Jones Act

Jones Act Lawyer Showed Injured Employee’s Expected Return To Sea

Seamen may sometimes balance their intense, long periods at sea, with helping make repairs to their vessel in a shipyard. It’s important to meet with a Jones Act lawyer as soon as possible when injured in these repair periods, to help obtain evidence to clarify whether working on land was still part of regular seaman’s duty. In the following case, the employer tried (unsuccessfully) to counter a Jones Act lawyer’s successful defense of a seaman’s Jones Act award, for just such an on-shore injury.

Bill Drury’s Jones Act lawyer explained how Drury was hurt, carrying two batteries from a large truck to his dredge (in drydock). The batteries were later shown by the Jones Act lawyer to weigh around 45 pounds apiece. Drury had to carry the batteries from the yard and then across two gangways. The first gangway went from the yard to a repair barge, and the second gangway extended from the repair barge to his vessel, as shown by yard diagrams from the Jones Act lawyer. Drury later answered his Jones Act lawyer, saying the step down from the second gangway to the dredge was “a long step down…between a foot and a foot and a half.” The Jones Act lawyer showed how Drury injured his back, stepping from the gangway onto the dredge. Drury completed his shift and reported the injury to the Captain the following day, the Jones Act lawyer showed.

A jury argued the Jones Act lawyer had shown Drury was a seaman acting in the course of his job when he was hurt. The jury also found that the negligence of the vessel owner was a legal cause (70%) of Drury’s injury. Based on the Jones Act lawyer’s evidence, the trial court calculated that Drury was owed $1,109,500.00 in damages and $87,000.00 in cure.

The vessel owner appealed only the Jones Act lawyer’s evidence that Drury was a seaman. But the Jones Act lawyer had proven to the judge and jury at trial, that “(I)n deciding the connection of a worker to a vessel in navigation, you don’t use a ‘snapshot’ test for seaman status, inspecting only the situation as it exists at the very instant of injury.”

Duties Of Seaman In Case Included “Nine To Twelve” Months Of Work On Sea, Jones Act Lawyer Proved

The evidence from the Jones Act lawyer also showed that Drury was hired to work as a mate on the dredge. The Jones Act lawyer detailed how Drury worked off-shore, still as a Ship’s mate. Drury ate and slept on the dredge while it was at the yard, the Jones Act lawyer proved. The Captain had also testified, in answer to the Jones Act lawyer, that he “would never” assign Drury to do “only yard work.” Instead, Drury “would always be doing some work with the dredge.” The Captain also conceded to the Jones Act lawyer that, when the crew wasn’t operating the dredge, they were transferred to another dredge. A project manager for the employer also testified to the Jones Act lawyer that when a dredge is sent to the yard for repairs and maintenance, the “crew typically stays with the vessel.” The Jones Act lawyer emphasized the engineer’s use of the term “crew.”

Jones Act Lawyer: “Vessel Does Not Stop Being A Vessel At Dockside”

The personnel records introduced by the Jones Act lawyer showed Drury was re-hired as a mate for the dredge and performed the work of a seaman as a mate until the dredge was taken to the yard for repair. The vessel owner, pointed out the Jones Act lawyer, relied on arguing that an employee’s seaman status “may somehow change if his basic assignment changes.” However, both the Captain and Drury testified in answer to the Jones Act lawyer that Drury’s basic assignment had not changed. Drury continued to perform work that would contribute to the functioning of the dredge by repairing it, observed the Jones Act lawyer. Finally, the Captain even admitted to the Jones Act lawyer that Drury “would have been taken along on the dredge as a mate if he’d been able to return to duty.”

In this case, Drury’s connection to the dredge didn’t change when it was docked, pointed out the Jones Act lawyer. A vessel, the Jones Act lawyer had also shown, doesn’t stop being a vessel when she’s not voyaging. This was especially true, the Jones Act lawyer emphasized, when the repairs last a fairly short period of time. The evidence from the Jones Act attorney, agreed the appeals court, was strong, and enough to support the jury’s finding that Drury was a seaman. The award was upheld.

A Jones Act lawyer will help to re-enact and accurately create the accident for a jury. As in this case, the difference was a strong demonstration to the jury, which frequently makes the vessel owner’s duty more apparent. One way for an injured seaman to help recreate his case is to get treatment, and then as quickly as possible, get the confidential help of a Jones Act lawyer.

Jones Act Attorney: Seaman Had Right To Show Interference With His Right To Sue

Sally Van Heusen works with a non-profit Seamen’s Justice center, and has what she calls a “book of practical advice” for injured seamen. She has reason to believe in her advice, since her Merchant Marine husband was forced to retire, after a career-ending maritime injury. “No matter how much time you think you have…go talk to a Jones Act attorney. And while you are at it, make sure it’s an experienced Jones Act attorney.” Van Heusen recently released a study on the importance of the Jones Act’s time limits, and what can happen when an injured seaman takes too much time to pursue a Jones Act claim, with or without a qualified Jones Act attorney. In the following case, a Jones Act attorney had to almost literally fight, to drag a case back into court, because the case had not begun with a qualified Jones Act attorney.

In 2005, Dan Forbes was injured while working aboard a sixteen foot aluminum boat on navigable waters. After an investigation, the employer voluntarily started paying benefits under the State’s Workers Compensation law. Unfortunately, the seaman in this case didn’t choose to, at first, get the help of an experienced Jones Act attorney to present the Jones Act claims in the case. It wasn’t until four years had passed, that the seaman finally did meet with a Jones Act attorney. The Jones Act attorney faced a hurdle to have the case heard:

“No action shall be maintained under this chapter unless commenced within three years from the day the cause of action accrued.”

