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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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Factors that affect seaworthiness and your safety

As a seaman in New York, you may be well familiar with what makes a vessel seaworthy. While unseaworthiness has a definite meaning that could put your life in danger out on the ocean, it is also a legal term. If you suffer an injury, the definition of this word could affect your compensation. At Tabak, Mellusi & Shisha, we often help seamen to evaluate whether unseaworthiness is a factor in their circumstances.

The U.S. Courts for the Ninth Circuit defines unseaworthiness clearly. First, the duty to ensure that the vessel is seaworthy rests only with the owner, and he or she cannot claim that this responsibility was designated to someone else. Not only must the vessel, including all its components and equipment, be adequate to fulfill the purpose it was intended for, it must also have enough crew members to complete all of the duties necessary to safely run the ship. There should also be safety equipment provided in case an accident occurs.

An accident does not necessarily indicate unseaworthiness, but if it happens because some aspect of the ship or its equipment breaks down, it might. An accident that is caused by a crew member could also be a sign that the owner is responsible if the person's action or behavior occurred because he or she is incompetent, untrained or violent.

Your work environment is critical to your safety at sea. More information about how a vessel owner's duties affect its seaworthiness and your rights as a seaman 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
Rated By Sfpracuperlawyer Ralph J Mellusi Rated By Superlawyer Ralph J Mellusi