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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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Study: Boats hit whales more often than previously thought

What are the chances of your boat hitting a whale? New research suggests the odds might be higher than you think.

Vessels have hit about 15 percent of the humpback whales feeding in the Gulf of Maine, according to a new study. And researchers believe this estimate is probably lower than the actual number of humpbacks who have been hit by boats, since the study only looked at injuries to living whales, not whales that have been killed by vessels.

A team of researchers analyzed injuries based on more than 200,000 photographs of 624 different whales taken between 2004 and 2013, according to USA Today. The reviewers found than almost 15 percent of the whales had at least one injury or wound caused by a vessel strike.

How could they tell? The photographs showed scars and gashes that researchers can link to boat hulls and propellers, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Although humpback numbers have been increasing in recent years, the new data suggests the population may need more protection than scientist had thought.

Of course, these collisions aren’t only dangerous for whales. Boaters in smaller vessels are particularly vulnerable – a collision with a 40-foot whale could cause a small boat to capsize.

It’s unclear yet whether this study will lead to any new regulations for boaters, but it’s a good reminder that anyone sharing waters with whales should keep a close watch for whales. You can’t control a whale’s course, but you can certainly give them a wide berth if they surface nearby.

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