Since the seaman was injured in 2005, and didn’t file his Jones Act suit until four years later, under most circumstances, it was clear that his claim would be time barred. Unless that is, the Jones Act attorney pointed out… unless the applicable federal statute of limitations had been interrupted.

The Jones Act attorney correctly emphasized that the case was strictly a question of federal law. The next issue became whether an employer’s conduct could ever “toll” (or stop) the running of the 3-year federal statute of limitations. The Jones Act attorney successfully emphasized that not all suits started after the three year period are barred.

Special Circumstances: Jones Act Attorney Argued For Chance To Show Exceptions To Statute

There are some cases, pointed out by the Jones Act attorney, when the three year limitation period can be extended. A court can agree to stop (or “toll”) the time limit for filing a suit, based on what’s called estoppel or equity, said the Jones Act attorney. This, mentioned the Jones Act attorney, could involve proving one of four elements: what these four things generally add up to is that estoppel can save the seaman’s claim, if any facts show that he’s been induced, or unfairly led, into letting the 3-year deadline pass, argued the Jones Act attorney.

Here, the appeals court agreed. The Jones Act attorney did protect the chance for the seaman to make any possible proofs of fraud, misrepresentation, concealment, or some other, specific act… any one of which could have been enough to support a claim that the employer should be equitably stopped from using the three year limitations period in the Jones Act.

Jones Act Attorney Defended Right To Hearing On Possible Reasons For Delay

The appeals court also agreed with the thrust of the Jones Act attorney’s argument… the vessel owner in the case, and even the lower courts, treated the statute of limitations (or any exceptions to it) as if the timeline issue was controlled by State law. As the Jones Act attorney and appeals court agreed, it was a mater of federal (not State) law. The Jones Act attorney also made it clear that no consideration had been given to any evidence that might have ‘stopped the clock’ under federal law. The appeals court felt the seaman deserved one more chance to do that, remanding the case to trial court, and this time with an experienced Jones Act attorney.

At least, Sally Van Heusen noted, the seaman’s Jones Act attorney won an opportunity to present evidence on whether the employer should be stopped from taking advantage of the statute of limitations. This case represented something other than an ideal situation…and also, the importance of working with an experienced Jones Act attorney, early in the process. Because so many rights have to be claimed in a certain period of time, it’s always, absolutely essential to learn about those rights, and a Jones Act attorney is ideal. Most often, learning about time limits will mean getting help from an experienced Jones Act attorney. Sally Van Heusen also noted the outcome, by citing the case as an “interesting example…it took an experienced Jones Act attorney to rescue the case, to that extent. It’s a fine example of how picking the right kind of attorney counts, early on…and for an injured seaman, that means seeing a Jones Act attorney.”

Jones Act Attorney Defends Injured Seaman Through Use Of The “Pennsylvania Rule”

Thomas Castle is a retired Coast Guard inspector, who recently discussed an increasingly important tool for a Jones Act attorney, when defending an injured seaman’s rights. Castle notes that employers are increasingly trying to prove a seaman’s negligence, in order to try and reduce Jones Act damages. A Jones Act attorney in the following case showed that when a vessel owner violates a safety rule, they may be held completely liable for all damages, regardless of any error by the seaman. This is called, the Jones Act attorney said, the “Pennsylvania Rule,” and it increasingly applies in Jones Act cases. Castle believes the rule is one more reason “to get advice from an experienced Jones Act attorney immediately after an accident. Waiting to see a Jones Act attorney only helps the vessel owner.”

Clyde Carlisle suffered compound fractures in both his legs, due to the tug captain’s mistakes, while moving a barge.Carlisle’s legs eventually had to be reconstructed, according to medical evidence from Carlyle’s Jones Act attorney. The Jones Act attorney also showed that Carlisle suffered from chronic pain and had a pronounced limp because of the accident. Carlisle’s Jones Act attorney filed a lawsuit against the employer who owned the tug where Carlisle was injured. A jury agreed with the Jones Act attorney and awarded Carlisle $1,476,342. Doyle Marine, Inc. (DMI) appealed whether the Pennsylvania rule applied.

The Pennsylvania Rule, said the Jones Act attorney, had shifted the burden of evidence entirely to the tug’s owners to prove that its conduct could not have been the cause of the injuries.

USCG Violation Created Special Liability Of Vessel Owner, Jones Act Attorney Showed

DMI argued that the Rule did not apply to personal injury or Jones Act cases. The Jones Act attorney proved otherwise. Although the Rule came from a case involving a collision, it had been extended to other Jones Act cases such as Carlisle’s, said the Jones Act attorney. Several federal courts have even “been emphatic,” showed the Jones Act attorney, that the Rule applies in non-collision cases. The influential federal Fifth Circuit used the Rule, saying that “the rule has been reformulated to apply to any ‘statutory violator’ who is a ‘party to a maritime accident.’ ” The appeals court also went on to agree with the Jones Act attorney…the Rule should apply, after the Jones Act attorney for the seaman had shown a tie between the violation and the injury.

Having proved that the Pennsylvania Rule did apply in the case, the Jones Act attorney then explained two separate regulations that DMI violated. The first, emphasized the Jones Act attorney, was a vital Coast Guard licensing regulation for uninspected towing vessels: “An individual is only authorized to serve as operator of uninspected towing vessels, within any restrictions on the individual’s license.” The Jones Act attorney showed that, because the tug’s Captain Stacy was licensed only to serve as master of vessels of not more than 100 gross tons, and the tug was a vessel of 123 gross tons, the trial court had correctly ruled that DMI violated the regulation “as a matter of law,” said the Jones Act attorney.

