In 2011, Meagan Golden was an aspiring sea captain working as a third mate on a tanker, the M/V Overseas Cascade. The 25-year-old's career was cut short, however, by a serious shoulder injury that led to several surgeries.
A New York jury recently awarded Golden a total of $4.4 million for past and future lost salary and benefits, as well as past and future pain and suffering. She was represented by Ralph Mellusi and Jacob Shisha of Tabak Mellusi & Shisha.
Golden's injury happened while she was handling ship stores. However, she said her employer, OSG Ship Management, didn't give her the assistance she needed to perform this work, either in the form of mechanical equipment or enough other crew members to help her. In addition, the supplies she was handling were not packaged ergonomically, which contributed to her injury.
Golden's lawsuit argued that her employer acted negligently and that the M/V Overseas Cascade was not seaworthy. Maritime employers have a duty to provide a seaworthy vessel, including all equipment aboard the vessel. When seamen are injured because of their employer's negligence - including a failure to provide a seaworthy vessel - they have the right to pursue compensation for lost wages, medical expenses and other damages.
The case was argued in front of a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern Distract of New York. The jury agreed that OSG had acted negligently. Since Golden's injury prevents her from pursuing her intended career as a sea captain, the award included significant compensation - more than $3.6 million - for her future lost wages, benefits, and pain and suffering. The award also included about $838,000 for lost wages and pain and suffering that Golden has already experienced.