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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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How does negligence affect a case under the Jones Act?

When you take your employer to court in New York for a Jones Act negligence claim, you must show that he or she did not act in the way a reasonable person would. The Manual of Model Civil Jury Instructions for the District Courts of the Ninth Circuit explains that the negligence could be a failure to make sure the vessel is seaworthy, or it could be failure to hire an adequate number of crew members who are trained for their duties, among other violations.

You have the burden of proof in court to demonstrate to the judge and jury that the shipowner's negligence caused the accident that injured you. However, it may be that you were somewhat negligent yourself when the accident happened. For example, you might have been careless in performing your duties when an issue occurred with equipment. Maybe the accident would not have been as severe if you had been paying attention, or wearing proper personal protective equipment. This does not mean your negligence case will fail.

If the shipowner is able to provide proof that you were partially responsible, and the jury agrees, they would attribute a percentage of the fault to you. However, this would not change the amount they award you. The judge would take your percentage of the negligence out of the final award. 

There is an exception. If your injury occurred because the shipowner violated one of the Coast Guard's regulations, contributory negligence does not apply, and your award would not be affected. Other factors may be relevant in your case, so this information should not be taken as legal advice. However, it may give you an idea of what to expect when you make your Jones Act claim.

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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