Jones Act Attorney Proved Additional Safety Violation

DMI couldn’t dispute the Jones Act attorney’s evidence about the basic facts. Those were the only facts necessary to decide whether the captain was operating the vessel “within any restrictions on the individual’s license,” the Jones Act attorney had proven.

Additionally, the jury also agreed with the Jones Act attorney that DMI was in violation of Rule 5 of the COLREGS (called the lookout rule). The Jones Act attorney proved that the lookout rule was a related safety regulation, and that Carlisle was in the class of seamen protected by the regulation. Requirements that the captain of a vessel be licensed to operate that type of vessel, argued the Jones Act attorney, and that the vessel have a lookout are both to ensure safety for the vessel’s crew. Moreover, the Jones Act attorney  showed how the Pennsylvania Rule had been used several times to specifically refer to Coast Guard safety regs….including, the Jones Act attorney emphasized, exactly the USCG licensing requirement in this case. The appeals court again agreed with the Jones Act attorney, and then upheld Carlisle’s full Jones Act award.

After a seaman’s injury, there are special rules about how an accident is to be reviewed. By talking with a Jones Act attorney, these inspection and accident rules can also be enforced. While rules such as the Pennsylvania Rule may help a seaman, there’s probably no better way to find out what really caused an accident, than to consult almost immediately with a Jones Act attorney.

Employer Failed In Effort To Escape Duty To Seaman For Injuries, Showed Jones Act Attorney

A group of states attorney generals are investigating how marine insurance companies may sometimes fail to accept their duty to pay for Jones Act injuries. A former insurance executive, who now works with a state consumer ombudsman’s office for insurance matters, feel there’s one good answer: “For an injured seaman, the best step is to go find a qualified Jones Act attorney.” In the following case, a vessel owner argued an accident was supposedly caused entirely by a seaman’s “own” mistakes. Fortunately, in the following case, the seaman did exactly as the experts advise…he found a highly experienced Jones Act attorney to help. The Jones Act attorney proved the seaman had not been given enough help to do his job safely.

The accident occurred, the Jones Act attorney successfully showed, after Chester Dillon finished fixing a transfer pump on one of the batteries. Dillon testified that when he arrived at the oil platform, the weather was clear and the water was calm. He tied his 22-foot boat to the platform, disembarked, and started the job. Within minutes, though, Dillon noticed a storm was heading in. The Jones Act attorney asked Dillon why he stayed, and Dillon responded, “I wasn’t finished with the pump.” Dillon did go back to his boat, for a short time, but only to tie it more securely before finishing up. Dillon testified to the Jones Act attorney that he was on the battery for a total of less than an hour. By the time Dillon finally returned to his boat to leave, the storm was on him and the water had turned rough, according to evidence from the Jones Act attorney. Dillon testified winds were blowing between 20 to 30 miles an hour and one of the ropes had broken, to allow the boat to turn sideways.

The trial court accepted that the Jones Act attorney “was correct” in showing Dillon felt reasonably “compelled to finish his job under risky conditions.” The Jones Act attorney had also convinced the trial court that these unsafe conditions were mostly created by the employer.

Jones Act Attorney Quotes Seaman: “There Was No One To Help”

Dillon had a two-way radio with him, but he made no attempt to call anyone for help because, he testified, he knew “no one was available to help.” Dillon tossed his tools onto the deck and waited for the boat to return to a position where he could jump in. According to testimony obtained by the Jones Act attorney, Dillon waited for the boat to reach its lowest point in the water, and then he jumped out to meet the deck when the boat came up. The Jones Act attorney helped to show this meant Dillon jumped a distance of one or two feet from the platform to the boat. Dillon also testified in answering the Jones Act attorney that “it’s common for us to board boats this way.” When Dillon landed, his right leg slipped and he fell against the cabin and down onto the deck. Medical evidence introduced by the Jones Act attorney showed severe strains and bruising to the back and both knees. Dillon answered the Jones Act attorney, saying he hadn’t waited on the platform for the storm to pass, since “I figured the boat or the platform could be” damaged if he failed to move his boat.

Jones Act Attorney: Vessel Owner Had Reason To Know Of General Safety Risks

The trial judge, and then the appeals court, both agreed that the Jones Act attorney had proven the employer was negligent. Both judges decided it was “unreasonable” for the employer to have made Dillon work with no help. The Jones Act attorney had especially documented this argument by showing Dillon had two previous knee surgeries. Additionally, the Jones Act attorney argued that the employer knew Dillon was likely to work alone, especially on a Saturday, when few people were available to help. Dillon had also told his Jones Act attorney that the season of the injury was “when weather can suddenly change.” The employer claimed it didn’t require (or even encourage) any employee to work in hazardous weather. It was true that the employer couldn’t have known, the Jones Act attorney willingly conceded, that Dillon would be caught in a specific storm. But the employer was aware that storms frequently arose that time of year, the Jones Act attorney had proven.

The Jones Act attorney emphasized the employer entirely blamed Dillon for his own injury. If Dillon had simply waited on the platform for the storm to pass, the employer argued, he would not have been injured. Yet, the employer was also aware of Dillon’s physical limits, showed the Jones Act attorney. Even after two knee surgeries, the employer kept sending Dillon to work alone, just as he had in the past, despite his weakened condition. Although Dillon could, the Jones Act attorney agreed, have waited on the platform for the storm to pass, doing so would have meant risking damage to the boat and the platform. The appeals court upheld the arguments of the Jones Act attorney on the seaman’s behalf.

