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Admiralty – Jones Act – Slip and fall on oil – Right knee injury alleged.

U.S.D.C. - District of Massachusetts

In this Jones Act matter, the plaintiff lobsterman alleged that he injured his knee when he slipped and fell on oil on the defendant’s ship. As a result of his injuries, the plaintiff alleged that he was unable to return to work and sustained financial damages in addition to his physical injuries. The defendant, the boat owner and captain, denied the allegations and disputed the plaintiff’s allegations of damages.

The male plaintiff had been part of the lobster crew on the defendant’s boat since the 1990s. On July 28, ________, the plaintiff alleged that there was oil on the deck and the rubber mat in the breaking area was too small. The plaintiff contended that when he was moving a lobster trap his foot slipped off the too-small rubber mat, came in contact with oil on the deck and caused him to smash his knee into the corner of a cabinet. The plaintiff maintained that as a result of his injuries he was unable to continue working as a part of the lobster crew and took a lighter duty job where he earned less money.

The plaintiff brought suit under the Jones Act against the boat’s owner and the boat’s captain alleging that the vehicle was unseaworthy due to the conditions that precipitated his fall. The defendants denied the allegations and disputed causation and damages. The defendants contended that no one witnessed the alleged incident and, in fact, that the plaintiff continued to pull 17 more trawls that day, never seeking medical attention or complaining. In addition, the defendants maintained that the plaintiff continued as part of the crew for the remainder of the fishing season until the late fall without complaint.The matter was tried and the jury deliberated. At the conclusion of deliberations, the jury returned its verdict in favor of the defendants and against the plaintiff.

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