MARCH 21, 2011 by Bill Abbott
A recent motion to stay a Jones Act claim was denied by courts in California. The claim involved a stewardess on a luxury yacht called the Home Stretch. While in Costa Rica, Hollie Sault was injured when she fell down a flight of stairs. The fall occurred because the stairway was not properly illuminated, making it difficult for her to see where she was going. The twist to this case is that the owners of the yacht were involved in a Ponzi scheme. They were taking money from investors of a medical holding company and using that money for non-medical investments. One of the investments was the Home Stretch yacht.
In efforts to try and avoid Sault filing a Jones Act claim, the owners tried to convince her to sign away her rights before they would allow her to seek treatment. This is not abnormal behavior for wealthy vessel owners. Often, when an employee is injured in foreign waters, they try to find ways to avoid paying any awards. However Sault did not succumb to their pressures and she filed a Jones Act claim against the owners.
Since the owners are being investigated for the Ponzi scheme, a motion was made to stay Sault’s claim. A court denied the motion and her claim has been allowed to proceed. This case could have happened anywhere. The important factor in this case were the attorneys. A Texas Jones Act attorney would have been just as prepared to fight for her claim. Maritime law is tricky and having a qualified Texas Jones Act attorney or other state attorney on your side is essential.
Had Sault went with an unqualified attorney or foreign representation, this case would have taken a different turn. If you have been injured on the water, no matter where you are, contact your Texas Jones Act attorney immediately. Find out your rights to filing a claim. Let the experience of your Texas Jones Act attorney ease your mind as they handle your case and get you compensation for your injuries.