The former insurance executive, who discussed this case, also described it as “standard procedure for too many companies.” At the same time, he also encouraged seeking the services of a Jones Act attorney as “the best way to immediately level the playing field with these giant companies.” Unfortunately, he added, the companies may make up the difference, taking advantage of those who have not been to see a Jones Act attorney.

Jones Act Lawyer: Oil Company Wrongly Called Seaman “Land Based” Worker

In many cases, where a seaman has been a long time working for a single employer, there’s some evidence that they are at most risk of injury, in the year before their retirement. In the following case, the help of a Jones Act lawyer helped protect the retirement plans of an injured seaman and his family. Henry Lennon and his wife, Diane, consulted with a Jones Act lawyer, who then brought a lawsuit against a major international oil company, under the Jones Act. After the trial, the Lennon’s Jones Act lawyer had secured for them a judgment for $759,906.92 in damages. The oil company appealed whether Lennon was really a “seaman” under the Jones Act.

The Jones Act lawyer noted that Lennon worked for the oil company 15 years before receiving a disability retirement. Up until retirement, the employer even recognized him as a “safe and conscientious worker.” Lennon’s pre-retirement job was as a Senior Operator. This position, noted the Jones Act lawyer later, was work that also emphasized safety practices, and Lennon worked in the important slot for almost the last seven years of his career. As Senior Operator, Lennon was responsible for inspecting, testing, and maintaining various off-shore wells and tank batteries. Lennon took daily excursions using a Joe boat called the Tortoise. During Lennon’s days off, other Operators would use the Tortoise, but the boat was navigated only by Lennon while he was working. The Jones Act lawyer was to use this fact in an important way.

Jones Act Lawyer Investigated, Proved “Extensive” Time Spent Aboard Vessel

Lennon worked five, eight-hour days each week. He lived on land with his wife and went home every night. It was true, observed the Jones Act lawyer, that Lennon started most mornings inside an office, with a safety meeting. The time these activities took varied, from 20 minutes to an hour, showed the Jones Act lawyer. Afterwards, Lennon would immediately board the Tortoise.

Lennon was asked by his Jones Act lawyer to describe in detail the routine after leaving the dock. In one oil field, Lennon might need to check four or five wells, and one tank battery, every day. In other fields, Lennon would only visit the wells and batteries “when there was a problem.”

Lennon also testified, in answer to his Jones Act lawyer, that his job required navigating various bodies of water including lakes, bayous, canals, and bays. He often encountered traffic from barges, tug boats, crew boats, outboards, and commercial fishing boats. He told the Jones Act lawyer how important it was “to know the area thoroughly,” in order to “avoid water hazards and navigate” traffic. These tasks, emphasized the Jones Act lawyer, were all consistent with many a seaman’s navigation duties. In order to avoid crashing into platforms, Lennon had to pay attention to currents while docking, showed the Jones Act lawyer. Lennon was familiar with alternate routes to use during low tide and bad weather. Mr. Adams, an executive with the employer, conceded on cross-exam by the Jones Act lawyer that it was [the employer’s] policy that operators (such as Lennon) learn company marine safety rules and marine piloting rules. Joe Presley, Lennon’s former supervisor, testified to the Jones Act lawyer that Lennon “could not do his job without a boat.” Mr. Adams also conceded to the Jones Act lawyer as to how Lennon would spend at least three and one half hours of a shift actually traveling in the Tortoise.

Jones Act Lawyer Disproved Employer Claim Of Work As “Land Based”

The oil company, noted the Jones Act lawyer, tried to say Lennon’s duties were consistent with a “land-based worker,” who used a boat “merely as transportation,” and didn’t do a “substantial amount” of his work aboard the boat. The Jones Act lawyer even noted that the trial court had carefully said, “Water travel, alone, does not create seaman status.” This suggested the trial judge had carefully considered the evidence of both the Jones Act lawyer and the employer.

But the Jones Act lawyer had shown a pattern of heavy, consistent vessel use by Lennon. For example, the Jones Act lawyer concluded by stressing how the Tortoise was assigned to Lennon. The evidence by the Jones Act lawyer established the Tortoise was the only boat Lennon used. The Tortoise was specifically equipped for the job Lennon performed as Senior Operator, observed the Jones Act lawyer. Lennon used the Tortoise as a workplace, as well as for transportation.

In view of the crucial testimony offered through the Jones Act lawyer, the appeals court said it had been reasonable for the trial court to agree…Lennon certainly qualified as a seaman under the Jones Act. The seaman’s verdict was upheld.

In many cases of a seaman’s injuries, there is a series of accidents over a career. An experienced Jones Act lawyer can study the possible links of these incidents, and help to decide appropriate legal liability. As in this case, the Jones Act lawyer had a seaman’s successful, fifteen year career to review, and the seaman (and his wife) wisely, and soon after becoming aware of a number of health issues the husband faced, sought the advice of a Jones Act lawyer.

