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Articles Tagged with “Jones Act Lawyer”

Photo Credit: J. Scott Applewhite Associated jpgLast month, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) sought an amendment to repeal the Jones Act. In a January 13, 2015 Press Release published on his website, Sen. McCain states, “I have long advocated for a full repeal of The Jones Act, an antiquated law that has for too long hindered free trade, made the U.S. industry less competitive and raised prices for American consumers.” McCain concludes his statement by calling for his colleagues to “join in this important effort to repeal this archaic legislation to spur job creation and promote free trade.” While the Arizona senator is quick to mention the alleged positives that come with repealing the Jones Act, with catch phrases like “job creation” and “free trade,” his Press Release fails to address how repealing the Act will eliminate a means of compensation to a large class of employees known as “seamen.” Masters, captains, officers, crewmembers, deckhands–to name a few–will all lose a right to sue their employers under a law that’s been around for almost a century.

The Jones Act provides a way for employee seamen to hold their employers civilly liable for their injuries, and in more unfortunate cases, death, when such was a result of the employer’s negligence. The Act is especially important for seamen given the unique and continuous risks of serious personal injury and death they face on a daily basis. As many courts have noted, by passing the Jones Act, Congress gave seaman a means of obtaining compensation for their injuries, which were “sustained in an inherently dangerous profession.” See Am. River Transp. Co. v. Phelps, 189 F. Supp. 2d 835, 849 (S.D. Ill. 2001) (citing Kelley v. Sun Transp. Co., 900 F.2d 1027, 1031 (7th Cir. 1990)).
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crew member injury lawyer.jpgFor years courts have denied the ability of injured crew members’ spouses to bring lawsuits for loss of consortium against ship owners. Given the recent Supreme Court decision of Townsend v. Atlantic Sounding, courts are allowing spouses of hurt seafarers to bring lawsuits to recover damages caused by shipboard accidents. The implication of these cases may be more far reaching than only crew member lawsuits. As shown below, the logic of this line of cases may be applied to allow loss of consortium claims by spouses of cruise ship passengers against negligent cruise lines.

Loss of Consortium Defined

Loss of consortium is a legal claim for non-compensatory / non-economic damages arising from an injury of a spouse due to the negligence of another. This claim arises when the injured spouse cannot provide the uninjured spouse with the same companionship, services, love, affection and/or sexual relations enjoyed before the accident. A loss of consortium claim can be very significant if the hurt spouse sustains a long-lasting injury such as paralysis, incontinence, and/or loss of sexual function.

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