Jones Act Attorney Defended Seaman From Unfair Seafarer’s Agreement, After $700 Severance Payment For Burns And Injuries From Fall
A recent study showed that for every single open cruise ship job, there are 130 applicants. The popularity of cruise ship jobs (and some of the unfairness this may create for the workers) is well known by Jones Act attorneys. Jones Act attorneys are also great sources for protecting the rights of injured cruise ship employees. In the following case, an injured seaman was given $700 after career ending injuries. The seaman, however, got the help of an experienced Jones Act attorney to protect his rights under the Jones Act. Danny Garfield worked as a head waiter on a cruise ship, the CELEBRITY, which sailed under a Panamanian flag. In November, 2004, Garfield slipped and fell on some wet substance in the dining room, causing him to also drop a coffeepot. He injured his spine, right shoulder, and badly burned his leg. He contacted a Jones Act attorney to discuss his legal rights. Some time afterwards, his Jones Act attorney filed suit for negligence against the cruise line, under the Jones Act.
Jones Act Attorney Explained Unfairness Of “Skimpy” Medical Care For Seaman
Garfield had received what the Jones Act attorney was to describe as “substandard medical care” from the onboard physician. For no known reason, that doctor only treated the leg burn, proved the Jones Act attorney. Due to all of his injuries, Garfield was medically “signed off” the vessel soon afterwards, but on regular vacation time instead of medical leave. During this time, he wasn’t given any maintenance or cure payments, nor was he treated for his neck and shoulder injuries. In January, 2005,Garfield again signed onto the CELEBRITY. Over the course of the next several months,Garfield repeatedly visited the ship’s physician. The medical treatments were later detailed by the Jones Act attorney in this way: (1) at first, he was told that he didn’t even have any injuries; (2) was treated only with analgesic balm and pain killers; and (3) eventually was signed off the vessel, now due to injuries, but again on regular vacation leave.
Before being signed off from the ship the second time, there were many days Garfield couldn’t do his job, because of his shoulder and neck pain, and he lost a lot of pay. Garfield eventually returned to the CELEBRITY a third time, but had to sign a new Seafarer’s Agreement, with an arbitration clause (the “New Agreement”), the Jones Act attorney emphasized. This “New Agreement” specified that any disputes would be arbitrated in the Philippines and resolved under Panamanian law, noted the Jones Act attorney. Just over two months later, in December, 2005, the ship’s physician decided that Garfield’s injuries (from 2004) made him “unfit” for continuing with his head waiter duties, and he was officially, permanently fired. Garfield was given a medical sign-off with a meager $700 payment, the Jones Act attorney showed, and according to court records.
Requiring Arbitration In Philippines Was Prevented By Jones Act Attorney
The employer, relying on the arbitration clause of the Seafarer’s New Agreement with Garfield, filed to have the district court force Garfield to arbitrate the case in the Philippines. The district court granted the motion, saying the arbitration language of the New Agreement was enforceable. The Jones Act attorney, however, continued to point out that the (old) Seafarer’s Agreement (in effect when Garfield was first hurt) did not contain any such arbitration requirement. On that basis, the Jones Act attorney appealed the forced arbitration.
The Jones Act attorney actually agreed that a Court should reasonably order the parties to arbitrate. A Jones Act attorney often uses that process for a fair settlement. But, the Jones Act attorney argued this was not reasonable (or legal). After all, the Jones Act attorney emphasized that the employer was negligent both in causing the accident resulting in his injuries and its medical response. The district court had ordered arbitration, by noting…
“Plaintiff’s claims all arise out of his employment on the CELEBRITY, and interpreting the New Agreement to require arbitration of “all disputes arising out of Plaintiff’s services on the vessel.”
The Jones Act attorney said this language had nothing to do with proving negligence. The Appeals Court agreed with the Jones Act attorney and decided the trial court was wrong in its legal analysis. There was obviously, the Jones Act attorney noted, “no doubt” that Garfield’s claims arose out of his employment on the CELEBRITY. Yet it wasn’t enough for the trial court to say the dispute “arose” from work on the CELEBRITY, emphasized the Jones Act attorney. The dispute about Garfield’s injuries, observed the Jones Act attorney, must have had some actual relationship to the New Agreement. In other words, the New Agreement had nothing to do with the old injury, the Jones Act attorney was to successfully argue.
To prove it, the Jones Act attorney detailed a timeline. Garfield’s claim of negligence under the Jones Act was made up of allegations that involved only events from the slip-and-fall in 2004…before the existence of (and with no connection to) the New Agreement, the Jones Act attorney proved. The seaman could have brought the exact same Jones Act suit, even if he had never had the New Agreement or signed back onto the CELEBRITY. The Appeals court backed the Jones Act attorney and reversed the Philippine arbitration. This allowed Garfield’s Jones Act attorney to go ahead with the claims in US court.
A Jones Act attorney who is experienced with the cruise industry is very familiar with many of that industry’s practices. Immediately after an injury, any seaman will benefit from meeting and talking with a Jones Act attorney. The ways a cruise ship is owned may also be intended to benefit the vessel owner, but the Jones Act itself (as this case showed) also creates protections for when an injured seaman consults with that experienced Jones Act attorney.