Jones Act Attorney Blocked Vessel Owner From Ignoring Notice of Seaman’s Claim

Sometimes (perhaps, all too often) a seaman simply trusts a vessel owner to “do the right thing” when it comes to paying for injuries. In the following case, the major issue was over communications from injured seaman Andrew Perry’s Jones Act attorney to Sea Subs, owner of the M/V Sea Sub III. The Jones Act attorney tried to prompt Sea Subs into taking action to help Perry. The Jones Act attorney argued (successfully) that such correspondence was enough notice to begin the running of an important six-month deadline. It’s during that six month period, said the Jones Act attorney, when a vessel owner can file a request to try and limit their financial liability to an injured seaman. For their part, the employer tried saying (unsuccessfully, it turned out) they weren’t “aware” of any such demand from the Jones Act attorney.

Perry, first mate on the Sea Sub III, was seriously injured while diving near Dolphin Key, Alabama, in the course of his employment, and was hospitalized. Sea Subs refused payment of Perry’s medical bills. The Jones Act attorney later showed all the bills were directly related to the work. Perry had understandably become frustrated in trying to deal with the employer on his own, and eventually consulted a Jones Act attorney. Because of the pattern of delay, the Jones Act attorney began an immediate and active investigation into the accident. Incidentally, studies indicate vessel owners are more responsive to requests from a Jones Act attorney. Over the course of several weeks, The Jones Act attorney corresponded with Sam Stevens, representing Sea Subs, about Perry’s injuries and what Sea Subs would do about paying for them.

Jones Act Attorney Put Vessel Owner “On Notice” Of Lawsuit By Injured Seaman

The Jones Act attorney sent several letters to Stevens, explaining why Perry was liable for maintenance and cure from Sea Subs. The first letter from the Jones Act attorney also stressed that Perry (and thus, Sea Subs) owed “tens of thousands” of dollars in medical care:

Please be advised that this office has been retained by Andrew Perry relative to his on-the-job-injury. As you know, Mr. Perry, as a Jones Act seaman, is entitled to receive maintenance and cure from the date of this accident to the point of maximum medical improvement without regard to liability.

Notwithstanding, Mr. Perry has advised that, to date, nearly two years after his accident, he has yet to receive any benefits from Sea Subs, Inc. whatsoever. To make matters worse, Mr. Perry advises that he has incurred tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills and has been forced to completely forego medical care due to Sea Subs’ failure to pay maintenance and cure benefits under the laws of the United States.

The letter also requested information about insurance, including excess coverage, from Sea Subs.

Perry continued working closely with his Jones Act attorney, and they agreed to take the next step. The Jones Act attorney filed a suit against Sea Subs for negligence under the Jones Act. Sea Subs tried to argue they couldn’t be sued based on a “limitations” law. The court ruled in favor of the Jones Act attorney and the injured seaman. The court found that the Jones Act attorney communication gave “sufficient notice to Sea Subs of Perry’s claims for Jones Act negligence.”

Jones act Attorney Noted Purpose Of 1936 Law Was To Stop Owner “Delays”

More than 150 years ago (in 1851), noted the Jones Act attorney, Congress had passed something called the Limitation of Liability Act, which was meant to encourage American ship-building by sometimes limiting financial liability. In 1936, Congress amended part of the Liability Act “by adding a time limit that required a vessel owner to file such a petition in federal court, within six months of receiving written notice of a claim.” The purpose of the 1936 change (ironically), noted the Jones Act attorney, was to help stop unfair time delays caused by shipowners.

The attempt of Sea Subs to “read” the letters from the Jones Act attorney as only vaguely referring to maintenance and cure just didn’t work. The letters were plain enough, the court agreed with the Jones Act attorney, in saying that the Jones Act attorney was “clearly positioning” to bring the seaman’s claims “for Jones Act negligence in addition to (unpaid) maintenance and cure.” Though Sea Subs argued otherwise, it was also clear from Stevens’ letter that Sea Sub’s lawyer was fully aware the Jones Act attorney was taking action. Sea Subs, the Jones Act attorney had shown, had lost their right to limit liability under the Act.

Among the important questions in case of any injury to a seaman, is whether an employer will try to limit its liabilities. The more severe the injury, the higher the chance this attempted limit will happen. This is also why the sooner a seaman seeks the help of a Jones Act attorney, the sooner the Jones Act attorney can start the clock running on a full accounting of employer liability. Not every vessel owner will try to limit its liability in this way. Taking early steps to work with a Jones Act attorney means the sooner the duty to pay the costs of injury can be determined by the injured seaman’s Jones Act attorney.

When Stress Has Physical Results, Jones Act Attorney Showed Grounds For Employer Liability

Darren Fischer worked as a seaman aboard commercial water craft, owned by Midshipping, INC., from 1994 to 2000. Fischer served on “self-unloading” boats, which unload by opening gates, at the bottoms of cargo holds. When the gates are open, the cargo drops onto a conveyor belt. Other conveyor belts transport this cargo to an unloading boom, which drops the cargo onto a dock. Two-person teams (conveyormen and gatemen) operate and maintain the self-unloading system.

In March 2000, Midshipping assigned Fischer to a ship called the “S.S. Bounty.” Fischer served on that ship through June 2000. Although the equipment on the Bounty was in good condition, Fischer was unhappy, he later testified to his Jones Act attorney, that he was assigned to “that ship” and believed that the gateman he had been assigned was “incompetent.” The result, the Jones Act attorney established, was an enormous amount of pressure, as Fischer worried over potential damage to millions of dollars worth of goods.

Details Introduced By Jones Act Attorney Detailed “Awful Stress” In Ship Duties

Eventually, Fischer got a transfer to the “S.S. Bounder,” which Fischer fondly considered to be his “old home,” the Jones Act attorney noted. On his first day on the Bounder, Fischer heard squealing noises from the conveyor rollers for about five hours. Fischer later testified in his deposition to the Jones Act attorney that the job of a conveyorman, generally, is a “stressful one.” His work involved long, difficult hours of tough physical labor and mental stress, showed the Jones Act attorney.

