a voyage through Beaufort Force 12 winds.
  • Persuaded Texas State court judge to reverse her own summary judgment granted against our client (before our firm was retained) in connection with a significant offshore personal injury claim.
  • Secured summary judgment (United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas) in connection with a time charter dispute related to a personal injury sustained by a longshoreman while unloading a barge during cargo operations.
  • Successfully negotiated with USCG to resolve the loss and replacement of an aid to navigation.
  • Trial counsel for offshore drilling contractor with regard to a punitive damage claim vis-à-vis maintenance and cure exposure.

Insurance Law

  • Counsel for Underwriters and Domestic Insurers in both traditional and “brown water” matters involving GML, the Jones Act and COGSA.
  • Counsel for domestic insurers in multi party litigation arising on MODUs and stationary platforms including defense and indemnity obligations, additional assured status under the Louisiana Oilfield Anti-Indemnity Act, the Texas Oilfield Anti-Indemnity Act and GML.
  • Counsel for assureds and domestic insurers in matters involving offshore wireline operations and specialty casing companies in down hole loss, loss of reservoir, property damage and PI matters. Counsel for approved self-insured employers and Carriers under the LHWCA and the Defense Base Act.


  • University of Houston Law Center, (J.D., 1984)
  • Texas A&M University, (B.S., 1981)

Legal Memberships

  • Maritime Law Association of the United States (Proctor)
  • State Bar of Texas
  • State Bar of Washington (inactive)
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI)
  • Houston Mariners’ Club
  • The Longshore Claims Association
  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM)
  • Houston Bar Association ADR Section
  • Texas State Bar ADR Section
  • Texas Mediator Credentialing Association – Candidate for Credentialed Mediator

Honors and Awards

Marindale – Hubbell Peer Review AV (preeminent rating) for 20+ years


  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • United States District Courts for the Eastern and Southern Districts of Texas
  • All Courts in the State of Texas