Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Another Claim of Record Jones Act Award?

A native of Puerto Rico was recently awarded a record $7.5 million settlement in a back and neck injury lawsuit following the sudden explosion of an air tank aboard a marine vessel that was docked for repairs. Plaintiff Edward Perez-Mossetty was seriously injured in the explosion.  The then-37-year-old was affecting repairs aboard the vessel on behalf of defendants American Tugs Inc. The plaintiff was in the engine room that also housed an aging air tank that was exhibiting signs of thinning and pitting.

According to court records in the back injury compensation claim, the tank had been installed without a working pressure relief valve and was normally operated in an automated fashion, with the air compressor automatically shutting down when the desired pressure within the tank was reached.  However, on the day of the accident, employees had been operating the compressor in manual mode as the compressor had been shutting off too soon. The pressure within the tank had built up to a level that the pitted walls of the tank could not withstand. The ensuing explosion  caused Perez-Mossetty to be thrown into the air. He landed on his neck and sustained serious back and neck injuries from which, in spite of surgical intervention and months of rehabilitative treatment, he has failed to fully recover.

Perez-Mossetty suffered a serious neck injury when he landed after being thrown into the air from the explosion. The plaintiff suffered partial paralysis and serious motor and sensory impairments. He requires assistance to walk and to maintain daily activities. Perez-Mossetty also remains in constant pain and will require assistive devices and ongoing medical care and treatment going forward for as long as he remains alive. He can no longer work.

Despite the claim of a record award, this blog reported back in October 2013 of an award of $9.6 mil so whilst this may not be “THE” record, it certainly worth notice and serves to reinforce that $1mil of P&I/crew coverage is just not enough today (see )

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New Seaman Status Test in 5th Circuit

On March 10, 2014, the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that a land-based vessel repair supervisor was entitled to status as a Jones Act seaman. Elevating Boats, LLC operates 26-30 lift boats out of Houma, Louisiana. Larry Naquin, Sr., a vessel repair supervisor was seriously injured while testing one of the shipyard cranes at the shipyard. In the decision Naquin was able to recover under the Jones Act even though:
  • Naquin rarely spent the night aboard a vessel;
  • He was a shore-based repair supervisor who worked at a shipyard
  • The vessels where Naquin worked were ordinarily docked; and
  • Naquin never ventured out into the immediate canal area or onto open sea. Seaman status used the two-prong test from Chandris v. Latsis.
A worker must prove that :
  1. his job contributes to the function of the vessel or accomplishment of its mission
  2. that his connection to a vessel in navigation is substantial in duration and nature.
In this case the court quickly determined that Naquin spent 70% of his time repairing and operating cranes and other equipment aboard the lift boats (even though it was at the dock), Naquin could satisfy the requirement.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Is it time to repeal the Jones Act?

If you have read the press over the last few months you might think it is time to repeal the Jones Act – just a few of the headlines have been:

·         Want energy independence?
o   Waive the Jones Act  --The unsustainability of the Jones Act is becoming more and more apparent as it runs headlong into the energy debate.
·         Missing the mark on the Jones Act
o   The Detroit News …The professor says the widely supported Merchant Marine Act of 1920 — better known as the Jones Act — hurts our nation's security and our booming ...

·         Congressional questions on LNG exports could impact the Jones Act
o   Last month, Congress began consideration of comprehensive legislation to reauthorize the Coast Guard and other maritime transportation programs.

·         Our road salt is finally here, but the Jones Act cost NJ taxpayers an extra $700,000 to get it
o   New Jersey spent $700,000 more to have road salt shipped from Maine to Port Newark by barge than it would have cost had the federal government ...

·         Jones Act waiver denied! So let's close the interstates until NJ gets rock salt
o   Shove the Jones Act right back into his unionista-loving face. The whole thing is absurd. There's a ship ready to get the salt here within 2 days. But it's ...

·         Antiquated law adds billions to fuel costs - New York Post
o   An obscure 1920 law is costing Americans billions of dollars a year in higher fuel costs. The Jones Act requires that cargo shipped from one US port to ...

But this deals exclusively with the Cabotage part of the Jones Act, and make no reference to the crew injury section which we tend to focus on in Marine Insurance.

I am not going to debate here the merit or otherwise of repealing the Cabotage portion… but the likelihood is that if the act is replaced the crew injury part, it’s 90 or so year of use, interpretation and case law could be swept away with the stoke of a pen.

So,  Maritime Attorneys and Claims Specialist, what would you think crew claims would be like IF the Jones Act would be repealed?    Would the result be overall better or worse for us in marine insurance?   Would it create even more uncertainty in crew claims?

However much you might support the idea of repealing the Cabotage section of the law, consider the consequences on crew injuries for the future!

Please post a reply to this to express your thoughts. By entering it into the box below and hitting “publish”.


Ian Greenway

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


IIMIS is pleased to announce the two Fall 2014 CMIP Seminars as follows:

The first seminar “Recreational Marine Insurance” is being held in Seattle, WA Oct 9th-10th, 2014.  Topics for this dynamic seminar include Yachts & Boats, Charter, Sightseeing, Casino Boats, Marinas, Boat Dealers, Yacht Clubs including Marina Operators Legal Liability, Dealers Inventory, Hull, P&I and Docks & Piers.  Additional topics include Boat Manufacturers and Builders, and Builders Risk including Inventory, Molds and other issues related to Boat Manufacturers and Builders.  This seminar will be held at the Grand Hyatt Seattle.

The second seminar “Elements of Commercial Marine and Longshore Insurance”, being held in Philadelphia, PA Nov 6th-7th, 2014 is designed for those students with less than 2 years of Commercial Marine OR Longshore experience.  This seminar covers the basic elements of Longshore and Marine Workers Compensation, Maritime Employers Liability, Commercial Marine Liabilities including Third Party Liabilities, Care/Custody/Control Liabilities and Common Endorsements.  Additional topics include Hull, Protection & Indemnity, and Umbrellas/Bumbershoots.

For more information, or to register online, please visit  For assistance with registration, please contact Karen Tischler at or 415.690.6214.