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Millions Recovered

  • $5,400,000.00 settlement involving a seaman who fell from a stairway during fire and boat drill aboard a container ship sustaining quadriplegic injuries. Partners Mellusi and Shisha personally inspected the vessel taking hundreds of measurements and still and videos of every stairway in the ship’s main deck house. The data was compared with the vessel’s design plans in our library which demonstrated the vessel had been negligently constructed in that it failed to follow the naval architect’s original design specifications.
  • $4,400,000.00 jury award to a former shipmate who sustained a shoulder injury while at sea. The third mate had to undergo multiple surgeries and will not be able to become a captain because of the injury.
  • $2,400,000 jury award to a licensed marine engineer who sustained permanent knee injuries while attempting to remove a 200 lb. valve from an overhead piping system. Partner Mellusi personally inspected the ship’s engine room taking detailed photos and measurements. A duplicate valve was obtained from a maritime junkyard and was brought into court along with an auto-shop mechanical hoist capable of lifting it 12 feet to demonstrate the vessel lacked suitable means to perform this work safely. The jury award was in top ten verdicts in the United States for a comparable knee injury. The case was tried to verdict in a New York Federal Court.
  • $2,980,000.00 jury award to a ship’s cook for back injury resulting from insufficient procedures for moving ship stores. Case tried in New York federal court.
  • $2,700,000.00 settlement to a mate on a Tanker vessel who sustained multiple fractures.
  • $2,000,000.00 was awarded to a barge deckhand – wrongful death.
  • $1,827,000 awarded to a marine engineer working on a US Government supply vessel who fell into an unguarded ventilation fan causing neck, shoulder and hand injuries. The case was tried non-jury before a federal judge in Baltimore Federal Court. The court award was subsequently determined to be within the highest ten verdicts for the State of Maryland in 2009.
  • $1,200,000.00 jury award to a ship’s Bosun who sustained shoulder and neck injuries while attempting to move plywood sheets on main deck of vessel during 40 knot winds. Case tried in New York Federal Court.
  • $950,000 awarded to passenger killed when his recreational boat came into collision with tow wire of tug and barge
  • $850,000 settlement, Federal Court Allentown PA., to seaman sustained herniated disk while lifting a 110 lbs crane hooks.
  • $840,000 jury award to a seaman who fell from ladder while painting sustaining fractured wrist.
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Carnival Corp. will pay for its failure to comply with ADA regulations

On July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law by then President George H.W. Bush. With the enaction of the ADA, the rights of individuals with physical and mental disabilities were both recognized and protected. Provisions of the ADA help ensure that government offices and private businesses take steps to ensure their premises are safe and accessible for individuals why a variety of physical disabilities.

Twenty-five years after the ADA was passed into law, the U.S. Department of Justice recently settled a lawsuit filed against one of the largest cruise industry providers, Carnival Corp. The settlement stems from numerous complaints that were filed by disabled cruise ship passengers which detailed numerous accessibility and safety violations encountered while aboard the cruise line's 62 ships.

Included among the complaints were allegations against the cruise line for failing to "provide accessible cabins for individuals with mobility disabilities." Additionally, disabled passengers asserted that Carnival Corp. failed to provide them with "the same opportunities to participate in programs and services, including embarkation and disembarkation," and with for their safety and participation in safety and emergency drills.

Narrow stairwells, slippery pool decks and sudden changes in floor elevations make cruise ships dangerous environments for individuals with no physical limitations or disabilities. In cases where an individual is in a wheelchair or walks with a cane, these and other hazards can make navigating a cruise ship dangerous to impossible.

As part of the settlement with the Justice Department, Carnival Corp. must take steps to ensure their ships meet ADA accessibility standards. Additionally, the cruise giant must pay a $55,000 penalty to the U.S. government and $350,000 to disabled passengers who "were harmed by past discrimination," due to the company's failure to ensure ships were ADA compliant.

Source: The Post and Courier, "Carnival reaches settlement in federal ADA probe of cruise ships," David Wren, July 27, 2015

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