On August 16, 2000, Fischer left the Bounder for a vacation, at about 10 p.m., according to work records produced by the Jones Act attorney. Early the next morning, Fischer suffered a heart attack at his home. Fischer was then 60 years old, and had no known history of heart problems, noted the Jones Act attorney. There were, the Jones Act attorney showed, also some issues of diabetes and ulcers. In June 2001, after unrelated surgeries, Fischer was told that he would be unable to ever go back to work. Four years later, Fischer died as a result of his original heart attack. In failing health before then, Fischer had sought out the advice of a Jones Act attorney. Fischer and the Jones Act attorney had decided to sue Midshipping under the Jones Act, alleging that Fischer’s heart attack had been caused by the stress. Eventually, however, the district court granted the vessel owner’s motion for a summary judgment. The Jones Act attorney then promptly appealed, and later continued the case on behalf of Fisher’s widow.

Jones Act Attorney: Duty Of Vessel Owners May Include Awareness Of Worker’s Physical Limits

Jones Act employers have a duty, observed the Jones Act attorney, to use “reasonable care” in providing employees with a safe place to work. This means, employers also may (“may,” emphasized the Jones Act attorney) be negligent if they assign employees to tasks, which are known to be beyond their physical abilities. Injuries may be covered under the Jones Act, observed the Jones Act attorney by citing other legal cases, even if the injuries are caused by the cumulative effect of incidents. This is especially true, pointed out the Jones Act attorney, when the worker’s in a potential “zone of danger” for physical harm.

Midshipping, on the other hand, answered the Jones Act attorney on appeal (unsuccessfully) that the district court granted its summary judgment, because Fischer’s Jones Act attorney’s claims were “merely” work-related stress claims. The Jones Act attorney answered that the claims were for an actual physical injury. Crucially, the Jones Act attorney didn’t seek recovery for negligent infliction of Fischer’s emotional distress.

The appeals court agreed with the Jones Act attorney, noting that Fischer’s injury was physical (an actual heart attack) and the Jones Act attorney never argued a case of negligent infliction of emotional distress. Heart attacks can become compensable injuries, the Jones Act attorney had convinced the appeals court, as long as the statutory requirements of the Jones Act are met. The key in this case, noted the Jones Act attorney, was because the heart attack occurred, either during or shortly after Fischer’s strenuous physical labor, or because of adverse physical conditions in the workplace.

The Jones Act attorney had successfully emphasized specific cases where physical injuries, including heart attacks, were covered under the Jones Act…especially, if they are negligently caused by physical stress or extraordinary non-physical stress. The Jones Act attorney was willing to concede that an employer breaches no duty by failing to prevent “ordinary” workplace stress. In this case, however, the district court had been wrong in believing that there were never any grounds of recovery for stress that leads to a heart attack. The Jones Act attorney under the facts of this case showed that negligently caused physical stress or extraordinary non-physical stress can be a breach of duty to a seaman.

Before a physical condition becomes life threatening, it’s urgent to get the advice of a Jones Act attorney.

Lack Of A “Certain” Cause No Reason To Excuse Jones Act Liability, Proved Jones Act Attorney

The fishing vessel Dell had been on a clamming trip out of Port Smith, South Carolina, when, fully loaded with a catch of Atlantic quahogs, it ran into stormy weather as it headed back to port. As the boat headed in, with its crew of five, the waves washing up on deck weren’t receding off as they usually did. The Dell was taking on water. The Captain (as proved by a Jones Act attorney, later) told the crew members to put on their survival suits, and a few minutes later, ordered them all to abandon ship.

Two crew members who survived had different memories, explained the Jones Act attorney, of last seeing the other three… two of the three lost had probably been in the galley putting on their survival suits, showed the Jones Act attorney . One crew member, with his suit unzipped at the neck, was thrown into the water on the port side One of two survivors told the Jones Act attorney that, once in the water, he heard “other” crew members screaming. The two survivors agreed they had “heard Adam crying for help.” After about ten minutes, the Jones Act attorney said, Adam’s yelling stopped. Another clamming vessel approached and rescued the two crewmen. That ship was unsuccessful as it stayed out at sea, searching fruitlessly for the three missing crewmen, said the Jones Act attorney.

The survivors and the lost crew members’ survivors went to see a Jones Act attorney. The Jones Act attorney filed several claims on their behalf, including under the Jones Act.

Cause Of Sinking Never “Certainly” Known, Said Jones Act Attorney

The cause of the vessel’s sinking was the central dispute in this case, emphasized the Jones Act attorney. A trial court, after hearing the detailed evidence form the Jones Act attorney, agreed that the Dell, as it began its return to port, likely “sank because it was substantially overloaded with clams in cages.” The court agreed with the Jones Act attorney that the vessel’s practice of carrying a heavy (and probably excess) load had become its “common” practice. The vessel owner, however, argued that the Dell sank because the crew members had “negligently failed to close a hatch cover” over one of the five clam tanks, (supposedly) allowing water to build up in the lower level of the vessel, undermining its stability.

A ship owner, noted the Jones Act attorney, has an absolute duty to provide a seaworthy vessel. The Jones Act attorney described how this duty went beyond physical integrity of the vessel, and its equipment…other safety factors, mentioned the Jones Act attorney, include procedures crew members are told to use. In this case, the Jones Act attorney successfully argued, this included the vessel’s capacity to carry a cargo of clams.

