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Boating negligence - Jones Act - Unsafe vessel - Snared line resulted in vision loss to the plaintiff - Ruptured eyeball.

United States District Court, District of Massachusetts

In this negligence matter, the plaintiff alleged that the vessel was unseaworthy under the Jones Act when the boat’s lobster gear became entangled with another boat’s gear. Cutting of the line caused the line to snap back and rupture the plaintiff’s eyeball. The defendant denied that the vessel was unseaworthy and maintained that the plaintiff had performed a similar task of cutting a line several times in the past with no incident.

The male plaintiff was a seaman aboard the defendant’s lobster boat. While out on the sea, the defendant’s lobster gear became entangled with that of another vessel. The captain ordered the plaintiff to cut the snared line. When the plaintiff cut the line, the tension that had built up caused the line to snap back and strike the plaintiff in the eye. The line ruptured the plaintiff’s eyeball, resulting in permanent vision loss.

The plaintiff incurred medical specials of $________. The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant in federal court, alleging violation of the Jones Act. The plaintiff maintained that the defendant’s vessel was unseaworthy due to the ensnared line and the captain should not have ordered the plaintiff to cut the line.

The defendant denied the allegations and maintained that lines became entangled on the boat prior times and the plaintiff had cut lines in the past without incident. The defendant disputed the allegation that the boat was unseaworthy.

At the conclusion of the trial, the jury deliberated for approximately four hours and returned its verdict in favor of the defendant and against the plaintiff.

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