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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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Vessel owners’ duties to longshoremen

Any employee in New York has a right to expect a company to ensure safe working conditions. Likewise, you should be able to trust that the owners of the vessels you load and unload will do what they can to maintain your safety. We at the law firm of Tabak, Mellusi & Shisha understand all the nuances of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, and how those may apply to situations where you work.

The National Law Review explains that a vessel owner owes three duties to you when you are performing jobs under hazardous conditions. These include the following:

  •          To provide you with conditions that are reasonably safe when the vessel is turned over to you, along with warnings of any hazards that are not obvious
  •          To take steps to prevent you from sustaining injuries when you are working in areas that are under the control of the vessel
  •          In a limited capacity, to intervene when you are performing tasks in a way that is not safe

There may be occasions when the operations of the vessel create conditions that could be a danger to you. In a recent lawsuit, a stevedore claimed that the owner was responsible for his fall from a flat rack because a safety expansion had not been replaced, and he had used an unsafe technique to attempt to reach the top. He sued the owner for failure to intervene and breach of active control duty.

In that case, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the control of that working area had been turned over to the stevedore, so it was his own responsibility to ensure safety. More information about the LHWCA is available on our webpage. 

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Rated By Superlawyer Ralph J Mellusi Rated By Superlawyer Ralph J Mellusi
Rated By Superlawyer Ralph J Mellusi Rated By Superlawyer Ralph J Mellusi
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