Jones Act Attorney Discovered Important Two-Year Old Safety Study

The vessel owner didn’t dispute the Jones Act attorney in suggesting that, if the Dell were “usually” overloaded with clams, then a court could find that the vessel owner breached its duty to the crew. Instead, it argued with the evidence from the Jones Act attorney whether overloading occurred. The owner introduced a stability analysis to prove there’d been no overloading. But the Jones Act attorney proved the study was flawed, since the so-called “downflooding point” was a vent…located six-and-one-half feet above the main deck. The expert also had to admit, under examination from the Jones Act attorney, that if the known 1-inch gaps in the vessel’s hatch covers were used as the downflooding point, the vessel (loaded with 130 full cages of clams) would have failed to pass the stability analysis.

A finding of overloading was also shown by evidence from the Jones Act attorney that the Dell sank on an even keel, which indicated (via an expert asked by the Jones Act attorney) that the water was building up on both sides of the vessel and not just on the port. Finally, the experienced Jones Act attorney had been at work looking at the ship’s history. Extensive maintenance records and logs were discovered and introduced. The Jones Act attorney had also discovered a pivotal study from two years before, which suggested the problems associated with overloading the catch. The appeals court had been convinced by the evidence from the Jones Act attorney, and ruled in support of the Jones Act claim.

The confusion attendant to the sinking or capsizing of a vessel is expected, noted the Jones Act attorney. Only after rescue is there time to try and measure the causes and reasons. In cases where the loss of life has occurred, there’s never really an adequate measure of the losses…but as in this case, there are often important explanations waiting for an experienced Jones Act attorney to help to find. Seeking that help, and gaining the assurance of an experienced Jones Act attorney is often vital.

Jones Act Attorney Wanted All Facts About Line Failure To Be Heard By Jury

At the time of his accident, Robert Terry worked as a deckhand aboard the MV Cloris, which was entering port to take on iron ore. Because there were no personnel on the dock to help the vessel in tying up, one of the ship’s crew had to be lowered to the dock. This was a common procedure, accomplished by lowering the crewman on a bos’n’s chair. On that day, Terry (noted the Jones Act attorney) was “the most experienced” deckhand on duty and he was to be lowered on the bos’n’s chair.

Normally, the crew would have an hour to rig the boom with the bos’n’s chair, but the lake was so rough, the ship’s master had ordered everyone off deck until the vessel passed the port breakers. This left only 15 to 20 minutes to complete the boom’s rigging. Worse, large amounts of ice were later proved by the Jones Act attorney to have formed on the deck and the boom. Spray quickly froze when it landed on the ship. Terry and another crewman used propane torches to de-ice the boom. This was according to procedure, said the Jones Act attorney. When Terry tested the boom, it wouldn’t swing out. The crew hadn’t changed the grease in the bearings, from summer to winter grease; and the summer grease had frozen. Terry applied the flame of a torch to the bearings. He worked on each bearing, for only “several minutes” the Jones Act attorney proved, and the grease loosened enough for the boom to pivot.

Finally, the crew began to rig the line for the bos’n’s chair. The crew had used this line for a fairly long time, and evidence gathered from ship records by the Jones Act attorney also showed it had been left rigged, while the ship traveled from port to port. Terry mounted the bos’n’s chair, and the crew swung the boom out. After 10 feet of line were fed out, the line parted and Terry fell about 20 feet to the dock. Terry’s left arm and wrist fractured, his left heel was crushed, and he suffered a back injury. The Jones Act attorney introduced detailed medical records showing the extent of Terry’s severe injuries.

Jones Act Attorney Won Award For Seaman, Successfully Challenged “Expert” Opinion

The employer’s theory was that Terry had somehow burned the line with his torch. But the jury agreed with the Jones Act attorney: the Cloris had been unseaworthy and Castle Steamship had been negligent. The jury decided Terry’s damages were $200,000, but that he had been 50% negligent. The Jones Act attorney promptly appealed this “50%” decision.

The Jones Act attorney argued on appeal that the district court was wrong in allowing Castle Steamship’s expert (Phil Campeche) to offer his opinion. The problem with Campeche’s testimony, said the Jones Act attorney, was whether that testimony was really “expert” at all. To support the appeal, the Jones Act attorney listed the mistakes Campeche had made. Castle Steamship gave Campeche one end of the line that had parted. But it also gave him another (“brand new,” proved the Jones Act Attorney) 13-foot section of line. Campeche wrongly believed (admitted under questioning by the Jones Act attorney) that this 13-foot section of line had been taken from the line that had parted. He didn’t test the 13-foot section, observed the Jones Act attorney, but sent it to a lab for “failure analysis.” Those tests showed the 13-foot section of line had failed under a strain (4,000 pounds), but the jury never learned that, because the court said it was hearsay. This meant, emphasized the Jones Act attorney, that the 13-foot section was new line, and not the actual line that had split. Campeche’s misunderstanding of the line’s age cast also serious doubt on his conclusions, proved the Jones Act attorney.

