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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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Common marine terminal fatality causes

One of the purposes of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is to ensure that employers carry insurance that provides benefits to those in New York who load and unload ships and are injured on the job. The U.S. Department of Labor notes that not only does the Act require coverage for medical expenses and compensation for those who are injured while performing these duties, it also includes provisions for a longshoreman’s family after a fatal injury.

Because of the extreme dangers unique to the jobs, these fatalities are all too common. They are also often preventable. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has gathered data on the causes of worker deaths in the longshoring and marine terminals industry in order to promote the development of safety guidelines.

  • Vehicle accidents are among the most frequent sources of fatal injuries. For example, a worker may be struck by a front-end loader that does not have the required functional safety alerts. While working on roll-on/roll-off ships or unloading and transfer operations, a longshoreman may be struck by a vehicle in areas with poor visibility. Forklifts also contribute to many “struck by” accidents.
  • Falls cause longshore worker deaths from both injuries and drowning. Improper procedures, a lack of guard rails and safety harnesses, and other unsafe working conditions have led to many fatal injuries. While falling into the water may seem like less of a risk, failure to wear life vests, defective life vests and inadequate life rings significantly increase the chances of a drowning death.
  • Working with the cargo itself also leads to “struck by” and “crushed by” injuries due to improperly secured or stacked crates and materials. Cranes, trucks and forklifts that are not loaded correctly can tip or release their loads, as well.

Although the OSHA report raises awareness of the hazards longshoremen face, it does not mandate any specific practices or actions that may help prevent more fatalities.

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