A Federal court recently found determined that a jury is to resolve an injured fisherman Jones Act negligence and unseaworthiness claims .
Facts of the Case
This case involves a personal injury sustained by a professional fisherman aboard a vessel engaged in scalloping. When fishing for scallops, the vessel the fishermen worked aboard drags along the sea floor two dredges, one on the starboard side and one on the port side. Every hour, the dredges are winched up and their contents (which includes scallops, bycatch, rocks, and other debris) are dumped on the aft deck in what is known as “the pile.” The dredges are then lowered back to the seafloor, and the crew uses the next hour to pick the scallops out of the pile, deposit them in the shucking house, and return the rocks and bycatch to the sea. Although the vessel has a non-skid surface on some of the deck, there is an area of the stern deck where the dredges and chain bags are regularly landed that does not. According to the defendants, that is due to the heavy abuse that part of the deck takes, which would cause the coating to wear off in a matter of days.