To Be Expert Opinion, Jones Act Attorney Requested Scientific Tests

The Jones Act attorney also showed Campeche performed “no tests” at all on the actual line. The only “test” Campeche conducted (again admitted to the Jones Act attorney at trial) was to visually examine the frayed end of the line with his naked eye and with a low power microscope. Campeche testified to the Jones Act attorney that he “believed” the line parted because it was weakened by exposure to a “localized heat source.” By referring to a “heat source” instead of flame, the Jones Act attorney noted that (perhaps, coincidentally) Campeche’s testimony could support either of Castle Steamship’s theories at trial: either that Terry accidentally burned the rope with a torch or that he “super heated” the bearing on which he was working, and that bearing burned the rope. But these conclusions, emphasized the Jones Act attorney, didn’t rest on scientific evidence.

Campeche’s opinion wasn’t expert, the Jones Act attorney had proven, since he failed to perform tests or use any “scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge” to give him a valid basis for an “expert” opinion. The court also supported the importance of the Jones Act attorney argument saying the flawed testimony “can only have unfairly influenced the jury in its findings concerning Terry’s alleged negligence.” The Jones Act attorney had requested a new trial, and that request was granted.

Expert testimony is one of the key areas of skill used by an experienced Jones Act attorney. In the same way a Jones Act attorney will seek out the truth of a case, by identifying an expert on the seaman’s behalf, a Jones Act attorney also keeps a check on a potentially inaccurate ‘expert’ for a vessel owner. But a Jones Act attorney also helps develop an accurate picture from one of the most qualified exerts of all, the injured seaman. This process begins when an injured seaman seeks out the advice of a Jones Act attorney.

Jury’s Ability To Choose Vessel Owner’s “Type” Of Negligence Not “Inconsistent” Jones Act Attorney Showed

Maggie Warren sued her employer, Brine, Inc., for personal injuries under both the Jones Act, and maritime unseaworthiness. Her Jones Act attorney detailed the way the accident happened. While carrying a pot to the stove in the galley of a fish processing vessel (CHESTER REILLY),Warren slipped and fell. Hitting her head on the edge of the stove, she suffered severe injuries. Next to the stove were a deep-fat fryer, an oven, and a hot plate.Warren testified that she slipped on a spot of water, oil, water overlying oil, “or something else.” The location of the appliances was important, as shown by a Jones Act attorney, as possible “sources” of spills or leaks. A co-worker later told the Jones Act attorney that she “saw two spots of oil under the edge of the stove.”

The jury clearly believed the evidence, carefully presented by Warren’s Jones Act attorney, and returned a verdict for Warren on the Jones Act negligence claim. The vessel owner appealed and a judge granted the owner’s motion for a new trial on the ground that the jury’s verdict was “inconsistent.” Eventually, the Jones Act attorney appealed this finding, in a successful attempt to have the jury’s decision for Warren upheld.

Jones Act Attorney Showed Safety Recommendations Came From “Experienced Chef”

Warren, emphasized the Jones Act attorney, was an experienced chef in both commercial kitchens, ashore and afloat. Only a few months before her fall, she had been promoted to head chef. Her job included supervising the galley crew, overseeing prep of meals, ordering food and supplies, and maintaining galley safety and cleanliness. She was responsible for serving over 600 meals a day, for all 175 people on board.

Shortly after Warren came to work, she worried about the cleanliness and safety of the galley’s terrazzo floor. She asked the supply contractor to provide rubber floor safety mats. She repeated her request several times, at least once in writing, but no mats were provided. Substantial evidence was offered at trial by the Jones Act attorney showing that it was ship’s practice “not to turn down requests from the head chef” for safety equipment. At least one ship supervisor, under questioning from the Jones Act attorney, said it was “wrong” for the vessel to have failed to act on Warren’s request. In their appeal, the Jones Act attorney even highlighted the employer’s own statement, saying it (quote) “concedes that it may have been negligent in one or both ways, or some other way in not supplying the mats requested by Ms. Warren.”

Reversing Jury Decision For Seaman Was Wrong, Said Jones Act Attorney

In deciding that the jury verdict was “inconsistent,” the district judge said, “if the deck was not unseaworthy, then the Shipowner had no duty to eliminate an unseaworthy condition or to warn the cook of danger.” As the Jones Act attorney established, however, this reasoning ignored testimony (clearly established from three witnesses called by the Jones Act attorney) that having mats would have made some difference in preventing a fall, regardless of the condition of the floor.

The trial court, without objection, had given instructions about choosing between the two types of negligence (Jones Act or maritime)…and at that time, the Jones Act attorney noted, there was “no objection from the vessel owner’s attorney.” It was also important that the trial court, in denying the vessel owner’s motion for a judgment, had decided that the evidence introduced by the Jones Act attorney for Warren was enough to sustain both the negligence and causation decisions by a jury. As the Jones Act attorney argued, this evidence had established the omitting of an act— the omission to furnish mats—was enough for a finding of negligence and causation separate from finding the vessel unseaworthy. In the same way, the jury could have reasonably found defendant’s not providing floor mats was negligence under the Jones Act. In other words, the Jones Act attorney succeeded in establishing the jury was being more thorough than “inconsistent.”

The appeals court agreed with the Jones Act attorney, and said the jury decision was not inconsistent. And, instead of sending the matter back for a new trial, the appeals court reinstated the jury decision. “Having no difficulty in viewing the case so as to make the jury’s verdict consistent, we reverse the judgment below and reinstatement of the original jury verdict for Warren, with legal costs to the vessel owner.”

In this case, the Jones Act attorney reviewed safety standards from a variety of sources…including food service records, requests from the vessel chef, restaurant safety practices, and the vessel’s requisition procedures. By meeting with a Jones Act attorney shortly after returning to shore, these important details were more easily obtained. “The case was made even stronger by meeting quickly with an experienced Jones Act attorney.”