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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.
  • $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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A look at why commercial fishing is so dangerous

From the Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch" to National Geographic's "Wicked Tuna," it seems like just about every television network has its own show about commercial fishing. And why not? Just in the United States alone, the commercial fishing industry brings in roughly $4 billion a year, according to NOAA's most recent data. It's a huge market that many people know very little about, making these kinds of shows interesting and educational to say the least.

But one thing that sets these shows apart from others on the same channel is the fact that commercial fishing shows not only show how the job is done, they also show how incredibly dangerous it can be as well. In today's post, we'd like to highlight a few of these dangers, particularly for those who know little about commercial fishing jobs.

On deck dangers. From fishing nets to crane hoists, slippery walking surfaces to large machinery, there are a number of things on the decks of most fishing vessels that can lead to injury or even death. This becomes particularly true when the seas are rough or when deckhands are not at their fullest attention.

Falls overboard. Falling overboard can happen in any type of weather and in any type of water but it is most dangerous during rough seas and cold weather. If the deckhand who falls overboard is not wearing appropriate life-saving gear, the likelihood of death or serious injury increases.

Improper boat maintenance. Because of the conditions out on the open sea, proper boat maintenance is key to a safe trip home. Anything from a leaking hull to an ill-fitting watertight door can spell disaster for a ship and her crew.

Inclement weather. Like with many outdoor occupations, commercial fishing becomes more dangerous the worse the weather becomes. Particularly harsh seas can easily toss a boat around, causing equipment to injure deckhands or the boat to capsize. Many maritime disasters have occurred because of inclement weather, oftentimes ending in the loss of lives.

Sources: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Commercial Fishing Safety," Accessed Oct. 6, 2015

NOAA's State of the Coast, "Commercial Fishing – A Cultural Tradition," Accessed Oct. 6, 2015

How Stuff Works, "Why was Alaskan fishing named the most dangerous job in the world?" Cristen Conger, Accessed Oct. 6, 2015

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