• Dean v. Fishing Co. of Alaska
    177 Wn.2d 399, 2013 A.M.C. 2228 (Wash. 2013)
    Summary judgment standard not appropriate for motions to reinstate maintenance and cure. When a shipowner obtains a medical opinion that the injured seaman is no longer entitled to maintenance and cure, conflicting with the opinion of the seaman’s treating physician, the treating physician’s opinion trumps.

  • Gruver v. Lesman
    489 F.3d 978, 2007 A.M.C. 1559 (9th Cir. 2007)
    Maritime jurisdiction for the master’s assault on a deckhand established on appeal.

  • Van Valkenberg v. Puget Sound Inflatables
    2002 A.M.C. 2673 (W.D. Wash. 2002)
    Enhanced Injury (“crashworthiness”) Doctrine adopted into the general maritime law.

  • Lundborg v. Keystone Shipping Co.

    138 Wn.2d 658, 1999 A.M.C. 2635 (Wash. 1999)
    Washington State Supreme Court ruled against the federal Ninth Circuit on an issue of federal maritime law. Maintenance, a daily living stipend for injured seamen, was set at eight dollars per day in the collective bargaining agreements covering most union merchant seamen. That rate was first set about the time of the Korean War. It had not been raised since for most deep sea unions. In Gardiner v. Sea-Land, 786 F.2d 943 (1986), the Ninth Circuit upheld the eight dollar per day rate of maintenance over the dissent of Judge Betty Fletcher. In Lundborg, the state Supreme Court ruled that the plaintiff was not necessarily bound by the eight dollar per day contractual rate.

  • Rowell v. Tyson

    1999 A.M.C. 2277 (W.D. Wash. 1999)
    Federal trial court in Seattle ruled that a fisherman was not necessarily bound by $20 per day rate of maintenance in an individual contract of employment.

  • Raby v. M/V Pine Forest

    1990 A.M.C. 2441 (W.D. Wash. 1990), modified sub nom., Su v. Southern Aster, 1993 A.M.C. 207, 978 F.2d 462 (9th Cir. 1992), cert. denied, 111 S.Ct. 2015
    I acted as local counsel for a Baton Rouge, Louisiana lawyer at trial but not on appeal. The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) discovered that the Japanese beneficial owner of a vessel was using a double bookkeeping scheme to cheat Filipino sailors on their wages. The vessel Pine Forest was arrested in Tacoma. The 32 million dollar verdict was hailed by the media as the largest award in history to seamen for wages and penalties. All but a fraction of that award was reversed by the Ninth Circuit.

  • Galon v. M/V Hira II

    1990 A.M.C. 342 (W.D. Wash. 1989)
    Double bookkeeping scheme similar to that described in case above. The ITF requested that I have the vessel arrested in Seattle, which I did. The court ruled that foreign seamen may sue a foreign shipowner while in a U.S. port for wages and penalties pursuant to 46 U.S.C. § 10313. Case implicitly overruled by Raby v. Pine Forest, supra.

  • Jones v. Reagan

    1985 A.M.C. 944, 748 F.2d 1331 (9th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 472 U.S. 1029
    Class action on behalf of approximately five thousand permanently disabled seamen challenging the cut-off of free medical care resulting from the 1981-82 closure of the U.S. Public Health Service Hospitals. Summary judgment of dismissal affirmed by the Ninth Circuit, but language in the appellate decision could support a claim by disabled seamen to lifetime medical care from the shipowner in whose service the disability rose.

Merriam Law Seattle Skyline with Sailboat